Here's what Mike Napoli has done against the Red Sox the past four seasons:
29 games (100 at-bats): .320/.410/.790 with 14 home runs and 32 RBIs.
Here's what Mike Napoli has done against everybody else the past four seasons:
446 games (1,456 at-bats): .260/.350/.494 with 86 home runs and 223 RBIs.
A player with an .844 OPS is very attractive, don't get me wrong. If the Red Sox sign Napoli to play first base, it would probably turn out to be a good idea. He hits for power, he'll take a walk, and he has played a big role on some very strong teams in recent seasons.
It's also true that 29 games and 100 at-bats is a small sample size.
But you do have to wonder if the Red Sox have fallen for a player based on what he has done against their pitching staff. Sure, Napoli is a career .306/.397/.710 hitter at Fenway Park. But what difference does that make? He'll be facing different pitchers now.
The Sox have liked Napoli for months now, John Henry in particular. They are sure to make a good run at him.
Napoli is not an especially good first baseman but can do the job. It also would be helpful to have somebody around who could catch if needed. His righthanded power would be a good complement to David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup.
Just be careful of extrapolating his statistics. If he signs with the Red Sox, he won't have their pitching staff to kick around any more.
• ESPN Los Angeles is reporting that Torii Hunter will come to a decision fairly soon. The Tigers, Yankees, and Dodgers are among the teams most interested.
Hunter would be a good fit for the Red Sox. But that would be more the case if the team were a player or two away from being a contender. Should a rebuilding team be signing 37-year-old outfielders?
Speaking selfishly, here's hoping they do sign Hunter. He is one of the nicest guys in baseball and always a pleasure to speak to.
• Maureen Mullen of CSNNE reports that Alex Ochoa might be leaving the Red Sox organization to work for Scott Boras.
Ochoa is not being considered for a spot on the major league staff. He was the first base coach last season.
• Just thinking out loud here, but would the Red Sox forfeit a draft pick by signing a free agent who was given a qualifying offer?
They have the seventh pick in the draft. Their second-round pick would be (for the moment) 38th overall because there are 31 first-round picks this season.
Under the new CBA, the top 10 picks are protected. If one of those teams signs a qualified free agent, they would lose their second round pick. The 38th overall pick is pretty valuable, especially for a last-place team.
The qualified players are Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Hiroki Kuroda, Adam LaRoche, Kyle Lohse, Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, and B.J. Upton.
Hamilton, Kuroda, LaRoche, Lohse, and Swisher are players who would fill needs for the Red Sox.
If you can get one of those players for three years, then maybe. But a long-term deal for a player like Hamilton and giving up a high pick sounds like trouble.