Mike Napoli Rumors
It has been six weeks since the Red Sox and Mike Napoli agreed to terms on a three-year, $39MM contract. The holdup in finalizing the deal is concern with one of Napoli's hips and the team's desire to write protective language into the contract. Recently, we learned the Red Sox are continuing negotiations with Napoli, but would like to shorten the deal to just one year and have been in contact with the Nationals about Mike Morse. A major league source told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this about Napoli's hip, "It’s one of those things where it could go anytime or five years from now. Nobody really knows, which is why the Red Sox want strong language after putting $40 million on the table for him.” Cafardo believes it's starting to make sense for the Red Sox to trade for Justin Morneau or to make Daniel Nava a first baseman/left fielder. More from Cafardo:
- That Kyle Lohse is still available at this late date is somewhat of a stunner to Cafardo. Lohse's market has been stunted with him being tied to draft pick compensation and that no one seems willing to go beyond two years, although several teams needs starting pitching and his stuff translates to both leagues.
- Draft pick compensation has also shrunk the market for Michael Bourn. Another factor, according to a NL GM, has been the Twins trading both Denard Span and Ben Revere and the Braves signing B.J. Upton.
- Cafardo thought it was strange for Justin Upton to reject his trade to Seattle since it's one of the nicest cities in the country and the fences at Safeco Field have been moved in.
- Cubs President Theo Epstein has come to realize Alfonso Soriano is an excellent clubhouse presence because of his willingness to help younger players. With that and his excellent 2012 season, Epstein wants a player of note in any deal where the Cubs eat a majority of the $36MM left on Soriano's contract.
- Discussions to include Garrett Jones in the Joel Hanrahan trade never progressed very far because "the Pirates really valued Jones highly," a major league source told Cafardo.
- One NL GM told Cafardo Roy Oswalt may still want to pitch, but on his terms and perhaps for only a half a season. Many teams have given up trying to persuade the 35-year-old to pitch, feeling the vibe is that he just doesn’t want it bad enough. Cafardo also notes Oswalt suffered a forearm strain at the end of his time with the Rangers last season.
- Bobby Valentine has turned down some opportunities to serve as an advisor for teams. Valentine has instead decided to focus on expanding his restaurant business, growing his film company, and working for NBC Sports since being fired as manager of the Red Sox.
9:29pm: ESPN's Jim Bowden says (on Twitter) the Red Sox would like to shorten the deal to just one year. GM Ben Cherington told Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe that negotiations continue with Napoli (Twitter link).
4:41pm: The three-year, $39MM agreement between Mike Napoli and the Red Sox has yet to be announced, and before the Red Sox sign off on a contract, they want to restructure the deal to include protective language, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Red Sox still seem hopeful that they’ll be able to reach an agreement with the catcher/first baseman, according to reports earlier in the week.
The Red Sox want to add protective language to the deal because they found an issue with one of Napoli’s hips, Rosenthal reports. The Red Sox have included protective language in past deals for players such as J.D. Drew. Before Drew signed his deal, Detroit signed Ivan Rodriguez to a free agent contract that allowed the Tigers to buy the catcher out if he spent a certain amount of time on the disabled list for designated reasons.
Another team has expressed interest in Napoli. However, Rosenthal says no team has made a serious effort to sign him.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Let's catch up on the latest stories and happenings taking place in front offices from around the league...
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington spoke to Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio about the status of free agent Mike Napoli and where the slugger stands with the team. Cherington told Bowden (via Twitter) that Boston is still looking to add offense to the first base position as the club still considers Napoli to be a free agent. He added that the Red Sox will continue to work through the issues of signing Napoli but admits there is no deal at this point (on Twitter).
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo faces the task of improving a 98-win team this offseason and recently took a break from the action to chat with MLB.com's Bill Ladson on the state of Nationals baseball. Rizzo points to the young, talented players on his roster taking the proverbial "next step" as one of the factors for the team's continued success in 2013.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti's major concern for his roster isn't about adding more pieces but rather making sure players are fully recovered from various injuries before Spring Training starts, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "We're fine right now if we come into camp, we're in a good spot," Colletti said.
It's been more than a month since the Red Sox and Mike Napoli initially reached an agreement on a three-year, $39MM contract, but that deal has yet to be finalized. The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham writes that the Red Sox are still working on getting a deal finalized, and the team is hopeful it will get done. It's been believed that a hip injury has held up the deal's completion.
Boston has since engaged in discussions with the representatives for Adam LaRoche. Abraham writes that Napoli hasn't talked with other teams in this time, though there were reports to the contrary last month. Back on Dec. 27, Mike Axisa polled MLBTR readers, and 57 percent of respondents thought that the deal would fall through and Napoli would sign elsewhere.
The 31-year-old Napoli is just one year removed from a .320/.414/.631 season in which he belted 30 homers for the Rangers. That production dropped significantly in 2012, though his .227/.343/.469 line and 24 long balls were more than respectable. Boston plans to use Napoli as its primary first baseman, though he'd previously stated his preference was to remain behind the dish.
It has been 24 days since the Red Sox and Mike Napoli agreed to a three-year contract worth $39MM. The two sides have been unable to finalize the deal due to a hip issue that popped up during the physical, and the team is reportedly trying to put some protective language into the pact. They've used similar clauses in contracts for J.D. Drew and John Lackey.
Earlier today we learned the Red Sox have been talking to Adam LaRoche, a free agent first baseman who would be a viable alternative to Napoli. A few hours later we heard that Napoli's representatives have had talks with at least one other team. Both reports could just be one side trying to gain leverage over the other, or they could be an indication the agreement is falling apart and they've both begun to look for alternatives.
With the calendar just about ready to flip over to 2013, unsigned free agents will soon begin to scramble to find jobs for next season. Teams will also start to scramble for solutions to their remaining roster holes since Spring Training will be just six weeks away. Neither Napoli nor the Red Sox want this thing to drag out any longer, so a resolution should come relatively soon one way or the other.
At least one team has been in communication with Mike Napoli's representatives since negotiations with the Red Sox hit a snag, multiple baseball sources tell Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. However, one source says it is believed that no contract offer has been extended by a team other than the Sox since the two sides reached agreement on a deal earlier this month.
The Red Sox and Napoli have yet to finalize their agreement on a three-year, $39MM deal due to concerns over the 31-year-old's hip. Earlier today, we learned that Boston has been in talks with free agent Adam LaRoche as a possible alternative. Signing LaRoche would cost Boston their second-round pick and the veteran says that he is looking for a three-year deal.
- The Red Sox continue to work on language in Mike Napoli's deal concerning his hip issue, but they haven't gotten to whether they will alter the terms of the agreement, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, the club continues to talk with free agent Adam LaRoche as a possible alternative.
- Bowden suggested five deals that would change the fortune of contending teams, including a swap for the Red Sox with the Diamondbacks. In the proposed deal, the Red Sox would acquire Justin Upton in exchange for Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Jacobs. The deal would give Boston an outfield of Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Shane Victorino and give them adequate reinforcements if Ellsbury goes elsewhere in free agency.
- The continued interest by the Red Sox in LaRoche puts pressure on the Nationals, writes James Wagner of the Washington Post. The Nationals have so far refused to go to three years for LaRoche while the Red Sox are exploring multi-year possibilities with the first baseman.
The Red Sox are talking with free agent Adam LaRoche, two sources tell Jen Royle of SB Nation Boston (via Twitter). LaRoche is seeking a three-year deal and a third source tells Royle that he's still not willing to compromise on contract length.
LaRoche would be the alternative to signing Mike Napoli, but major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Boston would prefer to complete their deal with the backstop. The Red Sox haven't given any official word on why the deal with Napoli hasn't been completed, but sources say that an issue with one of Napoli's hips has given the club pause. There's an agreement in place for a three-year, $39MM deal, but the Red Sox could simply walk from it since it has not been finalized.
If the Red Sox did sign LaRoche, Rosenthal writes that Napoli would go back into the market and likely accept a shorter, cheaper deal, possibly from the Rangers. The Nationals would fill the void internally by moving Michael Morse to first base and go with an outfield of Bryce Harper in left, Denard Span in center, and Jayson Werth in right. However, Napoli remains Boston's preference in part because signing LaRoche would cost a second-round pick.
The Napoli problem is familiar territory for Boston as they put language in the contracts of right fielder J.D. Drew and right-hander John Lackey to protect from pre-existing medical conditions. According to sources, the Red Sox are working to get Napoli to agree to similar protection in his deal.
Earlier today the Red Sox finalized the Joel Hanrahan trade and Stephen Drew signing, but assistant GM Brian O'Halloran told reporters (including Tim Britton of The Providence Journal) there is no update on the Mike Napoli situation (Twitter link). Here's the latest from baseball's two East divisions....
- The Phillies are in an odd place in baseball's landscape writes ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd). GM Ruben Amaro Jr. really couldn't add big money free agents this winter, but his team is too good to rebuild completely. Olney wonders if they should have dumped Cliff Lee (and his salary) on the Dodgers when Los Angeles claimed the southpaw on waivers this summer.
- The Orioles still have to sort out their bench, but the team has plenty of candidates to choose from as Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com explains. Alexi Casilla, Nolan Reimold, Wilson Betemit, Danny Valencia, Trayvon Robinson, Ryan Flaherty, Yamaico Navarro, Steve Pearce, Conor Jackson, and Travis Ishikawa are all in the bench mix.
- Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider compared Adam LaRoche to Mike Morse. The Nationals are trying to re-sign the former, though the latter could step right in at first base if no deal is reached.
- Ryan Lawrence of The Philadelphia Daily News broke down the Phillies offseason, both the moves and non-moves.
The Red Sox agreed to sign Mike Napoli to a three-year, $39MM contract more than two weeks ago, but the deal hasn’t yet been announced. As questions surrounding the agreement continue to mount, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Napoli has a problem with one of his hips that led to diminished interest from the Mariners.
However, if Red Sox officials thought the condition was serious, they would probably have backed out by now in Rosenthal’s view. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has said the sides are “working through some issues.” Rosenthal suggests this means issues arose during Napoli’s physical and the Red Sox are trying to re-work his contract. The Red Sox could look to reduce the term of the deal or they could push for protective language, as they have done in the past with players such as J.D. Drew.
A person connected to the MLBPA told Rosenthal that the union considers the team’s concern justifiable. Paragon Sports International represents Napoli.