The Red Sox's positional plan is starting to emerge, and it includes the trio of catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielders Nick Swisher and Cody Ross.
The Red Sox are in contact with all three players, and all are considered in play. The Red Sox seek a first baseman and two outfielders, and it appears this is their top triumvirate.
Napoli is also talking to the Mariners and Rangers, but one rival exec said he sees the Red Sox as the favorite. Napoli has been a natural from the start, with his 1.107 career OPS at Fenway Park.
Adam LaRoche is a logical second option for first base should Napoli go to the Mariners or stay with the Rangers. The higher-priced Josh Hamilton appears to be more of a fallback/long shot option at this point.
Swisher is thought to be drawing interest from the Giants, Braves, Mariners, Orioles, Phillies and others. Ross would be of interest to the very same teams as Swisher.
Boston likes the versatility that Napoli brings, and the same is true of Swisher, who could play first base on the occasions when Napoli catches. The Red Sox have been trying to re-sign Ross since the end of the season.
Napoli is likely to command a three- or four-year deal, Ross a two- or three-year deal and Swisher a four-year deal.