Red Sox sign Napoli, already looking ahead to Patriots-Texans

The Red Sox had been relatively quiet this offseason until Monday, the first day of the winter meetings, when the team made their first real splash by signing free agent 1B/C Mike Napoli. WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford was the one to break the story. The deal is for three-years and $39 million, with $13 million being split evenly between the three years.

With the signing the Red Sox now have four catchers on their roster in Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and David Ross, which opens the door for the team to deal away either Saltalamacchia or Lavarnway. The consensus among the media as well as members of the organization is it will be Saltalamacchia who could have significant value out on the market.

Mike Napoli fills power need, but defense sacrificed– Nick Cafardo looks at the signing noting Napoli is a below average first baseman, but makes up for it with his bat.

Patience pays off with Mike Napoli– Chad Finn says the Red Sox stuck to their guns with Napoli not giving in to the fourth year and it paid off.

Red Sox finally make their big splash in the pool– Scott Lauber has his take on the Naploi signing.

Searching for Dwight Evans: Where the Red Sox’ quest for a right fielder stands– Rob Bradford looks at where the Red Sox are in terms of finding their right fielder for next season and what Monday’s events mean towards it. The team has a few options they are kicking the tires on.

Josh Hamilton next for Red Sox?– Gordon Edes thinks Josh Hamilton would be a good fit in a Red Sox uniform.

Defense taking back seat to offense, character during Sox offseason– Sean McAdam notes the Red Sox aren’t factoring defense into their signings as much as in the past, instead focusing on offense and clubhouse guys.

The Patriots wrapped up their fourth straight AFC East title in Sunday’s victory over the Dolphins. It was their fourth straight and ninth in the last ten years. Much of the discussion on sports radio was how bad the AFC East has become, seemingly getting worse and worse each year. The Bills, Dolphins and Jets don’t seem likely to give the Patriots any competition in the near future either.

With their next two games against the Texans (next Monday night) and the 49ers (Sunday Dec. 16), two of the best teams in the league, it will become clear just how good the Patriots are and play a significant role in determine their seeding for the playoffs. The team reportedly will sign former wide receiver Donte Stallworth Tuesday as they are lacking depth at the wide receiver position with Julien Edelman going down with a foot injury Sunday.

It’s complicated, but Patriots are AFC’s No. 2 seed– for now– Shalise Manza Young looks at the tie breakers which currently have the Patriots as the No. 2 seed in the AFC. She also notes how important next Monday’s game with the Texans is.

Patriots report card– Ron Borges hands out his grades from Sunday. They aren’t as high as you’d think for a team who wrapped up the AFC East division title.

Coming attraction: Patriots-Texans will serve as preview for AFC Title game– Christopher Price thinks next Monday won’t be the only time the Patriots and Texans play this season.

Patriots-Texans has plenty to offer– Mike Reiss also looks ahead to the game, already digging into some matchups.

Also something to note, WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton had a report out of no where last night stating the NHL had made significant progress to end the lockout, which could be lifted by today or tomorrow. No one really seemed to backup Burton’s claim. We’ll see how it plays out, but it is hard to imagine he is right, although everyone hopes in fact he is.

Rondo, Brooklyn brawl at the Garden in Celtics loss

The Celtics fell to the Brooklyn Nets 95-83 Wednesday night at the Garden, but the big story was Rajon Rondo pushing/punching Kris Humphries after a hard foul on Kevin Garnett, which led to the two teams shoving one another and the ejections of Rondo, Humphries and the Nets’ Gerald Wallace. Rondo will certainly be suspended at least one game and much has been made of it towards Rondo’s reputation and supposedly being the leader of the team.

With the ejection, Rondo’s assist streak came to an end — a streak full of controversy.

Is there any coach better than Doc Rivers in postgame press conferences? Rivers was brutally honest regarding his team, calling them “soft”. The coach also called out a few players (not by name) for assuming just by wearing the Celtics uniform they will play like a Celtic instead of working hard and earning it. He also added, “the brawl was not toughness, we don’t have any toughness.” Rivers has always been forthcoming with the media about his team, but Wednesday night was one his best press conferences of all-time.

Celtics play the waiting game regarding possible Rajon Rondo suspension– Gary Washburn’s notebook has Rondo could be facing a multi-game suspension as he’s already been suspended by the league twice in the past ten months. Gary Dzen has the Nets’ players reactions from the scrum.

Rajon Rondo playing the fool– Steve Bulpett says Rondo’s emotions got the best of him and now a suspension looms.

Rajon Rondo shows some fight– Chris Forsberg has how the Celtics could turn this into a positive, making them into a tougher team.

Rondo’s assist streak ends after ejection– Jessica Camerato has more on Rondo’s assist streak coming to an end.

Division crown no longer a layup for C’s– Bulpett also has the Atlantic Division being a much more competitive division this year, with the Nets, 76’ers and Knicks all primed to compete with the Celtics.

A slow time on the local sports scene

With the Patriots playing on Thanksgiving they were on a mini-bye week this past weekend, the Celtics were off Monday and won’t be on the court again until Wednesday, and the Red Sox haven’t made any big splashes during the Hot Stove season. All of this put together equals a few slow days in the Boston sports media.

The only two notable news stories coming out of Monday were Jermaine Cunningham being suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances, and then a report from Kansas City stating the Red Sox have spoken to the Royals regarding a trade of Jon Lester for prospect Wil Myers — although the deal will in all likelihood never happen.

Here are a few of the notable links from this morning:

If BC finds the right coach, don’t get too attached– Christopher Gasper says since BC isn’t a football powerhouse, if they do get the right coach, don’t expect him to stay long as he will likely leave for bigger program after a few seasons.

Jermaine Cunningham’s PED use all about survival– Gerry Callahan doesn’t blame Cunningham for trying to get an advantage coming off a season where he recorded just one tackle.

Tom Brady getting better with age– Jeff Howe looks at the season Brady is having despite being 35-years-old.

Belichick is seeing secondary gains– Tom E. Curran has how the secondary is getting better each week.

Mike Napoli will next meet with Texas– Peter Abraham in his notebook says the free agent C/1B will meet with the Rangers after meetings with Boston and Seattle.