On the same day Mike Napoli’s agent told ESPNBoston.com there was “nothing new to report” on the status of his client’s ongoing negotiations with the Red Sox, it’s becoming clearer that there are no clear, viable fallback free-agent options at first base for the team should the talks with Napoli break down.
Lance Berkman signed with the Rangers over the weekend and Monday we learned that Adam LaRoche reached a two-year deal with the Nationals. What’s left on the free-agent market at first base? The pickings are slim. Aubrey Huff? Casey Kotchman? Lyle Overbay? Carlos Lee? Stop us when we’ve reached a name that excites you.
One option that ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes suggested was a potential trade for the Nationals’ Michael Morse. The outfielder/first baseman could be expendable now that Washington is bringing back LaRoche.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Morse, who turns 31 in March, hit 31 home runs and batted .303 in 2011, when he last played regularly. He hit 18 home runs in 406 at-bats while batting .291 last season. Unlike a free agent, however, Morse would obviously cost the Sox prospects.
All of that brings us back to this: It remains in the best interest for both Napoli and the Red Sox to come to an agreement, perhaps now more than ever. It’s been 36 days since news broke of the Sox and Napoli reaching a three-year, $39 million deal, one that has yet to be finalized due concerns about the player’s hip.