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What we know about the Mike Napoli situation

Posted By Rob Bradford On December 12, 2012 @ 9:12 am In General | 20 Comments

The Red Sox [1] could very well announce the signing of Mike Napoli [2] at any moment. But at this moment, there has been no such announcement.

After flying through two scheduled press conferences, coupled with whispers of injury issues heading into the offseason, there are now rumblings regarding a glitch when it came to Napoli passing his Monday physical. The Red Sox aren’t talking, and neither is Napoli’s agent, Brian Grieper.

This is what we do know:

- There were whispers that Napoli’s leg issues (quad, ankle) were more serious than initially thought. When doing due diligence on Napoli, the physical concerns were certainly something on the Red Sox’ radar. But even though questions can be asked and answered, the team understood that true determinations wouldn’t be made until its medical staff had the patient in front of them.

- The initial plan was for Napoli to partake in an introductory press conference last Friday, but sources told WEEI.com’s Alex Speier that the 31-year-old’s trip to Boston was postponed until this week due to the player being under the weather. With the physical slated for Monday morning, a presser was then locked in for late morning on Tuesday. That time has obviously come and gone.

- Some surmised that the delay might be due to roster maneuvering, with the 40-man standing at 39 with the team having to add Napoli, Shane Victorino [3] (whose press conference is slated for Thursday after a Wednesday physical) and Koji Uehara. But as one general manager points out, introductory press conferences are almost never postponed due to roster designation — particularly given that the team has a vacancy on its 40-man.

- There certainly could be an issue with the medicals, and Napoli could still get his press conference. The delay might be due to the team working out contract language that protects itself against any physical concerns, such as was the case in the J.D. Drew and John Lackey [4] contracts.

- More than one free agent is keeping an eye on this situation, with numerous contingency plans seemingly at the ready. An industry source told WEEI.com Tuesday night that the Red Sox continue to stay in touch with the representatives for Nick Swisher [5], and Adam LaRoche [6] is still on the market as well. If the Napoli fell through and the Sox went down the path of Swisher or LaRoche, it might open the door to a return for Cody Ross [7], whose right-handed bat wouldn’t offer the kind of duplication it might if Napoli was in the batting order. Ross is drawing significant interest from other teams, but he has also shown a strong affection for Boston.

Stay tuned …


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URLs in this post:

[1] Red Sox: http://media.weei.com/baseball/boston-red-sox.htm

[2] Mike Napoli: http://media.weei.com/baseball/mike-napoli.htm

[3] Shane Victorino: http://media.weei.com/baseball/shane-victorino.htm

[4] John Lackey: http://media.weei.com/baseball/john-lackey.htm

[5] Nick Swisher: http://media.weei.com/baseball/nick-swisher.htm

[6] Adam LaRoche: http://media.weei.com/baseball/adam-laroche.htm

[7] Cody Ross: http://media.weei.com/baseball/cody-ross.htm

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