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.
Earlier Friday, MLB Network Radio's Jim Bowden tweeted that the Red Sox
want to reduce the original three-year, $39 million contract agreed upon
on Dec. 3 to only one guaranteed year because of concerns about the
health of Napoli's hip, a condition that arose during his requisite
physical. Cherington continued to decline to get into specifics other
than to say that talks with Napoli's agent, Brian Grieper, are ongoing. Grieper also has been mum throughout the negotiations.
Red Sox manager John Farrell, who joined Cherington on the panel at Theo Epstein's "Hot Stove Cool Music" roundtable, expressed "the utmost confidence" that the team will satisfy its need at first base. At this point in the offseason, there aren't many first base alternatives to Napoli on either the free agent or trade markets. Likewise, Napoli isn't likely to get a similar deal from another team, even if the Red Sox succeed in revising the terms of the initial agreement
"I know Ben is doing whatever he possibly can so that when we report to spring training that we've got that position answered," Farrell said. "We're working through it."
This is the worst-case scenario for Napoli. The last thing he's going to want to do is finish his career on a string of one-year deals. But that very well may be what he has to do.
This isnt an Adrian Beltre situation where Napoli can accept a one-year deal, prove he's worth something, and parlay that into a larger, longer deal. His hip is on the way out. It may not happen this year. It may not happen in 2014. But at some point, his hip is going to prevent him from playing baseball. He may get someone to give him a two year deal now (three is probably out of the question). But no team, at least no team run by a sane person, is going to lock into multiple years with him after this next contract, whatever it is. Don't expect Napoli to jump on a one-year deal. He'll entertain other suitors before that happens.
I still hope Napoli comes to Boston. I would not be opposed to Napoli coming to town on a two or three year deal with injury protections built in. I'm sure that's Napoli's counter-offer to Boston's one-year deal. As I wrote yesterday, there's still plenty of time to work this thing out.
But while I'm fully onboard the Napoli train, I hope Cherington starts looking into a legit plan B. Maybe swing a deal for a 1B prospect, or talk about transitioning someone else in the Sox system to first (like Nava, as was suggested a couple weeks back). But that too, there's time for.
In conclusion, who knows what's going on? Certainly not me.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Leading the way: Red Sox discuss Dustin Pedroia's leadership | Sox bet high on farm crop | GLobe -Rubby De La Rosa ready to go for Red Sox | Jackie Bradley, Red Sox prospect, preparing for opportunity | WEEI - A story about Dustin Pedroia and the effort to change the Red Sox culture | CSNNE - Epstein: Napoli situation similar to Sox' dealings with Drew | Farrell weighs in on remaining tasks for Red Sox