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Greetings from Gate A-20

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 2, 2012 07:39 AM

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Good morning from Logan Airport. We are here waiting for a flight to Nashville and the Winter Meetings.

The offseason in baseball has become its own event. Once the World Series ends, you have the GM meetings, the non-tender date, the Winter Meetings, the Rule 5 Draft and everything else.

The Winter Meetings are the big show. Everybody in baseball except the players gathers in one place to talk shop. The athletic trainers have a meeting. So do the traveling secretaries, the media relations directors, the team doctors and even the BBWAA. The managers are there, the GMs and all their assorted assistants.

The minor league executives have their convention. All the agents show up and there's a press room the size of a football field for all the reporters. MLB lets pretty much everybody in. Scott Boras gets a block of rooms.

The meetings are varying degrees of fun. If your team makes a big move, the stories will be some of the most-read you write all season and it's exciting. If not, the stories will be a lot of speculation and double talk and the fans will be frustrated.

Most folks never leave the hotel except for a random dinner or two. There's so much going on, almost 24 hours a day, that you don't want to miss it.

I'm sure Nashville is a nice city. I'll see the airport and the hotel. That's about it.

As to the Red Sox, everybody wants to know what they'll do. Here is a semi-educated guess:

First base: They seem to be focusing in on Mike Napoli. The Rangers and Mariners are the competition. If Napoli can get four years, good for him. But that seems like a lot for a player who has made the All-Star team once. This is a pretty good player, not a franchise-altering star.

If the Red Sox were to make a trade, this could be where it happens. The free market is thin for first basemen.

Outfield: Nick Swisher fits the profile for the Sox. Versatile, good clubhouse guy, on-base skills, still fairly young (32) and switch hits with power. Back in the summer, when contemplating free agency, Swisher told me that the idea of playing for the Red Sox was tough to contemplate after spending time with the Yankees. But Yankees fans viciously turned on Swisher in the postseason and he may be more agreeable to switching sides in the rivalry.

Is Swisher for four years and $60 million too much?

You get the impression the Sox would happily take Cody Ross back and be done with it. I get no sense Josh Hamilton is a realistic option unless his market falls apart and he's willing to take three years. It's hard to imagine why the Sox would trade away two unwieldy contracts in August then take on a bigger risk in December. That would defeat the whole purpose of the Dodgers trade.

Rotation: There is no sense that the Sox will take a plunge on Zack Greinke. Big contracts for starters are about as dumb as it gets in baseball. They've been burned and they're not going down that path again. Anibal Sanchez for $90 million also seems a little nutty.

Think a No. 3 starter. It's not sexy but it's realistic.

Other stuff: They're looking for a reliable backup shortstop type. Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco are not exactly trustworthy at this point. ... It's hard not to imagine Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway getting traded. ... Every team in baseball is willing to add bullpen pieces.

So hang out on Extra Bases this week. Nick Cafardo will join me in Nashville and we'll have blogs, Twitter updates, newspaper stories and everything else. We'll probably pop up on NESN, too.

Follow me on Twitter @PeteAbe

Follow Nick on Twitter @nickcafardo.

Thanks for reading. We will do our best to keep you updated.

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