BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox have reportedly offered free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli a three-year deal.
But Napoli is holding out for a fourth year, according to a report.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden, a former general manager, tweeted the Red Sox and Napoli are in contract talks, but the Mariners may be willing to give him the four-year deal he wants.
That could force Boston’s hand to make the decision on just how much they covet Napoli. For now, it’s not clear if Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox are willing to add another year to their offer.
Napoli said this off-season he would be willing to play multiple positions, so his versatility is appealing to the Red Sox, who are still in need of a first baseman. They currently have three catchers in Jarrod Saltalmacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and David Ross, so bringing in Napoli would likely lead to a move with either Saltalamacchia (trade) or Lavarnway (who could spend some time in the minors to start the season).
Napoli, who turned 31 last month, is coming off a 2012 season with the Texas Rangers where he hit .227 with 24 home runs and 56 RBIs over 108 games. A career .259 hitter, Napoli made $9.4 million in 2012 with Texas, so despite his low batting average his price tag will be high this winter.
The most appealing of Napoli’s numbers have come at Fenway Park though, where he’s hit .306 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in 19 career games.
But if those 19 games have earned him a fourth year from the Red Sox is yet to be determined.