Red Sox assistant GM Brian O'Halloran, in an interview on Thursday night's Red Sox Hot Stove show, said that while he would not comment directly on free agents including first baseman Adam LaRoche, the club continues to talk with free agents with first base representing an "area of focus" at a time when there is still no official deal in place with Mike Napoli.
While Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal in December to be the Sox' primary first baseman, that agreement hasn't been finalized in the aftermath of his physical. Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that the Sox have been in touch with LaRoche -- the top free agent alternative at first base, albeit one who would cost the Sox not just the years and dollars it would take to sign him but also a draft pick -- though it remains unclear if those conversations have been anything beyond preliminary at this stage.
"I’m not going to be able to address any specific free agents. I will say that Ben has been in touch with a number of free agents," O'Halloran said. "First base … is an area of focus. Not the only area of focus -- we’re looking to strengthen our club any way we can. That process never ends. But Ben has certainly been in touch with a number of free agents, ongoing conversations, over the last few weeks."
Asked if he would be surprised if other teams were checking in on Napoli's status (something that WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reported has happened), O'Halloran said he would not.
"That wouldn’t surprise me at all," said the assistant GM. "Mike Napoli’s a really good player, so no, that wouldn’t surprise me at all."
O'Halloran also discussed the Sox' decision to trade for Joel Hanrahan, a closer who will be a free agent next year, while sending another pitcher who, before his struggles in 2012, enjoyed considerable success in the NL Central (Mark Melancon) and won't be eligible for free agency for four years, to Pittsburgh.
"I think the main thing it sort of boils down to is our belief in Joel Hanrahan. That’s not to take anything away from the guys we sent over there. You’ve got to give something up to get something," said O'Halloran. "You referenced Melancon, and obviously his season, especially early on, didn’t go quite as he expected or we expected, but he’s a good pitcher and we strongly believe that Mark is going to have success with Pittsburgh. He worked his tail off after that blip early on and went down to the minors and pitched his tail off, did a really good job, came back up, helped us, pitched better. So we know we’re giving something up in Mark and certainly the other guys who went over to Pittsburgh in that trade. But it boils down to, we saw an opportunity to acquire what we believe is one of the top closers in the game in Joel Hanrahan, a guy with the kind of stuff we believe can play in the American League East and really anywhere. We thought that would be something that would make sense for our club, give ourselves a chance to improve for 2013, and we believe we can compete for a division title in 2013. We think Hanrahan will be a big help in doing so."
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Rob Bradford is joined by Lou Merloni to talk life in spring training, his toiletries, sleeping arrangements, and facing off with Red Sox personnel that he might have been critical of. Rob and Lou also get into the dynamic of electronic and print media when it comes to ripping the Red Sox.
Pete, Bradford, and Tomase are talking all about the Boston Red Sox, who opened spring training on Monday with pitchers and catchers reporting. They talk about what the Red Sox approach at the plate will be to replace the loss of David Ortiz bat, the impact of some players participating in the WBC, and of course the pitching rotation.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.
Hour 3. The guys take more calls on transgender bathrooms. Evan Drellich joins the show...again.
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.
Max Kellerman rips Pats fans. Skip Bayless says Bill Belichick is "good, not great." And Dan Le Batard feels the heat from Keyshawn Johnson regarding his criticisms of Magic Johnson.
It took a few hours, but Glenn finally starts to agree with Lou and Mut about Danny Ainge.
Obviously the Celtics aren't expected to overtake the Cavs in the East, but the guys wonder if the team is trying to get a little bit better each year, or hold onto their assets until LeBron is over the hill.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe discuss the C's lack of moves at the NBA trade deadline and try and figure out why, and what is the next best opportunity for the Celts to make a move?
Dale, Michael and Keefe discuss the comments made by Dave Dombrowski on K&C this morning concerning John Farrell and his in-game management.
We close out the show with the best sound bites of the day.
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap Wednesday and Thursday's K&C shows on location in Ft. Myers
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be.
Rich Keefe & Ryan Davey talk best and worst movie/TV presidents. Plus the always important "This Week in #DORK" and the Pick of the Podcast.
Hour 4. Evan Drellich joins the show. A fight for the ages ensues.More from this show
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.More from this show
Hour 2. John Steigerwald says Brady doesn't pass the eye test. Headlines with Kirk.More from this show