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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox‘ biggest splash this off-season has yet to become official, with an apparent injury concern holding up the finalization of their deal with free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli.
Could the deal fall through, or is it a good sign it hasn’t fallen apart already? The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday with the latest on the Napoli snag.
“They agreed to a three-year contract originally and it sounds like the Red Sox are trying to cut it down to a two-year contract because of concerns about his hip,” said Abraham. “This is something they’ve done in the past; they’ve put in clauses in contracts or even option years in contracts because of injuries to give them some protection.”
Gallery: Red Sox’ Off-Season Moves
“Napoli does have a well-documented history of injuries,” noted Abraham. “But I’m sure, from Napoli’s standpoint, what’s different with this is they’re looking at him as a first baseman — not a catcher. If you’re a guy with a hip problem it will likely come up more as a catcher than a first baseman. But I’m sure the Red Sox saw something in his physical or his medical history that gave him pause.”
“The fact they haven’t just called it off would lend me to believe they think they can solve it one way or another,” said Abraham. “Otherwise they have to go out and find a first baseman, because they don’t really have anyone on their roster that can play first base.”
The Red Sox added shortstop Stephen Drew on Monday, reportedly inking the six-year veteran to a one-year, $9.5 million deal.
While Drew is seen as a stopgap for Boston, what does the signing mean for the future of prospect Jose Iglesias?
“I thought they would lean more towards a veteran shortstop to backup Iglesias or potentially start ahead of Iglesias, but not the idea of investing what could be $10 million for a shortstop,” said Abraham. “It’s only a one-year contract, but it is putting Iglesias in the position now where you wonder if he has a future in the organization. Because if he’s not good enough to play this year and Xander Bogaerts makes progress and is ready for 2014, where does that leave Iglesias?”
“This is not a guy that you say is going to make a big difference on the team,” Abraham said of Drew, a career .265 hitter with a history of injuries. “Even when he was at his best, he was pretty good but he wasn’t a super star or anything.”
Also, is Jonny Gomes really going to be Boston’s starting left fielder? And are the Red Sox overpaying players for shorter-term deals, or out of necessity Find out with Peter Abraham on Toucher & Rich!