The Boston Red Sox continue to stay mum about the Mike Napoli contract situation and whether or not they are nearing a compromise with the slugger, but their actions seem to indicate things are not going well, suggests Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
The Boston Red Sox are still giving no official comment on what the heck is going on with Mike Napoli. But their actions — perhaps — speak louder than words.
While the Sox prefer to complete their deal with Napoli, they also are talking to free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to major league sources.The discussions, first reported by Boston-based reporter Jen Royle, involve two- and three-year possibilities, sources say.
This is not the only time that the Sox have talked to LaRoche this winter, but it is the first time they have done so since Boston came to a preliminary agreement on a three-year, $39 million deal with Napoli on the opening morning of the Winter Meetings.
If the Red Sox are truly exploring three-year possibilities with the 33-year-old LaRoche, that could give them a leg up in negotiations with the lefty slugger. LaRoche has been in constant talks with the Washington Nationals since the season came to a close -- and are reportedly inching towards a deal -- but the club has been adamant about their refusal to guarantee the veteran more than two years.
The major hold up in the Napoli negotiations is still believed to be a major hip issue that surfaced during his physical. If the club cannot re-negotiate their contract with him, they can just walk away from the deal with no repercussions.
One potential drawback of stepping away from Napoli and signing LaRoche for the Red Sox would be the loss of their second-round draft pick in next season's draft (their top pick is protected). Napoli was not made a qualifying offer by the Rangers so will not cost Boston anything in the way of draft compensation.