The Boston Red Sox began to play catch-up by getting All-Star catcher Mike Napoli, Tampa Bay took a chance on James Loney, and the New York Yankees prepared for more time minus Alex Rodriguez during a brisk Monday at baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
Coming off a last-place finish, Boston tried to resolve its catching situation. Napoli got a $39 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
A 31-year-old who also plays first base, Napoli hit .320 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs as the Texas Rangers won their second straight A.L. pennant in 2011, then slumped to a .227 average with 24 homers and 56 RBIs this year as he became a first-time All-Star. His on-base percentage dropped from .416 to .343.
The Red Sox are aiming at another prize, too, exploring trade possibilities to pry Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets.
Rodriguez, the Yankees' 37-year-old third baseman, will have surgery on his left hip and could be out until the All-Star break.
Rodriguez is a 14-time All-Star and baseball's highest-paid player at $275 million. This will be his sixth stint on the disabled list in six seasons, including a trip in 2009 after
Loney found a new home in Tampa Bay. The 28-year-old first baseman hit a combined .249 with six homers and 41 RBIs for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston.
Also, free-agent reliever Joakim Soria reached a two-year deal with Texas, which also re-signed catcher Geovany Soto.
Soria, a two-time All-Star with Kansas City, is recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery on April 3. The 28-year-old right-hander also had the ligament replaced in 2003.
In other meetings news:
World Baseball Classic: Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is going to play for Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Cabrera was among the first 32 players -- 12 major leaguers -- to commit to playing in the tournament that begins March 2. The Mets' David Wright and Minnesota's Joe Mauer will play for the United States; the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez for Mexico; and Toronto's Brett Lawrie and Minnesota's Justin Morneau for Canada. A's pitcher Travis Blackley (Australia) and Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (Venezuela) also will play. The semifinals and final will be held March 17-19 at AT&T Park.
Dykstra sentenced: Former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced in Los Angeles to 61/2 months in prison for hiding baseball gloves and other heirlooms from his playing days that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing, capping a tumultuous year of legal woes.