Red Sox wanted Gerardo Parra from D’Backs for Youkilis

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This is an interesting bit of inside information.

As reported Saturday by Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona, the Red Sox asked for outfielder Gerardo Parra from the D’Backs when shopping third baseman Kevin Youkilis earlier this month.

Parra is only 25 years old, making close to the league minimum, an elite defensive outfielder and an important part of Arizona’s current roster matrix, so the Snakes politely declined Boston’s request.

But it gives us fans and bloggers a taste of what the Red Sox are looking for in a deal involving Youk.

The 33-year-old is batting .212/.295/.341 with four homers and 13 RBI in 149 plate appearances this season. He’s making a $12 million salary for 2012 and carries a $13 million option (or $1 million buyout) for 2013.

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.