Mike Napoli's Hip Condition Stalling Official Contract With Red Sox

Three weeks ago Mike Napoli agreed to become a member of the Boston Red Sox.  However, that agreement has never been finalized.  As the free agent market continues to be depleted, Napoli and the Red Sox still have not signed a contract, and the club is remaining quiet on the reason.  Of course, that has not eliminated speculation, and it appears the reason Boston and Napoli have not agreed to a deal yet is because of concerns with his hip.

According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, concerns were raised about a hip condition found during Napoli's routine physical.  The team wants to protect itself in case Napoli become debilitated, but Napoli wants guaranteed money.  Edes says multiple sources are now saying the deal could be in jeopardy.  Of course, this could be more problematic for the Red Sox than Napoli since Boston has sat back while other free agent catchers have signed elsewhere (see A.J. Piersynski).


Napoli battled through a quad injury this past season, but there had been no concerns about his hip until he began testing the free agent market.  Perhaps the Texas Rangers knew about the hip and that is why they stayed away from making him a qualifying offer.  The Mariners apparently backed off of a deal because of the hip.  Now, as the Red Sox try to write in protection language into Napoli's contract, there is a real chance that a deal does not get done.  The team has been burned before by injured players.  J.D. Drew and Carl Crawford come to mind quickly.  It make sense for them to want to protect themselves.

Napoli had a career year in 2011, hitting .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs.  However, last season he regressed back toward his normal career numbers.  He hit .227/.343/.469 with 24 home runs in 2012.  Of course, the quad injury limited him for a while as well, but Napoli is a career .259 hitter, so 2011 seems like an anomaly.

If Boston does not work out a deal with Napoli, he will have to find a team willing to take on the risk of his hip condition.  That will likely mean taking far less guaranteed money than the $39 million he was to originally receive from Boston.

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4 Responses to Mike Napoli's Hip Condition Stalling Official Contract With Red Sox

  1. Bad move. Dont sign him. Move on Ben.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Even if there is language in the contract that protects the Red Sox, they'd be better off with a younger player.

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  2. The Red Sox want Napoli to mostly play first base. As soon as they discovered the hip problem they should have cut bait and signed Nick Swisher!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swisher would certainly offer more stability and durability.

      Delete

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