Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The Boston Red Sox have plenty of money to burn after unloading Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez at the 2012 trade deadline, and they are quickly spending it.
The Red Sox have snatched up catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielder Shane Victorino at the start of the winter meetings.
Napoli will primarily be the Sox first baseman and could see occasional play backing up starting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Napoli spent his first five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before he was dealt along with Juan Rivera to the Toronto Blue Jays in Jan., 2011 for Vernon Wells. Four days later, the Blue Jays moved Napoli to the Texas Rangers for reliever Frank Francisco. The deal proved to be a winner for Texas as Napoli helped propel them to their second straight World Series.
The then-29-year old produced career highs in home runs (30), RBI (75), and OPS (1.046). Though his numbers dipped last season he made his first All-Star team. On the face of it, the Red Sox overpaid for a player (3 years, $39MM) that has only played more than 115 games in a season once in his career, but his former manager Ron Washington says he worth it.
The Texas skipper sang Napoli's praises at the winter meetings in Nashville.“Tremendous character,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’s a winner. It’s unfortunate that things didn’t work out here, but we do wish him well in Boston.”1
Victorino became a full-time player with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006 and was an instrumental part if the Phiilies back to back pennant winners in 2008 and 2009. With free agency looming, the Phils sent Victorino to the Dodgers at last season's trade deadline for reliever Josh Lindblom and a pair of minor leaguers.
The "Flying Hawaiian" turned 32 last Friday and had a significant drop off in production in 2012. Despite that, the Red Sox were willing to give Victorino a three year, $39MM contract. Just like Napoli, the amount of money per year is more than the player is worth. But also like Napoli, the Red Sox are getting a top character guy for a clubhouse that has been in disarray the last two years.
1 - Boston Herald