|11.23.13 at 9:09 pm ET|
The offseason seems to be fitting Mike Napoli just fine.
Saturday afternoon, the free agent first baseman was content in spending his downtime signing autographs for a flood of fans at Johnny Cupcakes T-shirt store on Newbury Street. And while he will return home to Texas for a brief Thanksgiving week stay, Napoli will continue to call Boston home all the way up through the end of the year.
There is no inkling that the uncertainty of free agency is weighing on the 32-year-old.
“I know what to expect this year. I’m just going to let the process happen,” he told WEEI.com just prior to an hour-long signing session that celebrated the release of a new T-shirt. “I told [agent] Brian [Grieper] I don’t want to do the whole flying around here and there, meeting people. I’m just being patient, seeing my options. I do want to play here. You just have to go through that whole process and see what’s going to go on.”
When asked why there would be no recruiting trips (like the one hosted by Red Sox principal owner John Henry last offseason), he said, “I’ve been to every city. I don’t have to see the cities. I feel like you can tell my agent on the phone what you’re going to tell me in person, what your plans are. I don’t need to go out to dinner or be spoiled in some way. I’m just not that type of person who wants to do that process. I didn’t want to do it last year, but I kind of had to. I like to be home and enjoy my time with my friends and family.”
So, while Napoli clearly wants to return to the Red Sox, does he feel there is a good chance the two sides will come to an agreement?
“I wouldn’t see why not,” he said. “I’ve got a great relationship with [Red Sox general manager] Ben [Cherington] and this whole organization. Hopefully it will come down to something where I come back here.
“But it’s part of the process. Some teams have needs. Of course I’m going to have my ears open. That’s part of free agency.”
While this is the second straight year Napoli has had to go through the free agent process, he reiterates this time around figures to be different.
Napoli is not only coming off a world championship season, in which he totaled an .842 OPS with 23 home runs, but can call himself a plus-defender at a position (first) that doesn’t have much competition in the free agent market.
And then there is his health.
Napoli recently received the results of his season-ending MRI, getting more evidence than the Avascular necrosis in his hips aren’t currently an issue.
“Everything was the same,” he said of the latest examination. “It might have even have been a slight, slight improvement. The hips aren’t really an issue. I showed I could play the whole year and have it stay the same, so that’s encouraging.”
The current plan for Napoli is to stick to his normal offseason routine, starting workouts in December.
While he isn’t shy about expressing his desire to return to the Sox, Napoli is keeping all options open, evidently including the Rangers despite their recent acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder.
“Things happen. I definitely enjoyed my time playing there,” he said of Texas. “I’m familiar with that place. You never know what’s going to happen. They still have some needs, so we’ll see what happens.
“I’m going to be playing somewhere next year. There’s not a timeline for me. What’s going to happen, is going to happen.”
|11.23.13 at 6:21 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Yankees have agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal with free agent catcher Brian McCann. According to FoxSports.com, the contract also has a sixth-year vesting option that can take the deal up over $100 million.
The Red Sox had interest in McCann, but, according to sources, were hesitant to commit to the years ultimately given to the catcher. Still on the free agent market are Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Dioner Navarro and A.J. Pierzynski, with Reds backstop Ryan Hanigan potentially available in a trade.
McCann was perceived as the top free agent catcher on this year’s market, having totaled an .823 career OPS. In 2013, the catcher was limited to 102 games, hitting .256 with a .796 OPS and 20 home runs. He has managed 20 or more homers in each of the last six seasons.
Check back for more information.
|11.22.13 at 1:28 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced Friday that they traded minor league left-handed pitcher Luis Ortega to the Brewers for right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop.
Badenhop, 30, appeared in 63 games in 2013, going 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA. He ranked seventh among National League relievers in fewest walks per nine innings (1.7), allowing 12 walks all season.
Badenhop has played parts of six seasons in the majors, posting an 18-20 record with a 3.98 ERA in 280 games with the Marlins (2008-11), Rays (2012) and Brewers.
Ortega, 20, played for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in rookie ball last season, going 3-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 12 games, including one start. In his two years of pro ball since being signed as an international free agent, Ortega is 9-6 with a 2.25 ERA.
|11.21.13 at 1:36 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced their 2014 spring training schedule, with Truck Day taking place at Fenway Park on Feb. 8, pitchers and catchers reporting on Feb. 15, position players slated for a Feb. 18 arrival and the team opening its slate with exhibitions against Northeastern and Boston College on Feb. 27 and its Grapefruit League slate with a contest against the Twins on Feb. 28 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.
Here is the team’s press release and schedule:
The Boston Red Sox today released their 2014 Spring Training schedule, which includes 17 games at the team’s Spring Training facility, JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Tickets for all 2014 Spring Training games at JetBlue Park are scheduled to go on sale on Saturday, December 7 at 10 a.m. at JetBlue Park, by phone, and on redsox.com.
Eight of the 15 seating categories at JetBlue Park will increase by $2. Ticket prices will range from $5 to $48. There will be no price change for the seven seating categories priced $15 or less. This coming year marks the Red Sox’ third at JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.21.13 at 9:25 am ET|
Brian McCann has never played a position other than catcher. But that doesn’t mean he’s averse to broadening his skill set.
Agent B.B. Abbott, who represents the free agent, said that his client is open to learning how to play first base and playing some designated hitter in order to spend as much time as possible on the field. McCann is still, first and foremost, a catcher, but in an effort to spend as much time in the lineup as possible, he’s open to both serving as a designated hitter and learning to play first base — a position that he’s never played in his professional career.
“I guess there’s always a first time. [Mike] Napoli and [Buster] Posey were certainly two guys that made the transition pretty well,” Abbott said by phone on Wednesday. “I think it’s attractive that that’s an option out there for him. I think in the very near future, over the next several years, for sure, that he envisions himself being primarily a catcher and then having the ability to stay in the lineup for an additional 50-75 more plate appearances potentially in another role, whether with a National League team at first base or with an American League team at first base and/or DH. He’s in search of additional at-bats to try to maximize what value he has to a team, but I think primarily, at least in his mind, he’s a catcher. I think he certainly would not and will not foreclose any plans or any thoughts that teams might have that might be a little bit outside the box from a standpoint of what his thinking is.
“He gets it,” Abbott added. “He understands that his bat is what is the driving force behind this, but he takes pretty great pride in what he does behind the plate and he wants this to be a focus in this as well.” Read the rest of this entry »
|11.21.13 at 8:08 am ET|
Here’s the deal …
In the short term, Wednesday night’s trade between the the Rangers and Tigers might be a good thing for the Red Sox. Longer term, it might have presented some challenges.
The first thing to know about the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler deal is that Mike Napoli‘s path to returning to the Red Sox seemingly just became clearer.
The Rangers were considered the Sox’ chief competitors for the first baseman’s services, having been finalists for Napoli last offseason — both before the three-year agreement, and then the subsequent one-year arrangement. This time around there also was a fit, with the Rangers needing a big bat and a first baseman. Now, with Prince Fielder, they got both.
The Rangers are still going to be looking for another big bat, and they seemingly have a spot open at designated hitter (where their .700 OPS at the position was in the second tier of the American League in 2013). Mitch Moreland — their first baseman from a year ago who hit 23 home runs, but with just a .232 batting average — is still around, but Texas might want to be looking for an upgrade. So Napoli could feasibly be a candidate to join his old team as a DH, especially if it wants to give Fielder some time off his feet.
But it still appears as though Brian McCann is the Rangers’ preference for their next big acquisition. If they do lock up McCann, he is a guy who could morph into that rotating first baseman/DH slot down in the final years of what would figure to be a four-to-five-year deal.
The Mariners have to still be considered a suitor for Napoli, having expressed interest in the slugger last offseason and seemingly on the hunt for some big bats. Right now Seattle has the underachieving Justin Smoak at first, and a question mark at DH. (Go to the depth chart on MLB.com and it literally posts a “?” at the designated hitter position.)
Still, with the Rangers’ first base spot having been readjusted, the chances of Napoli returning to the Red Sox undeniably improved Wednesday night.
So why was the Texas-Detroit deal potentially challenging for the Red Sox down the road? In a nutshell, because the chances of Max Scherzer coming off the market just got a bunch better.
|11.21.13 at 7:10 am ET|
Corner infielder Brandon Snyder, who played 27 games for the Red Sox — primarily at first and third, while also playing one game in left field — said on twitter that he has re-signed with the team that acquired him just before the start of the regular season in 2013.
So excited to have another year with the Boston redsox organization! Can’t wait to get down to ft Meyers and get after it!
— Brandon Snyder (@BrandonSnyder29) November 20, 2013
The 27-year-old hit .180 with a .212 OBP and .360 slugging mark and two homers, spending time in a semi-regular role in late-July and early-August, first while Stephen Drew was on the disabled list (permitting Jose Iglesias to move from third to short) and then after Iglesias was traded and prior to the recall of Will Middlebrooks from Triple-A. Snyder also played in 68 games with Pawtucket, hitting .261/.332/.454 with 10 homers.
The 2005 first-rounder was released at his request by the Rangers at the end of spring training and signed with the Sox to be a first baseman. However, he volunteered to add third base to his resume, and also took groundballs at second base. He also has catching experience (79 games in the minors, one in the big leagues) with a smattering of games at both corner outfield spots.
The deal is presumably a minor league one, since the Red Sox outrighted Snyder off their 40-man roster in early November (with Snyder electing free agency), only to re-sign him just over two weeks later.
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Big weeks for Acosta and Welch
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Attention shifts to Caribbean, Jerez shining in Venezuela
- Luis Ortega traded to Brewers for reliever Burke Badenhop
- Red Sox re-sign infielder Brandon Snyder
- Cecchini, Ranaudo, Brentz added to 40-man roster