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McAdam On Gresh & Zo: Will Napoli Catch Lackey?

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Red Sox pitcher John Lackey and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli talk on the mound during their days with the Angels. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitcher John Lackey and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli talk on the mound during their days with the Angels. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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The Winter Meetings are in full swing, with the Red Sox signing catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli to a three-year, $29-million deal on Monday.

Baseball insider Sean McAdam joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak from the meetings down at Nashville, and thinks this move will lead to further moves for Boston.

“It in some ways opens up some opportunities to do other things. I believed they would probably trade Salty before this, after they had signed (David) Ross,” said McAdam. “I think the Napoli signing almost guarantees that now because they now have four people on their major league roster that can catch, and they don’t need that.”

McAdam said there will be no shortage of suitors for Saltalmacchia, including division rivals like the Yankees and Rays. While he doubts Boston would deal him in the division, one potential landing spot for Saltalamacchia could be Chicago.

I think an intriguing fit or trade partner might be the White Sox. They are looking to save a little money and they have Gavin Floyd who they could maybe move,” said McAdam, noting Floyd makes about $5 million more than Salty. “If the Red Sox were to include something else in that deal, not a great prospect but another body, that would make some sense for the White Sox because they need a catcher… That makes a lot of sense and bears watching for the next week.”

One intriguing part of the Napoli signing is his success catching John Lackey. When they were on the Angels together, Napoli caught 61 games that Lackey was on the mound, with the righty sporting a 3.63 ERA in those starts.

Napoli is expected to see most of his time at first base, but could he become Lackey’s personal catcher?

“I don’t know about Lackey’s personal catcher, but I think 30 games is probably a reasonable expectation for Napoli,” said McAdam. “One of the things they can do if he’s on a hot streak on those road games in the NL, they can keep him in the lineup and have him catch and have Ortiz at first. You can see him perhaps filling in at DH at times against some tough lefties.”

While the Red Sox have been rumored to want both Cody Ross and Nick Swisher to fill their holes in the outfield, McAdam thinks it’s a lot more likely that Ross rejoins Boston.

“I think they might take the same approach with Ross as they took with Napoli; maybe overpay for two years rather than commit for a third,” said McAdam. “I think the problem with Swisher is he was thinking at the end of last year he would get a 4-5 year deal… I still think Ross is a better bet to come back than the Red Sox are getting Swisher.”

McAdam wouldn’t be surprised if the Red Sox end up getting a trade offer that no one saw coming, thanks in large part to their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers last August.

“I’ve being saying all along that because the Red Sox have a lot of money, because they lost 93 games and finished in last place, and because they made the Dodger deal, they’re going to get presented with a lot of stuff they ordinarily would not. They have room and flexibility with their payroll, and they have to be open to just about anything,” he said.

“I think a lot of teams are thinking ‘why not?’ They made that deal with the Dodgers and showed they’re willing to be bold. There is going to be a lot of crazy stuff put in front of them, and that leaves the door open for something that comes out of the blue and something nobody predicted,” he said.

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