The Red Sox have gone downright Belichickian in clamping down on information about their deal, or non-deal, with Mike Napoli, but some light may be peeping through the iron curtain.
Ken Rosenthal of foxsports.com -- working off initial reports from the Boston-based Jen Royle -- says the Red Sox have reopened negotiations with free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. That could indicate the Sox are backing away from Napoli, whose three-year, 39 million agreement with the team was put in jeopardy when the Sox became concerned with an issue that arose during his physical. (Numerous reports indicates it's a hip problem.) Or they could be attempting to pressure Napoli into agreeing to a restructured deal.
LaRoche is a more unattractive target than Napoli for two reasons:
1. He's two years older (33 to 31), and
2. Because his old team, the Nationals, made him a qualifying offer, he would cost the Sox a draft pick as compensation. Napoli wasn't given an offer by the Rangers, and thus carries no compensation price tag. In fact, none of the free agents signed this offseason by the Sox required compensation.
But LaRoche is out there and the Red Sox still need a first baseman.
Rosenthal reports LaRoche -- who is seeking a three-year contract; Washington is unwilling to give him that a long a deal -- is seen "more as a possible alternative to Napoli than as a primary target, sources say". But the very fact that they've contacted him could indicate that talks with Napoli are bogged down and the agreement is in jeopardy.