Mike Napoli Talks Reach Critical Stage

11:24am: Napoli's market is picking up, and the Mariners, Marlins, Rangers and Red Sox are all involved, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi adds that the Mariners have had "recent" talks with Napoli.

10:57am: Mike Napoli's free agent negotiations are at a critical stage, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  He says Napoli wants to remain with the Red Sox, but he has an offer from another club that Boston will need to match or exceed.  Earlier, Rosenthal tweeted that the Rangers and Marlins are in on Napoli, who remains a priority for the Red Sox.  The Rangers are interested even after acquiring Prince Fielder, which is seemingly made possible by the designated hitter spot.

Napoli was one of 13 players to receive a qualifying offer in November, so signing him will require forfeiture of a draft pick for teams other than the Red Sox.  The 32-year-old switched to first base full-time in 2013 for Boston, hitting .259/.360/.482 in 578 plate appearances and playing in the postseason for the sixth time in eight seasons.  Last offseason, Napoli's three-year, $39MM deal with the Red Sox was renegotiated down to a one-year, $5MM guarantee after his physical revealed a degenerative hip condition.  With Curtis Granderson receiving four guaranteed years today from the Mets, I think Napoli has a good case for the same.

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