Daniel Nava provides offseason flexibility for Red Sox


The outfielder and first baseman has received interest from other teams, but Boston prefers to keep him in the mix.

The Boston Red Sox see Daniel Nava as an important part of their offseason and don't plan on trading him to another team, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.

Nava was often an overlooked member of the Boston's star-studded roster in 2013, but he proved to be one of the team's best hitters. He batted .303/.385/.445 with 12 home runs in 536 plate appearances, and his .831 OPS ranked third on the team among qualified hitters behind David Ortiz (.959) and Mike Napoli (.842). Furthermore, his ability to bat from both sides of the plate and play three different positions -- right field, left field and first base -- gave Red Sox manager John Farrell options when filling out his lineup card.

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Nava's presence also gives Boston some flexibility as the Red Sox try to build their roster for 2014. If the team doesn't want to get into a bidding war to retain the services of Mike Napoli, then Nava could move to first base to replace him. Or, if Boston loses Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency, then Shane Victorino could slide over to center field and Nava could play full-time in right. Options like these will help ensure that the Red Sox don't make a desperate move on the free agent market by overpaying to fill a perceived need.

For his part, Nava, who won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2014 season, has remained modest and kept an eye toward improving in the future. Bradford provides this quote, via WEEI:

"I feel like I can do better. I wasn't happy with how things turned out for me defensively. I know it was a step in the right direction, but, still, I held myself to a high standard," (Nava) said last week from his California home. "From last year it was an easy thing to improve on because the bar was so low. But next year I really want to keep going in that direction of improving, knowing swings, knowing our pitchers. That stuff really helps in terms of getting those extra steps."

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