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Nearly three weeks later Red Sox still haven’t made Mike Napoli signing official

Dec 19, 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

napoli getty Getty Images

This afternoon the Red Sox officially introduced Ryan Dempster, who signed a two-year, $26.5 million deal last week, but Mike Napoli‘s reported three-year, $39 million contract has yet to become official and general manager Ben Cherington didn’t have much to say about it.

“There’s really nothing to comment on,” Cherington said, via Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “As with any free agent, until it’s done, it’s not done. We continue to work on different ways to improve the team. I’ll comment on it as soon as I can, but I can’t right now.”

There’s been lots of speculation about the source of the delay with Napoli, who originally agreed to the deal way back on December 3. When asked it the team continues to be in the mix for different first basemen without Napoli officially under contract Cherington replied: “Sure, we’ve got to keep active. Until something is done, it’s not done. Even then we can’t be blind to trying to improve the team in other ways.”

So, basically … who knows. Obviously there’s something holding up the Napoli deal nearly three weeks later and the natural assumption is that it’s health-related, perhaps causing the Red Sox to try to rework some aspects of the contract. But so far at least there’s no indication that either side is going to back out of the deal.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Reports out of Boston indicate that the team is worried about his hip along with other previous physical problems. In other words, he flunked his physical and the Sox are trying to include wording in the contract that protects them financially in case pre-existing conditions sideline Napoli.

  2. hammyofdoom - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Why are people acting like this is the first time that the Red Sox have done this? Look JD Drew’s negotiations or John Lackey’s: they aren’t afraid to delay the official signing of contracts in order to protect themselves when it comes to players and prior injuries. JD Drew’s deal was finally official I think 50 days after the initial agreement on a deal. If this goes another week or two then I might be worried, at the current time it’s just Sox being Sox

    • Glenn - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      They also did this with Jason Bay and lost him. That worked out pretty well for them, though it was not his knee that did him in, which was their area of concern.

      • hammyofdoom - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Totally forgot Jason bay… damn he was a joy to watch with the Red Sox. But yeah, if they Red Sox walk away from this deal it’ll be for a damn good reason, and if they agree to it they will make sure they have themselves protected

  3. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I guess the Rangers knew what they were doing not signing him after all. Good luck, Nap.

  4. tcostant - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:57 PM


  5. uyf1950 - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    One of the posters above mentioned the language and or delay in Lackey’s and J.D. Drew’s contract announcement. I suppose if anyone asked the Red Sox management if they knew then what they knew a year or 2 into those contracts about the players performances would they have walked away from those 2 contracts? I bet the answer would be yes. Maybe that’s what they should do with Napoli.

    • hammyofdoom - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      I doubt they would have walked away from the JD drew contract even with hindsight. I was one of the few Sox fans that didnt jump all over that guy and he was actually pretty damn good the time he was here with the Red Sox. Grand slam in the playoffs, had one of the best summers by a Red Sox than I can remember, played a solid right field. Did he miss time due to injuries? Yeah, his last year sucked but between 2007 and 2012 he played about the same number of games as Kevin Youkilis while providing great defense and at times superb offense.

      I cant really defend the Lackey contract other than at the time it didnt look as bad as it turned out to be. Only thing I can do is hope that he turns out to have a good few years left in him…but yeah, that contract they would have gladly walked away from.

  6. thebadguyswon - Dec 19, 2012 at 5:39 PM


  7. mungman69 - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Trade him to Toranto.

    • kappy32 - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:57 PM

      I hope you’re being sarcastic with that comment because that was pretty dumb. First off, he’s a free agent & Boston can’t trade a player they haven’t signed yet. Secondly, how many catchers do you want Toronto to play? Last I checked, the Jays just traded 2 catchers, one major leaguer one minor leaguer, for 2 catchers that were on the Mets 40-man roster. JP Arrencibia is the starter & either Thole or Nickeas have to be on the big team to be Dickey’s personal catcher until, if ever, Arrencibia learns how to catch the knuckleball (it took Thole 3 years to become satisfactory at catching it; he’s nowhere near good at knuckleball catchig). If Toronto goes after Napoli you would have 2 catchers who can’t catch a knuckleball & would result n a blooper-reel each time Dickey takes the mound. As a diehard Mets fan, I’ve watched Thole pretend to be a professional level hitter & he sucks. Neither Thole nor Nickeas have the bat that would justify keeping a 3rd catcher & also serve as a pinch hitter. I sure hope you were joking, dude, because that was one of the worst comments I’ve seen in a while.

  8. kappy32 - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Ryan Madsen 2.0. The Sox are on a bad run the past couple years. The Sox could screw up a teenager’s wet-dream at this point.

  9. fanofevilempire - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    something is fishy, maybe he tested positive for steroids…..

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