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Sports

December 9, 2013

Don't lose sight of Sox being big-market team

(Continued)

This appears to be a solid deal for the Red Sox. Mujica possess top-notch command. He has walked just 1.4 batters per nine innings during his career.

THE BEARD IS BACK

As I’ve written before, Mike Napoli’s value extends beyond his mediocre home run total (23) in ‘13. Napoli was sixth among all major league first baseman with 63 extra-base this past season, his .360 on-base percentage ranked fifth among AL first baseman and he saw more pitches per plate appearance (4.59) than any other major league hitter.

And his value extends way beyond his on-field production. Napoli, who played above-average defense at first last year, is a great clubhouse guy who wanted to remain in Boston.

SALTY’S DEAL

Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s three-year, $21 million deal with the Marlins was less than many expected he’d receive. He received the same number of years as Carlos Ruiz did from the Phillies but ended up receiving $5 million less than Ruiz.

That was a bit surprising considering Saltalamacchia is much younger than Ruiz and had better offensive numbers than did the Phillies backstop last season.

That said, re-signing Saltalamacchia would not have been a poor financial decision for the Red Sox. And the length of contract wouldn’t have hindered their longterm plan with prospect catchers Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.

It goes to show the Red Sox were never serious about re-signing Saltalamacchia.

ON THE MARKET

Thirteen of the top 20 free agents (ranked by ESPN) already have signed. But several top names still remain as the Winter Meetings officially begin today.

Choo, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew, A.J. Burnett, Matt Garza, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales are some of the interesting free agents still available.

Follow Christopher Smith on Twitter @SmittyOnMLB

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