Red Sox caught napping on the signing of Mike Napoli
It has been over a month since the Red Sox agreed to terms with Mike Napoli and the deal still has not been announced. What started as a thunderous applause for Ben Cherington’s efforts to boost the Sox lineup has now been reduced to a hushed fear that the deal may never come through.
Say what you want about Adrian Gonzalez’s lack of passion, but boy could that guy hit the ball, and the lineup has not been the same since he left last year. When Gonzo went to the LA Dodgers, the Sox’ lineup took a huge hit; when Ben Cherrington inked a deal for Napoli the void was filled, or so we thought.
To add to Sox fans’ fears, the only other viable candidate to play first base, Adam LaRoche, has been resigned by the Washington Nationals — so much for a backup plan. Those of you who, like me, follow the Sox a bit too closely may remember that LaRoche once played in Boston in 2009 for six games. Alas his return was not meant to be, and the Sox are out of options.
Cherington has been extremely quiet on the issue surrounding the Napoli signing, although he seems to have found his voice recently, as he has been giving choice tidbits of information to the media. Cherington reported to select media sources that the Napoli has been cut down to one year rather than the original three-year deal offered in December. If this is the case, the Sox will have to meet with Napoli’s agent once more to work out a new deal, which could take a while until both sides can agree on the terms.
The main reason for the year reduction is to protect the Sox in the event that Napoli gets hurt. Had they signed him for three years and $39 million as originally agreed upon, they would be risking a lot if he were to injure his hip or knee (as he has in the past). Precautions like this helped protect the Sox from John Lackey’s elbow injury, as he is required to pitch one more year than his original contract. But hopefully the Sox don’t focus so much more on protecting their assets than crafting a competitive team for the 2013 season.
Cherington has at least one man with confidence in him. John Farrell, manager of the Sox, said he is confident that Cherington will be able to achieve whatever necessary to field a competitive team in 2013.
“I know Ben is doing whatever he possibly can so that when we report to spring training that we’ve got that position answered,” Farrell told The Boston Globe.
Either way, the Sox are running out of options at first base and need to act quickly. Spring Training is soon approaching, and the decision as to who will fill the void left by Adrian Gonzalez will have to be made. It may come down to the last second, but the Sox need another big bat in the lineup if they want to be competitive in the AL East in 2013.