NASHVILLE — The Red Sox have a deal in place with Mike Napoli. Now what?
Needs: A right fielder and a starting pitcher and a shortstop, probably a reliable veteran to back up Jose Iglesias.
Resources: They still have great payroll flexibility (roughly $110 million is committed for 2013 counting the arbitration-eligible players). They also have a spare catcher to trade and a bit of surplus in the bullpen. There are no indications the Red Sox would trade any of their top-tier prospects. But they have developed a solid group of players below that. They could put together a package for somebody like Gavin Floyd. R.A. Dickey is available, too. Do the Sox go down the road with another knuckleballer?
The chatter: The Red Sox are talking to Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino and Cody Ross about their outfield opening. Ben Cherington mentioned on Saturday that he liked the idea of a right fielder who also could play center. All three of those guys fit that description. Swisher may not sign until after Josh Hamilton does. He is viewed as a Plan B by a lot of teams. … What of Hamilton? Until he has signed, anything is possible. But there is probably a team out there willing to go at least five years and the Red Sox very much want to avoid that. … Oakland has not ruled out retaining RHP Brandon McCarthy but made it clear they won’t pay what the market rate is for him. If healthy, McCarthy would be an interesting player for the Red Sox to consider. … There is a lot of interest in Stephen Drew if the Red Sox are thinking about him as a shortstop possibility.