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John Farrell envisions Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava as Red Sox leadoff men 12.09.13 at 4:52 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

ORLANDO — Speaking during his allotted 30-minute media availability at the winter meetings, Red Sox manager John Farrell suggested his team’s leadoff hitters for the coming season will be a combination of Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino.

Victorino, who finished 2013 with a .351 on-base percentage, hit leadoff eight times, while Nava (.385 OBP) manned the lineup’s top spot in nine games (8 starts).

“I think the most important thing is we’re not going to replace some 50‑something stolen bases by Jacoby [Ellsbury],” Farrell said. “The biggest thing would be who is our best on-base percentage guys to keep them or keep that individual in front of [Dustin Pedroia], and David [Ortiz], and [Mike Napoli], those are the two guys that quickly come to mind right now.
”

Farrell went on to explain who he liked the dynamic of Pedroia hitting in the two-hole, with Ortiz sliding up to third, an order the Red Sox implemented at the end of their postseason run.

The Sox manager believed that Victorino would return to switch-hitting in 2014, after having hit almost exclusively right-handed after suffering a hamstring injury.

“Everything says he will,” said Farrell when asked if Victorino would hit lefty in ’14. “That was a conversation as the year unfolded and finished out. But Shane has a way of coming up with some things that kind of keep you smiling.”

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Source: Interest in Mike Carp might be heating up 12.09.13 at 11:12 am ET
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Mike Carp (AP)

Mike Carp (AP)

ORLANDO — According to an industry source, there appears to be growing interest in Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp.

With Mike Napoli coming back on a two-year, $36 million deal, Carp still remains a backup at first base and in the outfield (behind Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes).The 27-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time, this offseason.

Teams that could have interest in Carp include Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, with two of the Red Sox’ American League East rivals, Tampa Bay and Baltimore, also seemingly in the market for a player with Carp’s skill-set.

Carp finished 2013 with the second-best slugging percentage on the Red Sox (.523), hitting .296 with an on-base percentage of .362 to go along with 18 doubles and nine homers in 86 games.

Check back for more coverage from the winter meetings, with the Salk and Holley Show broadcasting live from the Swan and Dolphin Hotel from 2-6 p.m. Monday.

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Sources: Red Sox intent on waiting out Stephen Drew market 12.09.13 at 9:39 am ET
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Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew

ORLANDO — According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox are planning to wait out to see what type of market develops for Stephen Drew before looping back in with their definitive offer for the shortstop.

There is some thought throughout baseball that Drew’s market might be limited due to the fact that any team — other than the Red Sox — signing the 31-year-old would be required to surrender a draft pick.

Speaking on Salk and Holley last week (listen to audio here), Red Sox manager John Farrell said, “[GM Ben Cherington] is doing the best he can with the two remaining guys, with [Mike Napoli] and [Drew], we’re going to do anything we can to bring both guys back.” (Napoli has since agreed to a two-year, $36 million deal with the Red Sox.)

Cherington acknowledged on conference call Saturday that the team still has interest in Drew, but is also ready to explore other avenues if need-be.

“We’ve had off and on dialogue, nothing too recent, but certainly leaving he door open still,” Cherington said of Drew. “We’ll leave the door open still. We feel pretty good about our alternative at shortstop but we’ll see what happens the rest of the way. We’re still exploring different things, different ways to potentially improve the team. I think we’ve probably shifted more toward – assuming we get a deal done with the first baseman [Napoli] – we’ve probably shifted more toward opportunistic this offseason maybe. And sort of looking at different scenarios, different ideas, and maybe nothing comes of those because we feel pretty good about where we are right now.”

Check back for more coverage from the winter meetings, with Salk and Holley broadcasting live from the Swan and Dolphin Hotel and Resort Monday from 2-6 p.m. on WEEI.

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Ben Cherington: Red Sox heading to winter meetings in ‘position of strength’ 12.07.13 at 4:18 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Speaking on a conference call Saturday afternoon, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn’t directly acknowledge his team’s two-year, $32 million deal with Mike Napoli, but did insinuate the Sox’ roster looks close to complete.

“I do think we go into the winter meetings in a position of strength, with a very strong roster and one that we feel good about going into the season if not much changes,” Cherington, referencing baseball’s annual offseason get-together, which kicks off Monday in Orlando.

He added, “We think if Opening Day was tomorrow we’d be in pretty good shape but like I said before it’s not. We’ll keep working. There are things we could do, things we’d like to do to pursue and there are still the flexibility and means to do that. But certainly the team is much more filled out than it was in the beginning of the offseason. It could be that we’ve done most of our heavy lifting for the winter, but certainly we’ll still keep working and see what else we can come up with.”

Cherington surmised the one area that still needs upgrading is the left side of the Sox’ infield, with rookie Xander Bogaerts currently slated to start at shortstop, with Will Middlebrooks manning third.

One option continues to be free agent Stephen Drew, who turned down the team’s one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer earlier this offseason. The Red Sox appear to be waiting to see what kind of market Drew might draw considering any team (other than the Sox) which signs him will be forced to surrender a draft pick.

“We’ve had off and on dialogue, nothing too recent, but certainly leaving he door open still,” Cherington said of Drew. “We’ll leave the door open still. We feel pretty good about our alternative at shortstop but we’ll see what happens the rest of the way. We’re still exploring different things, different ways to potentially improve the team. I think we’ve probably shifted more toward – assuming we get a deal done with the first baseman [Napoli] – we’ve probably shifted more toward opportunistic this offseason maybe. And sort of looking at different scenarios, different ideas, and maybe nothing comes of those because we feel pretty good about where we are right now.”

WEEI.com’s Alex Speier pointed out in a previous post that after the Napoli signing, the Red Sox’ financial flexibility may be limited. Without any further roster juggling, it appears the Sox have under $2 million to spend before hitting the $189 million luxury tax threshold.

“Won’t rule it out but we’re also not close to anything,” Cherington said of potential additional moves.

Regarding the speed a which teams have snatched up free agents over the past few weeks, the GM said, “It is different than what we’re used to and I don’t know the answer. Usually deals happen when there’s a significant level of motivation, when one side or two sides are really motivated to do a deal. I guess now my answer would be a high degree of motivation, at least in some parts for certain teams and certain players to get stuff done. Who knows whether that’s a trend that continues or a one-year phenomenon, I really don’t know. It wasn’t something we necessarily were expecting. I think at the beginning of the offseason, we thought the catching market might move quicker, it was sort of a more obvious match game going on with certain number of catchers and certain number of teams but it has been surprising that the rest of the moves have happened this quickly.”

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Sources: Red Sox players urged front office to up Mike Napoli offer 12.06.13 at 11:20 pm ET
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Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli

According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox players did their part in helping bring back Mike Napoli.

As Friday unfolded, word trickled throughout numerous players on the Red Sox roster that Texas had interest that was going to be too good for Napoli to refuse. (Note: according to one source, the Rangers never actually ever made a formal offer.) The Sox had been sticking at two years at what was believed to be at $15 million per season.

With a decision looming, a significant number of the Red Sox players reached out to both Sox general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell, urging the team to enhance its offer to the first baseman.

The message seemingly was valued, both by the Red Sox and Napoli.

The Sox upped their offer to $16 million per year, while the player (according to multiple sources) saw the interest from his teammates as another reason to remain in Boston.

For more on the Napoli signing, click here.

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Red Sox agree to terms with reliever Edward Mujica 12.05.13 at 12:06 pm ET
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Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica

According to a major league source, the Red Sox have agreed to terms with relief pitcher Edward Mujica for what Yahoo! Sports is reporting is a two-year, $9.5 million deal. The completion of the deal is pending a physical.

Mujica has the capability to pitch in a late-inning role, having served as the Cardinals’ closer for much of the 2013 season before losing the job to Trevor Rosenthal. The 29-year-old did battle second-half injuries, dealing with a groin injury.

“My groin was bothering me, but I was trying to keep going, trying to help the team win. But you know, it [didn't] happen,” he told reporters during the World Series.

The righty had turned in stellar first half for the Cardinals in ’13, making the National League All-Star team. During that stretch he limited batters to a .188 batting average, striking out 25 and walking just one in collecting 26 saves.

Mujica is known as one of the premier strike-throwers in the game, having walked just 68 batters in 439 1/3 career innings.

This will be Mujica’s fifth organization.

Yahoo! Sports was first to report the agreement.

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Source: Red Sox ‘a ways off’ from Yankees’ offer to Jacoby Ellsbury 12.03.13 at 9:53 pm ET
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Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury

According to a major league source, the Red Sox’ offer to Jacoby Ellsbury was ” a ways off” from the seven-year, $153 million deal that multiple outlets are reporting will make the outfielder a Yankee.

According to MLB.com, Ellsbury’s deal with the Yankees includes an option for an eighth year that could advance the deal to $169 million.

Another source suggested Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, had set the bar at 7-8 years early on in the offseason, a level the Red Sox were not comfortable going to for the 30-year-old.

Currently, the Red Sox’ highest-paid player for the 2014 season is John Lackey, who will make $15.25 million. Conversely, the Yankees are slated to pay seven players $18 million or better for the ’14 campaign once Ellsbury is in the fold.

Ellsbury becomes the 14th-highest-paid player in baseball, just behind Adrian Gonzalez ($154 million).

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