Could Mike Morse be Boston's first baseman. August 16, 2011; Washington, D.C., USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Mike Morse (right) gets congratulated by outfielder Jayson Werth (left) after Morse

Napoli Still in Play. Options Dwindling.

This storyline is starting to give me the willies. Today constitutes day 37 since Mike Napoli and the Red Sox tentatively agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal only to have it gummed up presumably due to a physical that revealed an issue with his hip.

The negotiations have dragged on while a number of free agent first baseman have come and gone, most recently the Washington Nationals Adam LaRoche who signed a two-year $24 million guaranteed contract with  $10 million coming in the first year, $12 million in the second and a $2 million mutual buyout option for 2015.

As each domino falls Boston loses more leverage with Napoli, leaving them fewer options. Ben Cherington told’s Ian Browne today, “We’ve had dialogue. It’s one of those situations, out of respect to Mike and the process, [where] I’m not going to get into detail. Whenever we’re talking and there’s dialogue, it means we’re hopeful of being able to do something, but we just don’t know yet. We’ll see how it plays out.”

In the meantime, the Red Sox need to continue to hedge their bets. When the LaRoche deal was in question and it looked like he was going to walk, the Nats tapped outfielder Mike Morse (.291/.321/.470/.791) as the man who would move to first base. Now that LaRoche is back in the fold, Boston should continue to talk with Washinton, now about Morse.

“It’s fair to say as you sort of get deeper into the winter, the free agents start to go off the board,” said Cherington. “You can look at trades and other ways to do things. It remains a focus. We’re still hoping we can do something to improve ourselves in that area before we get to Fort Myers.”

With only Mauro Gomez the only player on the Sox roster able to play first base, the pressure is increasing to get a deal done. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Ben, you’re on the clock.

Here’s why : can’t make a deal with the preacher, oh yeah, yeah
And I can’t make a bargain in heaven, now
- Deal  With The Preacher, Bad Company

Next Red Sox Game View full schedule »
Tuesday, Sep 22 Sep7:05at New York YankeesBuy Tickets

Tags: Boston Red Sox Mike Napoli

  • Michael Macaulay-Birks

    Justin Smoak? He’d cost about the same as Morse…either way, I’m getting the willies too…anytime you hear the words “working”,”out”, “Bobby” and “Abreu” used in the same sentence, you have to be concerned.

    • John Fahrer

      Very doubtful the club envisions Abreu as a full-time first baseman. Probably see him more as Gomes’ platoon partner in LF who could occasionally spot Napoli at first and go in as a defensive replacement in the ninth.

      Smoak might cost less than Napoli since the M’s seem to be logjammed at first and DH. At least he has more than one season of control left.

      Kind of intrigued by Lyle Overbay as a fallback option as well. His career numbers at Fenway are pretty good. Not sure if he’s still a regular at this point however.

  • John Fahrer

    Twelve more days, this wait will tie the JD Drew Delay of 06-07. Still feel Napoli has much more to lose than the Red Sox.