ESPN's Tim Kurkjian joined Mut & Merloni on Monday, shortly after reports emerged that the Red Sox have agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with free agent Mike Napoli.
"It's roughly what I thought he was going to get," Kurkjian said. "It's probably a little bit more than I thought he was going to get, but you're dealing with a Red Sox team here that is clearly in trouble, clearly needed to have a bat at first base. We all know his swing is perfect for Fenway Park, we've all seen his numbers at Fenway Park. Of course, not a whole lot matters from that until he actually gets to Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox and we can see what he can do.
"I think it was the right thing to do for them because they had to have a bat. He's a real pro. A couple of years ago he was as good a hitter as there was in the American League the second half of the season. He had a real drop-off last year. But I think he'll be a better hitter playing first base most of the time, because just the obvious wear and tear on his body that comes from being a catcher most of the time."
The converted catcher has some defensive issues at first base. Kurkjian said that's part of the package with Napoli.
"He's not a particularly good defensive first baseman, and I don't think anyone thinks that he is," Kurkjian said. "After watching Adrian Gonzalez for a short period, you'll see the difference between these two guys, and it will be a stark difference here. But I think Napoli does serve a couple of purposes. He can go behind the plate here and there. And even though they already have a couple of catchers, and David Ross is a very good backup and I think he's going to play more than a backup plays, I think they'll be OK behind the plate -- in fact, better than OK behind the plate. But you're right, defensively at first base they're going to lose something there. And you can't do that in the American League East -- starting letting runs in, because that's really going to hurt you."
Asked if he thought the Red Sox would make a major deal during this week's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., Kurkjian wasn't sure.
"They might make a big trade," he said. "Justin Upton is out there, and he's available. There's a real question for me right now how good a player Justin Upton is and how much it's going to cost to get him. But that would qualify, I would think, as a big move. There's your everyday right fielder and your middle-of-the-order guy, and then you hope to revive him.
"The other interesting thing is -- and I'm not going to get anything started here because I just don't see it happening -- is if you had told me today: How can the Red Sox not make a run at Josh Hamilton if they can get him for four years? It seemed to make sense, they need an everyday outfielder who can hit. And then I talked to a Red Sox source who told me they would never give Josh Hamilton more than two years, which means that deal is not going to happen.
"I just can't believe the Red Sox with all their money aren't going to leave without a big splash of some sort. But maybe they'll go with several medium splashes -- Napoli, Swisher and somebody else, and start to fill the holes that way."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On free agent outfielder Shane Victorino: "He's available, certainly, and there are a bunch of players out on the market who are kind of like him. There are center fielders out there, even with B.J. Upton gone, there's still Michael Bourn and some other people. Victorino has shown now that he can play the corners. The danger with Victorino is his OPS last year was about a hundred points lower than where it normally is, and about 142 points down from where it was last season, in 2011. So, there's a danger there that he's no longer the dynamic offensive player that he used to be. That may keep the price down on him.
"He fits [GM Ben Cherington's] description perfectly: He can play left field, he can right field, but mostly he can play center field. And that's a really nice guy to have. Exactly how much it's going to cost for him, I'm not so sure. … The Red Sox had better be prepared to pay him, and they're going to have to pay him as an everyday player. Because he's not going to go anywhere and be a backup anywhere. He's going to want everyday player money. So, it's going to be relatively expensive."
On free agent outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher and if he's a good clubhouse presence: "I think he brought a lot to the Yankees as far as just a free spirit, a little bit of an edge. And I think he would be good in Boston. I think he would be good in the clubhouse. If I were the Red Sox I would look long and hard at him, because obviously he can play left and right field, he switch hits and, as you guys said, he can play first base also. So, I think he's very much on the radar there for the Red Sox, and I think he should be. I guess there's a debate how good he is in the [locker] room. From all indications from my eyes, he's very good in the room. And I think he could help the Red Sox in several different ways."
On Alex Rodriguez reportedly needing hip surgery that will force him to miss 2-3 months next season: "I watched him in the postseason last year, him struggle so badly like that. And I must have said to myself three different times: This guy's got to be hurt. He can't be this bad. And yet you're right, how in the world can this come up this late if he was hurt three months ago? It just doesn't follow. Maybe he was hurt. But if he was hurt, how could they not have done this surgery the minute they got knocked out of the playoffs so they could cut down the time into the season that he's going to miss? Now they have to go find a replacement for A-Rod at third. Where are they going to get that from? Is Eric Chavez going to replace him for a long period of time? Absolutely not. So, now the Yankees have something else to worry about. Now they have a shortstop and a third baseman coming back from an injury, not to mention the other holes on that team. Boy, they have a lot of work to do right now. And as of today, more than they had yesterday."
Greg and Chris talk with Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston in hour 2 of NFL Sunday to discuss a variety of offseason happenings with the Pats and throughout the league. Greg and Chris also get into the NFL Draft and where Mariota and Winston will go.
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.
In the first hour of the show, Greg and Chris discuss the news coming out of the owners' meetings this week and rule changes. Belichick's blow-up over the league not wanting to spend on endzone cameras was well documented and the guys react. They also talk about the Jets ridiculous tampering charges, free agents still lingering out there, where Stevan Ridley will land and the RB position in New England. Dickerson and Price briefly discuss the adventures of Tom Brady before being joined by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk all things Pats in the offseason.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Peter Chiarelli joined the Sunday Skate crew to talk about the Bruins playoff push heading into the final handful of games of the regular season. Chiarelli talked about avoiding some of the overly negative feedback he gets while realizing that the team does have real issues. He discusses what went down at the trade deadline and if he was happy with the outcome, Lucic having a down year and underperforming, the salary cap and if he considers it as big of an issue as it's been made out to be and what the future holds for the team.
It's a big hour #2 for the Sunday Skate dudes - they talk about the B's defenseman and what the future looks like at that position, with both moves the team can make and younger guys in the AHL. They also get into the Bruins philosophy on bringing guys up and sending them back down and how players deal with that. Finally, the boys are joined by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to discuss EVERYTHING.
The Sunday Skate crew gets the show going discussing the Bruins big, impressive victory over the NY Rangers yesterday. What can you take from that game? According to LB - Lyndon Byers - who called the guys from the road, not a lot. LB drops a dime on what was going on with the Rangers yesterday. DJ and Joe discuss Claude's lines and groupings and the importance of Ryan Spooner. They also get into Lucic, his contributions this year and if he can turn things around.
The latest feud between Shank and Papi was discussed.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed the disgusting protests at the scene of Officer Moynihan's shooting.
John Farrell has named Clay Buchholz the starter for Tuesday's opener. Koji and Christian Vasquez are already ruled out. Vasquez on the 60 day DL.
Wrestlemania was a trial run for Super Bowl 50. More Christian dog stuff. Superintendent in Chief William Gross of the BPD deals with some idiotic protesters after the fatal shooting in Roxbury on Friday night.
Shawn Thornton is now a member of the Panthers, who come to town tomorrow night. Thornton spoke about Claude Julien's control of the Bruins locker room, and his own team playing his former team on Tuesday night.
As the testimony of Hernandez' fiancee wrapped up today, we checked in with attorney Michael McCann for all the latest developments and analysis.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed throughout the day.
We listen in on Adam Shefter's deflategate report on NFL Live on ESPN, and discuss when we can expect this whole mess to come to a head.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.
Ben and Adam finish the odyssey that is the history of Wrestlemania. Wrestlemanias 21-30 are discussed and analyzed.
Mike Mulloy joins Chris in the studio to talk Raw and Wrestlemania.
The guys discussed the disgusting protests at the scene of Officer Moynihan's shooting.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.More from this show