It’s been more than three weeks since the Sox reportedly struck a three-year deal with Napoli, yet there has been no official announcement by the club regarding to move. Now, Boston is talking to free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Boston-based reporter Jen Royle has also reported as much.
Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox would prefer to complete a deal with Napoli, but that team doctors identified an issue with one of Napoli’s hips during his physical, causing the club to attempt to renegotiate the deal in place. General manager Ben Cherington and the Red Sox’ front office have declined to comment on the Napoli deal, per team policy.
“I can’t comment on that specifically,” Red Sox assistant GM Brian O’Halloran said of the Napoli situation during a conference call on Wednesday. “Nothing new from what Ben said the last time he spoke with [the media]. We continue to talk to a number of free agents and the conversations are ongoing as Ben alluded to previously.”
According to Rosenthal, the Red Sox view LaRoche as a possible alternative to Napoli, who at the winter meetings figured to be Boston’s starting first baseman come Opening Day. LaRoche is reportedly seeking a three-year deal, which has been the holdup in his negotiations with his previous team, the Washington Nationals.
If the Red Sox opted to instead sign LaRoche, they would have to surrender a draft pick as compensation, because the Nationals made the 33-year-old first baseman a qualifying offer. The pick would be a second rounder, given the Red Sox’ status as having one of the 10 worst records in baseball in 2012, and signing LaRoche would also cost Boston the money assigned to the pick in its draft pool.
In other words, opting for LaRoche over Napoli requires much more of an investment, which is why signing Napoli is likely still the top choice.
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