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Report: Red Sox want to make Mike Napoli’s deal for one year

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio (via twitter [1]), the Red Sox [2] want to reduce the three-year, $39 million deal with Mike Napoli [3] to a one-year guarantee based on concerns about the catcher’s hip. Bowden tweeted: Red Sox would like to shorten their deal with Napoli to one-year to make sure the hip will be ok for 2 or 3 seasons without a lot of DL time

Napoli and the team agreed to the deal on Dec. 3. One week later, he underwent a physical in Boston that revealed concerns about his health.

The Sox, according to GM Ben Cherington on the WEEI Red Sox Hot Stove Show [4] on Thursday, continue to talk with Napoli, which suggests that the team is “hopeful of being able to do something but we just don’€™t know yet. We’€™ll see how it plays out.’€

Manager John Farrell [5] reiterated that position on Friday.

“This isn’t like it’s a major surprise at this point. I have the utmost confidence that this question will be answered in due time. We’re working through it,” said Farrell. “We’re all well aware of the certain situation that’s still being worked through. I know Ben is doing whatever he possibly can so that when we report to spring training that we’ve got that position answered.”

In the past, the Sox have protected themselves from medical concerns with language that either permitted a year or years to be voided at the end of the contract should a specific injury impair a player’s availability (in the case of J.D. Drew) or that would allow the club to tack on an additional year at the major league minimum in case of a certain threshold of missed time (in the case of John Lackey [6]).

The Sox do continue to explore other first base possibilities both in free agency and trade.