Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Here’s what we know for certain about Mike Napoli: He is not a member of the Red Sox.
That’s one of the few facts at our disposal in a story that has seen the principals journey deep underground and basically off the grid, leaving the rest of us to nibble at the periphery in search of clues.
It has been more than three weeks since the Red Sox reached agreement on a three-year, $39 million deal with Napoli, who was clearly their No. 1 target in free agency.
Now comes word, via Jen Royle of SBNation, that the Red Sox are actively engaged with free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, a 33-year-old coming off a better year than Napoli, but who also will require draft pick compensation in the form of the Sox’ second-rounder (not to mention that accompanying portion of the Sox’ bonus pool).
So what are we to make of all of this? Considering how aggressively the Red Sox pursued Napoli this winter, it’s safe to say they’re making every effort to sign him. The fact that they haven’t flat-out walked away suggests they believe the deal can be salvaged, and that Napoli will not, in fact, turn into another Mike Lowell or A-Rod and suffer a debilitating hip injury.
Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I'm not getting too antsy over the Napoli situation. Maybe because it's still December and baseball season seems like it's light years away, but I have no issues with this dragging on. Take your time boys. Get it right.
Although, seeing Adam LaRoche's name get tossed into the ring does give me pause. Hey! Look! Another left-handed hitter! Just what we need! LaRoche is a guy who's bounced around and has been fairly 'blah' everywhere he's been, minus a few bright spots. One of which just happens to line-up in his walk year, at the age of 33, when he can get his last decent MLB contract. Thanks, but no thanks. I'll wait on Napoli.
If Napoli never materializes (maybe he finds a new suitor, or the Sox get scared off), we are going to be in some trouble at first. But I'd rather suffer through a season of some sort of Saltalamacchia-Mauro Gomez hybrid than see the Sox throw $40 million at Adam LaRoche.
But before we start worrying about all that, let's let the Napoli situation play itself out. In any other season, where the Sox are legitimate contenders, this would be a crisis. But there's truly no rush here. Not now. Let's just sit back, enjoy the last few days of 2012, get ready for our New Year's celebrations and re-visit this contract next year. Time is the one thing we have right now.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Stephen Drew can help Sox, self in ’13 | Globe - Mike Napoli remains a priority for Red Sox | Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew wants to be his own man in Boston | CSNNE - Report: At least one team contacts Napoli | Hideki Matsui announces his retirement | Report: Red Sox in contact with Adam LaRoche | WEEI - Pedroia: Iglesias upset by Drew signing | Why Stephen Drew, Scott Boras are bullish on 2013