Sep 27, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Mike Napoli (right) at bat against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tick, Tick, Tick: Noose Closing on a First Base Deal

Another domino has fallen in the race for first base and, depending how you look at it, the Red Sox are not the winners. Nick Swisher recently signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Cleveland indians. It was expected that with Josh Hamilton off the board Swisher would have more leverage in both years and dollars. The Indians punched his ticket, overpaying Swisher until he’s 36.

The Red Sox continue to stick to the script by negotiating contracts in alignment with skills and value. They have negotiated hard and have paid attention to medical reports and physicals. This leads to many “the one that  got away” stories. Do Sox fans need to be reminded of the ones that didn’t get away recently? Look at the Dodgers lineup and feel better.

Nonetheless, Boston continues to be stuck in the same gear when attempting to secure the services of a first baseman: neutral. It’s not for lack of trying. Over three weeks ago they struck a deal with Mike Napoli – pending a physical. Therein lies the rub. Napoli and Boston are stuck on a reported hip issue found during his physical. As the clock ticks toward midnight and Boston struggles to fill their dance card the deal with Napoli takes on additional importance.

Hamilton and Swisher are gone. The Nationals and Adam LaRoche are inching closer to a deal. If Laroche signs with the Nats a weak field indeed is all that remains. Unless Boston wants to roll the dice with Mauro Gomez, pressure will mount to put the deal to bed and Napoli will have more leverage. Apparently ’tis the season…for squeezing.

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
- Under Pressure, Queen 

Tags: Boston Red Sox

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