EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 23, 2012

Thumbs up or down on Sox moves?

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Christopher Smith gives his opinion on the new Red Sox players.

Jonny Gomes, outfielder

Smith’s take: Thumbs down. Gomes struggles defensively and is a .244 career hitter. Not much to be impressed about here.

Koji Uehara, right handed-reliever

Smith’s take: Thumbs up. He has terrific control, allowing just four walks in 54.0 innings of relief for Texas from July 30, 2011 through the end of the 2012 season.

Shane Victorino, right fielder

Smith’s take: Thumbs down. If Victorino can hit better from the left side of the plate than he did last year (.229), my opinion will change. But he seems like a player in decline. He does bring an energetic style and strong character.

Mike Napoli, first baseman/catcher

Smith’s take: Thumbs up. This deal has yet to be completed because the Red Sox are either trying to cut the deal from three to two years or adding some contract language to protect themselves with Napoli’s hip being a concern. Yes, he has had a history of injury problems but he also has a 1.107 OPS with seven homers, 17 RBIs and four doubles in 62 regular season games at Fenway.

Ryan Dempster, right-handed starter

Smith’s take: Thumbs down. Last year, Dempster posted a 2.25 ERA in 16 starts for the Cubs, then recorded a 5.09 ERA in 12 starts for the Rangers in the only AL stint of his 15-year career. Pitching against AL teams in interleague play during his career, Dempster is 11-15 with a 4.63 ERA in 50 games, 35 starts.

Stephen Drew, shortstop

Smith’s take: Thumbs up ... you surprised? The Red Sox needed a shortstop because Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts need more reps in the minors. If his ankle is healthy, Drew can hit. ESPNBoston.com recently noted: “His .800 OPS (from 2008-10) was exceeded by only two shortstops, Hanley Ramirez (.917) and Troy Tulowitzki (.883).”

David Ross, catcher

Smith’s take: Thumbs up. In the 54 games Ross caught last year for Atlanta, his pitchers combined for a 3.59 ERA. His pitchers combined for a 3.43 in 2009, 3.15 in ‘10 and 3.11 in ‘11. The Red Sox needed a talented receiver to set their dismal starting rotation in the right direction.