According to an industry source, the Red Sox have remained in contact with the representatives for Nick Swisher throughout the offseason, even after the team reached agreement with Shane Victorino to play right field and Mike Napoli to serve as an everyday first baseman.
With emergent questions about whether there might have been an issue with Napoli's physical after an anticipated Tuesday press conference to introduce the slugger at Fenway did not take place, Swisher and Adam LaRoche represent the top two market alternatives at first base. LaRoche, who turned 33 in November, hit .271/.343/.510/.853 with 33 homers in 2012 for the Nationals. Swisher, who turned 32 in November, hit .272/.364/.473/.837 with 24 homers in 2012 for the Yankees.
LaRoche is left-handed, while Swisher is a switch-hitter, so either could potentially bring a measure of balance to a Red Sox lineup that currently skews right-handed. However, both players also would require the Sox to part with a draft pick (as both received one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offers from their 2012 clubs), helping to explain some of the Sox' motivation to prioritize Napoli over both in the early stages of free agency.
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