Red Sox close to wrapping up Napoli deal

PROVIDENCE — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington thought in December that he had Mike Napoli signed to a contract. This time around he’s going to make sure.

Napoli has agreed to a one-year deal with the Red Sox, major league sources said on Friday. The agreement would pay the first baseman a base salary of $5 million with an additional $8 million possible based on how many days he spends on the active roster.

But the deal is not completely done, Cherington said on Friday night before taping an appearance at La Salle Academy for NESN.


“It’s fair to say we’ve made some progress in the last day or so. Hopefully I’ll have something more formal to say soon,” he said.

Napoli, 31, originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with the Sox in December. That agreement vanished when a physical revealed damage in one of Napoli’s hips.

The Red Sox stayed with Napoli, believing that his righthanded pull swing was a good fit for their lineup and Fenway Park. The result was Napoli taking a salary well below the $9.4 million he made with Texas last season.

“We’ve kept talking. I think when there’s dialogue there always a chance to get somewhere. It means that there’s an interest on both sides and when there’s an interest on both sides, there’s a chance,” Cherington said. “Hopefully we’re getting somewhere.”

Cherington indicated there was no rancor between the Sox and Napoli during the weeks of negotiations. The relationship, he said, was a good one.

“I think there will be a time to talk about that more,” Cherington said. “We tried and did have a consistent dialogue throughout the winter. There were a lot of conversations.”

Cherington said Napoli wouldn’t need to undergo another physical. But there were some issues remaining to iron out with agent Brian Grieper.


“There’s still some things we’ve just got to work through,” he said.

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