The Red Sox have reportedly identified Mike Napoli as their No. 1 target in free agency, but they are also weighing the alternatives.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Red Sox are talking to Adam LaRoche as a potential fallback option for first base. The Red Sox have made a three-year offer to Napoli, but it’s believed that he wants a four-year deal. The Rangers and Mariners are his other prominent suitors.
Heyman hears that the Nationals have been “fairly steadfast” in offering LaRoche a two-year deal and they could hold firm on that acquiring Denard Span earlier today, as Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth project to play the corners while Michael Morse could simply slide over to first base. Of course, it’s still possible the Nationals could re-sign LaRoche and entertain trade offers for Morse.
LaRoche, 33, batted .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs, 100 RBI and an .853 OPS this past season and also won his first Gold Glove award. He declined a $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Nationals in order to test free agency, so whoever signs him would have to surrender a draft pick.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.