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According to multiple baseball sources, the Red Sox have shown interest in free agent first basemen Casey Kotchman and Lyle Overbay. One source reported, however, that “nothing is active” in regard to the team’s pursuit of the players.
The Red Sox pursuit of both Kotchman and Overbay might not be solely contingent on the outcome of Mike Napoli’s status, with the Sox still seeking depth at the first base position. The club and Napoli are still working through language in Napoli’s contract that would protect the team against any issues regarding the free agent’s hip ailment. (ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported Friday that the Red Sox might be looking to shorten Napoli’s initial three-year, $39 million deal to one year.)
“Until something is done, you have to consider other options so we’ve had to do that and we’ve continued to consider other ways to improve the team, whether it’s at first base, or elsewhere,” said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said while appearing on ‘The Hot Stove Show’ Thursday. “At this point, we just haven’t found anything that made sense to us in the sort of big picture. So that’s where we are. There’s no one particular player that’s available or not available that would have changed the course of our offseason. We’re just examining and evaluating things as they come. Certainly when you have a position you’re trying to improve on, until it’s improved upon, you have to continue to consider other options. It’s fair to say as you sort of get deeper into the winter, the free agents start to go off the board. You can look at trades and other ways to do things. It remains a focus. We’re still hoping we can do something to improve ourselves in that area before we get to Fort Myers.”
As Rob Bradford already mentioned, the interest has nothing to do with the Napoli situation. The Sox are just looking for some help at first and would likely have no intention of making either guy the "everyday guy" at first. Even though Kotchman has been the "everyday guy" for the past 3 seasons (Seattle, Tampa Bay, & Cleveland), his offense would provide a major blow to the lineup. Same goes for Overbay, though he is just getting too old.
The Sox are just finding guys who they can potentially bring in for short money to be a good backup at first and any other position. Load up the roster in Ft. Myers and see what you can get out of these guys.
If they do advance their interest in the two, I would prefer the Sox sign Kotchman, purely due to age. Kotchman appeared in 39 games with the Sox in 2009 and didn't display anything impressive, but it was only 39 games. Overbay has the better numbers over his career that spans 3 more seasons than Kotchman, though it's beginning to tail off, making Kotchman more appealing.
Again, the Sox are spitting out names as backups and will continue to do so for the next month-or-so.
Related: CSNNE: Report: Red Sox show interest in Kotchman, Overbay
The rest of the links:
Globe: Jackie Bradley, Red Sox prospect, preparing for opportunity | Rubby De La Rosa ready to go for Red Sox | CSNNE: Buckley: Different expectations for latest Sox prospects | Herald: After wait, Rubby De La Rosa ready | Jays winners on paper only