Red Sox rumors: Casey Kotchman, Nick Johnson, Justin Smoak

Kyle Rivas

Boston is looking into a few alternatives to Mike Napoli at first base.

The Boston Red Sox are still in a stalemate with would-be first baseman Mike Napoli about the terms of his three-year agreement with the club. The Sox are "hopeful" that they will be able to work things out, but that has not stopped the front office from exploring back-up options for the righty slugger, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe in a Q&A session:

They will add Napoli and probably one more hitter who can play first base and the outfield.

That’s why they worked out Bobby Abreu and have explored guys like Nick Johnson and Casey Kotchman.

Both Johnson and Kotchman are low-cost but high-risk options for the club. Johnson cannot be counted on to remain healthy and Kotchman is coming off a year in which he posted -1.1 WAR in 142 games for the Indians. Kotch also spent the latter half of the 2009 season with Boston, but did not play well in his short time there.

Cafardo adds that Boston has also "checked into" acquiring Justin Smoak from the Mariners, though does not explicate on where the club stands on that front now.

The Red Sox agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal with Napoli on the first morning of December's winter meetings in Nashville, but have been in gridlock with the veteran since conducting his physical three days later. While nothing official has been announced, it is believed that the problem stems from a pre-existing hip problem which became apparent during the testing.

With spring training a little more than a month away, Boston is running out of time to lock up a first baseman for 2013.

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