This Napoli-to-Boston speculation/reporting seems to be picking up speed. Ben talked about WEEI's report about the Sox' interest in Napoli, and now ESPN's Buster Olney follows up that the Sox have their sleuthing hats on again.
The last time I remember the Red Sox being noted for doing "extensive background work," it was their infamous chase of Carl Crawford, which we found out about after the fact. Crawford was apparently a little creeped out when he found out the lengths to which Boston went to find info about whether he'd be a good fit. Of course, they found out that he certainly would be, dumped $142 million on him, and then realized that he certainly was not.
So hopefully they're more Sherlock Holmes and less Inspector Clouseau this time around.
What possible background info do they need on Napoli at this point. He's played in the playoffs. He's played in the AL East. He's contended for division titles. He's a subpar defender, a power hitter, and has a great eye for the strike zone. He is what he is. What they need to be investigating is what his price will be, and whether he's worth any kind of long-term risk.
If his health checks out, the decision should be clear. His batting eye and dead-pull swing are enough for me to believe he's a good fit for the lineup -- as I mentioned in my offseason plan, we need more hitters who have a sense of the strike zone.