Mark Melancon is not enough: the Sox are still looking for relievers

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The Red Sox traded for Mark Melancon this week, but Buster Olney reports that they’re not done with the pen. In fact, they’re still pursuing other relievers, including Andrew Bailey of the Athletics. No word on Ryan Madson or Darren Oliver, but those are other names that have been discussed.

Makes sense. If last year showed anything, it’s that you can never have enough relief pitching. Bobby Jenks basically punted the whole year and it’s unclear what he’ll be like in 2012. Daniel Bard is being stretched out for the rotation.  Assemble a bunch of arms. As long as you can afford it, it’s a nice luxury to have.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.