ORLANDO, Fla. — The Red Sox are in the early stages of negotiations with Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Major league sources said the initial hold-up is the length of the contract. The Red Sox would prefer two years and Saltalamacchia three or four.
It is unclear whether the Red Sox have actually offered Saltalamacchia two years or outlined that as a proposal. Regardless, the Sox see Saltalamacchia — or another catcher such as Carlos Ruiz — handling the job until Christian Vazquez or Blake Swihart is ready.
A little more hot stove chatter:
• Mike Napoli remains in Boston, now two weeks after the World Series. He was at the Celtics game tonight and reiterated his desire to stay with the Red Sox.
• The New York Daily News reported that the Cubs are interested in Jacoby Ellsbury. Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is now president of baseball operations for the Cubs. He drafted Ellsbury in 2005.
• The Yankees also could have an interest in Stephen Drew given the age and injury concerns with Derek Jeter.
• Sox owner John Henry expressed caution about long-term contracts.
“We had a long history of overpaying and going too long in contracts. We had the resources to be able to do it, just as the Yankees had the resources to be able to do that,” he said. “You can make mistakes. You can sign someone to a five-year deal that should have been a four-year deal. You can pay him a few million extra a year in order to put together the exact team that can contend.
“We moved away from that for the first time I think in 2012. You saw that and you’ll see that now continue.”
The Red Sox signed Pedroia to an eight-year, $110 million extension in July and are expected to pursue a long-term deal with lefthander Jon Lester.
Henry said tying up too many players to multi-year deal is too restrictive and inhibits roster flexibility.
“You have to have the depth,” he said. “By the time you get to August, you have to have depth. … You really need more than 25 players to win a championship.”