Red Sox 'had more dialogue' with Napoli

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Red Sox 'had more dialogue' with Napoli

BOSTON On Wednesday, 16 days after reports of a three-year, 39 million deal, there was no news on the Mike Napoli front, as both the Red Sox and Napolis agent remain mum on the topic.Theres really nothing to comment on, said general manager Ben Cherington Wednesday afternoon. As with any free agent, until its done, its not done. We continue to work on different ways to improve the team.Ill comment on it as soon as I can, but I cant right now. Weve had some more dialogue. I wouldnt classify it as one way or the other. Well see what happens. Were trying to improve the team and hopefully we can do that.Napolis agent did not respond to requests for comment.Asked about a report by SI.coms Will Carroll that the Sox wanted to reduce the number of years of the deal to protect themselves, Cherington could not clarify.I havent seen that, Cherington said. Im not going to comment on discussions were having, other than to say were still talking. Were still working through some issues and will continue to do so.Cherington did say, however, the Sox continue to work on other fronts, in case they are not able to work things out with Napoli.Sure, weve got to keep active, he said. Until something is done, its not done. Even then we cant be blind trying to improve the team in other ways. Were still working on a number of fronts so hopefully we can add to the team. That will continue through January and until spring training.Were working on a number of fronts, not just first base but other areas on the team. Cant give you a time line on whether this or that will happen or if itll happen.First base is the area as we go back to the beginning of the offseason we clearly identified as a need. We havent been able to address that yet. Still working on it, still working for ways to improve the team across the scope of the roster well see what opportunities come our way. Theres usually a little bit of a lull Christmas and thereafter. Things pick up in January.
-- The Sox have not officially announced the addition of shortstop Stephen Drew yet. He has not yet had a physical, but Cherington expects that to happen soon.
With the addition of Drew, it appears Jose Iglesias could be starting the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.At this point in his career he should be playing every day, Cherington said of Iglesias.
-- Cherington said the Sox remain committed to having Jacoby Ellsbury as their starting center fielder in 2013.-- While the Sox have had no discussions with outfielder Cody Ross recently, Cherington said they remain open to talks.
We have not closed the door by any means, Cherington said. I have not had a conversation recently with him. But no we have not closed the door.
-- The addition of Dempster gives the Sox a starting rotation of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, and Felix Doubront.We have a number of guys that are proven winners at the major league level Lester, Buchholz, Dempster, Lackey, Doubront, who had a really promising first full season, Cherington said. And then other guys on the team who are capable of pitching in that role Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves has done it some. So at the major league level I also think our depth underneath that is improved compared to where we were a year ago, guys who are getting towards the top of the system and could be options at some point during the 2013 season.So I think were in solid shape but were always open-minded about ways to improve. Ive said before, Ill say it again, I think were excited to have Ryan Demspter here. The performance of the other guys that were already here is going to have a bigger impact on our overall rotation performance than any one player we were going to add. We think Dempsters a really good fit for a lot of different reasons.
-- To make room on the 40-man roster for right-hander Ryan Dempster, Pedro Beato was designated for assignment. After being acquired from the Mets in August, Beato made four relief appearances for the Sox in 2012, going 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA. He also made seven appearances, including three in the postseason, for Pawtucket.

Freeney, who expressed interest in joining Pats, taking physical for Bengals

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Freeney, who expressed interest in joining Pats, taking physical for Bengals

Dwight Freeney, who expressed a modicum of interest last week in joining the Patriots, is being checked out on Wednesday by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 36-year-old pass rusher, who had an eight-sack season with the Cardinals last year, is in Cincy for a physical, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter

The Patriots kicked the tires on Freeney back in 2013 before Freeney spent two seasons with the Chargers. He was with Arizona for just one season and has expressed that his first choice is to return to the Cardinals. 

Felger: Bottom's always up with Bruins

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Felger: Bottom's always up with Bruins

Peter Chiarelli may be long gone from Causeway Street, but his spirit lives on. 

If someone can explain to me the Bruins' fascination with bottom-of-the-roster veterans with average talent, then I'd love to hear it. I used to think it was the problem of Chiarelli, the B's former general manager. But now I have to wonder if it's just in the water down there. And current GM Don Sweeney is chugging it.

I have no other explanation for the team's decision to sign defenseman Kevan Miller to a four-year (four!) extension worth $10 million yesterday. Miller is a nice role piece. But how that translates to four guaranteed years when he will turn 29 early next season and the Bruins have massive holes throughout their roster is beyond me. 

What's more, the B's already have nearly the identical player in Adam McQuaid, who is roughly the same age, same size, same shot (right), same injury history (poor) and plays the same role (bottom pairing, right side). McQuaid is a little less skilled than Miller, so of course, using Bruins logic, he makes a little more ($2.75 million). But McQuaid also got four years when he re-signed prior to last season.

Certainly, contracts worth $2-3 million annually aren't going to ruin your cap in a vacuum. But start adding them up you see how the Bruins got into trouble in the first place. Combine McQuaid and Miller's hits and you have $5.25 million of valuable space chewed up against the cap. Basically, that's the price of a solid, top-4 defenseman, which the Bruins need ten times more than a depth piece.

Scary. The Bruins currently don't have a No. 1 or a No. 2 defensemen. (Sorry, Bruins writers, Zdeno Chara belongs on a second pairing right now.) Yet they have decided to lock themselves up with a pair of No. 6 guys who basically duplicate each other. Again, why do the B's continue to overpay the bottom of the depth chart when the top is so lousy?

It's one thing for Chiarelli to overcommit to the likes of Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, Dan Paille, Greg Campbell, Dennis Seidenberg, etc. Those guys at least helped you win a Cup and get to another final. From an emotional standpoint, you can explain those mistakes. But Miller? He's been a part of one of the worst defense corps in the league the last few years. He's been on a team that has failed to make the playoffs two consecutive seasons. How do you fall in love with that guy?

Please don't tell me that Miller would have gotten that contract on the open market. I mean, it's true; he probably would have. But what does that matter? Does that mean it's a good deal? Just because Colorado was willing to pay Carl Soderberg just under $5 million a season, does that mean the B's should have paid the middling centerman that money last year? Of course not. Use your head. Just because someone else gets stupid doesn't mean you have to.

You shudder to think what's coming next. Loui Eriksson is still out there as a pending free agent. Ditto for Torey Krug. On a good team, the former is a third liner and the latter is another third-pairing guy. Neither have been good enough to lift the B's above the playoff line the last two years despite playing prominent roles. Both are about to get overpaid on the market . . . unless the B's step in first and insist on being the team that gets stupid and overcommits first.

Given what we've seen with Miller, how can anyone be confident that the B's will be smart enough to pass? My confidence level on this is somewhere around 0.0.

Which is exactly how much cap space the B's will have left with this approach.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN. 

Bill "Spaceman" Lee is running for governor in Vermont

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Bill "Spaceman" Lee is running for governor in Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A former Major League Baseball player is running for governor in Vermont as a member of the Liberty Union party, which bills itself as nonviolent and socialist.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee tells WCAX-TV voters will "need umbrellas" if he's elected, because "it's going to be raining dollars," referring to money trickling down from the wealthy.

Lee pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1969 to 1978. He was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2008.

Lee says he's a "pragmatic, conservative, forward thinker." He supports legalizing marijuana, a single-payer health care system and paid family leave.