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Sox make qualifying offers to Drew, Ellsbury, and Napoli

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  November 4, 2013 03:19 PM

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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell just met with reporters for 34 minutes. A few of the highlights:

• Qualifying offers of one year and $14.1 million have been extended to three free agents: shortstop Stephen Drew, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and first baseman Mike Napoli. The players have a week to decide whether to take them.

If Drew, Ellsbury or Napoli sign with another team, the Red Sox will receive a supplemental first round draft pick. The signing team would forfeit their first-round pick.

Ellsbury and Napoli are almost sure to turn it down, knowing that they can land multi-year deals with the Red Sox or another team. But Drew will have to at least consider it. The qualifying offer represents a $4.6 million raise from this season and would allow Drew to stay in a comfortable situation.

Drew also could find his value in the open market lowered because of the draft pick now attached to his price.

Cherington said the offers were not made solely to ensure compensation. The Sox are comfortable with Drew returning.

Cherington spoke to all of the free agents before they scattered for home and acknowledged that Ellsbury will be difficult to retain. There is speculation that he could receive a deal well beyond $100 million.

“Jacoby is a terrific player as everyone knows,” he said. “Of course we know we’re a better team when he’s on the field then when he’s not. That’s about all there is to say at this point.”

The Red Sox agreed on a three-year, $39 million deal with Napoli last winter. That was knocked down to a one-year deal after Napoli was found to have a degenerative disease in his hips. But the condition was controlled medically and Napoli had a productive season.

“Mike Napoli played a lot this year and was a huge part of our team. We’re making a qualifying offer to him. We obviously have interest in him returning and certainly comfortable with a one-year deal worth $14.1 million,” Cherington said. “He’s one of the free agents we’d certainly have interest in having back.”

• The Red Sox, as expected, did not extend a qualifying offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who made $4.5 million last season. But Cherington said they are interested in bringing all of their free agents back.

When asked specifically about Saltalamacchia, Cherington spoke generally.

“With all of our free agents there’s interest in every one of them,” he said. “I also think its unlikely that every one of them will be back just because the nature of the game, it’s difficult to do that.

“There’s all sorts of permutations and combinations that could work and we’re going to have to, again, keep a conversation going with all of them.”

• The Red Sox, Cherington said, expect their entire coaching staff to return. They have not been asked by other teams for permission to speak with any of the coaches. Torey Lovullo was considered a potential candidate in Detroit before Brad Ausmus was hired.

• President Obama called Farrell this afternoon to congratulate him on the World Series. The Red Sox open next season in Baltimore and could visit the White House around that time.

According to the White House, Obama commented on Farrell winning the World Series in his first season and the performance of Koji Uehara in the postseason.

He also asked Farrell to extend his congratulations to Series Most Valuable Player David Ortiz.

• Cherington said it would take a "compelling" reason to move Shane Victorino out of right field.

• Farrell suggested that RHP Brandon Workman would start next season in the bullpen.

• Cherington said the Red Sox would like to add to their bullpen depth. He and Farrell both suggested that maintaining their starter depth was a priority.

See the Globe or BostonGlobe.com on Tuesday for more on the Red Sox.

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