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Report: Red Sox want to reduce Mike Napoli’s contract to one year

Jan 11, 2013, 9:44 PM EDT

Mike Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox over a month ago, but the two sides are currently discussing an amended contract after an issue with his health (believed to be one of his hips) was revealed during his pre-signing physical. We now have some details on what the Red Sox have in mind.

In other words, Napoli would only get one guaranteed year. We have previously heard that the two sides were working through “hip language” in the contract, so it’s possible that the Red Sox could include a vesting option if he reaches a certain number of plate appearances or doesn’t land on the disabled list because of the hip. But it’s not clear whether that has been offered.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn’t get into any specifics on the negotiations when asked tonight, but was optimistic that a resolution will come “hopefully soon.” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported this morning that the Red Sox have inquired about the Nationals’ Michael Morse as a potential fallback if a deal with Napoli can’t be reached.

  1. thebadguyswon - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Someone screwed up bigtime. Now Napoli has no other choice since the Sox dragged this out and destroyed his market. The MLBPA needs to step in.

    • vanmorrissey - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      What in God’s name are you talking about? Execution of the contract includes satisfactory passing of a physical. Since that didn’t happen, terms are cancelled. No one screwed up at all, that’s the way it is. Don’t like it, move on to another team. If true, that’s too bad but that’s the chance you take. Case closed.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        Not saying you are wrong, but verbal contract do have legal ramifications. Now what was said – I have no clue. But you can guarantee the Union is going to get invloved here. And perhaps the Sox will prevail. But sumptin tells me 1 year ain’t happening. 3 years $39 mil ain’t happening either.

        Prediction: 1 year at $13 mil with $6.5 mill team buy out after that, and incentives for Plate apperances in years 1, 2 and 3 that could bring it all the way to $39 Mill – if he is A-Okay the whole time

      • Glenn - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        That verbal contract would include passing the physical, so I am not sure what the problem with the Red Sox end of things is here.

      • Glenn - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:18 AM

        What is so hard to understand that every verbal agreement is hinged upon passing the physical? After the physical, the hip must have been an issue. The Red Sox have the right to alter the contract and Napoli has the right to look elsewhere for a better deal. The Rangers already passed on a one year, $13 million contract with him. I’m still no sure how this reflects badly on the Sox.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        Yes it would include passing the physical, and to be clear, I am not advocating one side is right here. Just saying the Union is going to get involved, i guarantee it.

        I am just guessing, but I doubt he outright failed a physical, otherwise this would have ended a long time ago. Must be some gray area that you could make a case different ways. So if the Sox want to give 1 year (and I am not sayign they are wrong), the Union will get invloved and fight. Bet on it

    • xavier46 - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      Prince Fielder signed on January 26th last year; his market was not destroyed.

      Is the MLBPA going to force the Red Sox to sign an (apparently) injured player???

    • dcfan4life - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      If anyone screwed up its Napoli. Clearly if he has a hip issue he knew about it and tried to hide it or thought he could play through it effectively. The Sox are doing exactly what they should to prevent another bad signing. The MLBPA has nothing to do here and cant get involved.

    • bigharold - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      “… Sox dragged this out and destroyed his market.”

      Due diligence is not dragging things out. Had the RS signed him and he turned up lame half way through next season the rant would have been “.. how did they not see this coming?”

      • cackalackyank - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        Agreed, If anyone doubts this is what would be said see also: Yankees, New York trade for Pineda, Michael.

      • paperlions - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        People act like Napoli hasn’t been free to negotiate with any team. He has. He isn’t signed, and until he is, he can talk to any team he wants to.

  2. Chris K - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    A 1 year contract for $39 million sounds just fine to me!!!!!

    • bigharold - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      I’d take about three months worth.

  3. uyf1950 - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    At 1 year $13MM my guess is Napoli walks away. I doubt he’d have any trouble getting at least a 2 year deal at some point this preseason. Besides if he walks away the Sox are going to find themselves hurting a little bit for a 1st baseman and a left handed power bat. So it’s probably in the best interest of both parties to work something out where both give in a little.

    • Walk - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      Napoli i thought was a right handed batter, but yeah would be nice to get a contract with maybe a series of options. Depending on how it is structured. perhaps mutual options, napoli can get a bit of job security and the sox can get a bit of protection in case he is unable to play due to a pre-existing injury. Otherwise a trade for morse from the nats might be possible. I think jason kubel is on the trade market from the dbacks as well though that would force ortiz to dh. Napoli is still the most viable option so i think a deal gets done.

  4. bozosforall - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    As usual, Boston comes out looking like the crybabies that they always are. They will NEVER match up to the successes of the Yankees, who OWN them for eternity.

    • Glenn - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      Excellent points … if you are a troll. 2004! Own that.

      • bozosforall - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:45 AM

        27…you have been owned.

      • bobwsc - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        right bozo. the Sox should just sign him and have an A-Rod situation on their hands. then maybe they’d be more like the Yankees

    • mazblast - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      21st century scoreboard–

      Red Sox 2 WS titles, Yankees 1. Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in the 1940s-50s anymore.

      • bozosforall - Jan 12, 2013 at 9:14 PM

        Try, 2-2, since the Yankees also won it in 2000…AFTER the turn of the millennium.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 13, 2013 at 7:26 AM

        The millennium started in 2001. You fall at math.

    • sandpiperair - Jan 12, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      Oh my god! He’s back!!!

      • bozosforall - Jan 13, 2013 at 12:36 AM

        Oh my god, you are a loser.

  5. dimiandmac1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    Hey bozo I know I had sex with your mom and sister…and im a sox/celtics/and pats fan..but it doesnt mean you have to hate on my teams…you can just hate me, its ok!

  6. buffalo65 - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Sox should walk away , too bad they couldn’t walk away from the other bad deals they signed this winter too.

    • Glenn - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      I agree that the contracts seem bad, but if you consider the new salary cap via the luxury tax that even has the Yankees adjusting, and the Sox prospects ready for 2014 or 2015; the contracts are not horrible, just place holders for a reload at that time in the future. They are rolling the dice for the next two years until the prospects are major league ready. As a Sox fan, I can live with that. It’s a weak free agent year and they will be flexible when the kids are ready. The mistakes of the past are not going to be corrected over night.

  7. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:26 AM

    For potential entertainment value I am hoping an AL East team signs him and he just punishes Red Sox pitching for the year.

  8. mungman69 - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:42 AM

    The Red Sox are right on this one. You can’t sign an injured player if you have any questions about his health.

  9. proudlycanadian - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    The Red Sox soap opera continues. It is great entertainment.

    • bobwsc - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      get your spot on the Jay’s parade route already picked out?

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        No. We all know that the games have to be played and injuries can happen. Still, I will be watching most games.

  10. coloradogolfcoupons - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    If the Sox would put a Segway near the batters box, idling and ready to go, Nap’s hip wouldn’t be a problem. But try getting THAT into the contract. Jeeez

  11. Ari Collins - Jan 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Seems good for both sides. Napoli is a FA, and no one else seems to be offering 2-3 years now that he’s failed his physical. A one-year deal in a hitter’s park would allow him to prove himself healthy and get him a multi-year deal next offseason if he is.

    Something along the lines of the Beltre contract would make some sense, with some inflation thrown in:

    One year, $13MM.
    $8MM player option for 2014 that rises to $13MM with 600 PAs.
    $2MM buyout for player option.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Seems OK to me Ari; however, I suspect that he would also want an option for the third year.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:19 AM

        There’s very little precedence for two player options… something along the model of the Beltre contract (or the end of the Jeter contract, for that matter) makes more sense. Perhaps a team opt-out due to injury, like the Drew contract, after the first and/or second year of a three-year deal, but if teams were willing to do that for Napoli, I think it would already be done.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 12, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        Napoli would want the opportunity to earn the full $39 million. The Jays signed Escobar to a contract that has a series of 1 year options. I think that when Aaron Hill was with the Jays, his contract had multiple options.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Those were club options, which is the opposite situation.

        I’m sure Napoli WANTS to have the ability to earn $39MM, but if the Sox (or any other team) were offering it, it would already be done. Not gonna happen.

  12. tfbuckfutter - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Red Sox front office should stick to signing crappy players instead of slightly-above average ones.

    Those guys are just so excited someone actually called they’ll take any deal….and then the Sox overpay them to boot!

  13. uyf1950 - Jan 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Unless there is significant issues with Napoli’s hip there is really no reason Napoli should accept any less guaranteed money than Ortiz recently signed for. That’s 2 years $25MM guaranteed, with the possibility of earning the total of $39MM over 3 years as they originally agreed to if Napoli does not miss a specified amount of time due to a “hip” problem.
    And if there really is “significant” issues with his hip the Red Sox should just move on and stop this dancing around.

  14. themagicfanguy - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    That’s okay folks, Bozo happens to be a Lakers troll. He’s just pretending to like the Yankees because he can’t troll the Celtics board right now due to the fact that the Lakers you know… Suck horribly.
    I’d be surprised if he even watches baseball. If he does he’s probably currently acting like a Giants fan, like most other bandwagoners.

  15. themagicfanguy - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Sox would be better off getting Morse

  16. hardjudge - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Looks like the Rangers are the ones who come out of this one smelling like roses!

    • stex52 - Jan 12, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      No doubt. The Rangers wanted to lock him up a year ago and he wanted to test the free agent market. They haven’t had a particularly successful winter, but they lucked out on this deal.

  17. pastabelly - Jan 13, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    This is why you do physicals. Sox should not be punished for doing due diligence.

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