The Red Sox have reportedly shown interest in each Nick Swisher, Mike Napoli and Cody Ross at certain points in this young offseason. Boston apparently wants to bring all three aboard by winter’s end.
CBSSports.com reports that the Sox have had discussions with all three and that signing the trio remains the team’s top offseason plan following a season in which Boston finished in last place in the AL East with only 69 wins.
The Red Sox have holes to fill at both corner outfield positions and at first, and signing all three of these players would satisfy those needs. The Sox also have firsthand knowledge of each player. Ross, of course, hit .267 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs in 130 games with the Red Sox in 2012, serving as one of the club’s lone bright spots.
Swisher in no stranger, either. The free-agent outfielder spent the last four seasons with the Yankees before beginning his career with Oakland and then the White Sox. He’s a career .274 hitter with 24 home runs and 75 RBIs against Boston in his career, including a .286 average and eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 50 career games at Fenway Park.
Napoli would likely fill the void at first base, and like Swisher, the free-agent catcher/first baseman has terrorized the Red Sox in the past. He has seven home runs and 17 RBIs in just 19 career games at Fenway Park, good for a 1.107 career OPS at the old ballpark. The 31-year-old was 6-for-14 with three home runs and eight RBIs in a three-game series at Fenway this past season.
The potential additions of both Napoli and Swisher would give the Red Sox some added flexibility around the diamond. Napoli is a natural catcher, and he caught 72 games in 2012 to only 28 games at first base. Swisher, on the other hand, could also play first base in addition to outfield. The 32-year-old played 41 games at first base in 2012 while Mark Teixeira battled injuries.