The Boston Red Sox are still working on a contract agreement with free-agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, and are still "hopeful" that a deal will get done, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:
A Major League source told the Globe tonight that the Red Sox are working toward a contract agreement with first baseman Mike Napoli and are "hopeful" of getting it done.
Napoli agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal on Dec. 3. But an issue — believed to be a pre-existing hip injury — was detected during Napoli's physical on Dec. 7.
It has now been a little more than a month since Napoli's physical started the whole re-negotiation process. Both sides have postured for a position of leverage by making a show of talking with other players/teams, but nothing is thought to be serious on that front.
If Boston is unable to come to terms with Napoli, they could sign Adam LaRoche in his stead, but they would be forced to give up draft pick compensation in that case.
Since Napoli does not have the burden of a declined qualifying offer, he could become a hot commodity if he becomes readily available again -- though the hip would likely remain an issue wherever he signed.