Having just signed one right-handed bat, the Red Sox reportedly are negotiating for another.
According to a Tweet by former major league GM Jim Bowden -- who now works for ESPN - the Sox are in contract talks with free agent catcherfirst baseman Mike Napoli, who just completed his second season with the Rangers after spending the first five years of his career with the Angels.
The holdup, reports Bowden, is the length of the contract. The Red Sox apparently are offering three years and Napoli, who turned 31 on Halloween, is looking for a four-year deal. Bowden says the Mariners may be willing to offer a fourth year to Napoli, which could force the Red Sox' hand.
Napoli earned 9.4 million last year, so his price tag won't be cheap. Even though his batting average dropped nearly 100 points in 2012 -- from .320 to .227 -- he still hit 24 homers, extending his streak of consecutive seasons with 20 or more homers to five. And while he's only played 19 career games at Fenway Park, he's hit .306 there (19-for-62) with 8 homers, 22 RBI, a .397 on-base percentage, a .710 slugging percentage and a 1.107 OPS.
The Bruins took care of their biggest priority today as they reached agreement with Brad Marchand on an eight-year contract extension, according to several reports.
PROFILE: Joe Haggerty's preseason look at Brad Marchand
Elliotte Friedman reports Marchand has agreed to an eight year, $49 million extension ($6.125 million per season) that will effectively allow him to finish his career in Boston.
It was felt the Bruins would have been playing with fire if they allowed Marchand -- a 37-goal scorer last year -- to start the season unsigned, especially after he ripped up the World Cup of Hockey competition on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby. Bruins president Cam Neely told CSN a couple of weeks ago that Boston was aiming to get the deal done with Marchand prior to the start of the regular season. In fact, they managed to get it done before the start of even the preseason.
Marchand has consistently said that he wants to finish out his career with the Bruins, who drafted and developed him and with whom he turned into an elite player in the last couple of years. He’s clearly taking a hometown discount to stick with Boston.
This is what Marchand said to CSN on breakup day last April:
“I obviously love being a part of this organization, this city and this team, and I don’t think this team is done having some good runs. I would love to be a part of this organization for the rest of my career, but the reality is when you look around the league that it doesn’t happen for many guys. We’ll deal with it when the time comes.”
Well, the time came and Marchand put his money where his sometimes big mouth usually is. The Bruins agitator easily could have demanded a yearly salary of $7 million-plus in free agency.
Credit to Don Sweeney and Neely for closing the deal with Marchand, and ticking one very important thing off their checklist that will help make the Bruins great again.