9:46pm: Brian Grieper, Napoli's agent, says it is "reasonable to expect" that Napoli will have made his decision about signing with the Red Sox by next week, ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes reports. "All signs point to" the two sides eventually agreeing to a one-year contract, Edes says, though Napoli may have to undergo another physical before things are finalized (all Twitter links).
3:49pm: The Red Sox and Napoli are making significant progress toward a one-year agreement, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter).
11:05am: Mike Napoli and the Red Sox have made progress toward a new agreement, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The deal isn’t done, however, and both sides are keeping their options open. The situation should be resolved by next week at the latest, according to Heyman.
The sides had agreed to a three-year, $39MM contract, but the deal didn’t go through as expected. Napoli has a hip issue that prompted the Red Sox to seek protective language in the deal. The 31-year-old has remained Boston’s top first base target and seems like a more probable solution than trade candidate Michael Morse, Heyman writes. Despite the hip issue, Napoli expects to be ready for Opening Day. He is said to be talking to a couple of other American League clubs, according to Heyman.
The Red Sox are exploring trades for a left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (Twitter link). Boston would like to complement right-handed hitters such as Napoli and Jonny Gomes, who both have a history of effectiveness against left-handed pitching.