The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE
Boston has a full outfield, but they might be making room for another anyway
While it's not clear if it's because of the wanting of another outfielder, or because the Mike Napoli contract situation actually is in dire straits, WEEI's Rob Bradford is reporting that the Red Sox remain in contact with free agent Nick Swisher.
Swisher appears to be holding out for larger offers, but other teams seem to be waiting out the Josh Hamilton market before making a move on the veteran outfielder and first baseman. Now that the Indians have traded Shin-Soo Choo, they might be more willing to acquiesce to Swisher's demands, but it's hard to picture them going five or six years for him, and that's probably what it would take to get him to sign at this early junction.
His bat would make him a useful piece in the middle of the Red Sox order, thanks to his combination of power and patience. Defensively, he can play right or left, and could even fit in at first base should the situation merit it. It's harder to squeeze both him and Napoli in the lineup together, though, especially with Jarrod Saltalamacchia still around. There's obviously a lot left to be done in Boston's off-season, but it's just mid-December, so that's how it goes.
If Swisher is brought on board, and Napoli is a Red Sox as planned, it's likely Boston has stepped up their efforts to trade Jacoby Ellsbury, or have a deal in place to do so. The market is limited in that regard, but there are still clubs who could use a center fielder. And, if Boston is bringing in Swisher to go along with Victorino and Napoli, there's less reason to go for pieces that are major-league ready right now in an Ellsbury trade, widening the market a bit. Boston doesn't have to deal Ellsbury, though, so it's tough to gauge just what's going to happen with him at this stage.