A hip problem is keeping the Boston Red Sox from finalizing a deal on a three-year, $39 million contract with Mike Napoli, according to a report.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Fox Sports that the team is “working through some issues” with Napoli. An agreement was reached 18 days ago, but the Red Sox could be trying to rework the deal in light of the news about the hip, which likely was discovered during a physical.
The hip was enough of a concern that Seattle decided not to pursue Napoli during the offseason, MLB Network Radio reported. The Texas Rangers also might have backed off re-signing the catcher-first baseman for a similar reason.
Napoli, 31, hit .227 with 24 homers and 52 RBI for the Rangers in 108 games last season.
J.D. Drew defends brother
Not only does J.D. Drew reject the suggestion that his youngest brother is injury prone, he offers proof to the contrary.
Roll the tape from July 19, 2011.
That was the night Stephen Drew rounded third against the Milwaukee Brewers in an attempt to score on a Chris Young single. As he slid into home, his right ankle twisted grotesquely beneath him, resulting in a fracture that cost him the rest of that season and half of 2012.
Since then, Drew’s numbers have been severely curtailed. But it didn’t stop the Red Sox from reaching an agreement on a one-year, $9.5 million contract in the hope that, a year and a half after surgery, Drew can regain the form that made him one of the most underrated all-around shortstops in the game.
His older brother, meanwhile, knows a thing or two about wearing “Drew” on the back of a Red Sox uniform. He spent five years in Boston as both a playoff hero and lightning rod, and he knows his brother is up to the challenge of Boston.
“He’ll have to make some adjustments, carrying the Drew name in there,” J.D. joked in a phone interview with the Boston Herald.
But J.D. doesn’t find anything funny about the characterization of Stephen as injury-prone, specifically comments by Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick, who last June lambasted Drew in a radio interview for taking too long to return.
“For that owner to come out and do the things they did to him last year was absolutely ridiculous,” J.D. Drew told the Herald. “Now he’s got this thing that he’s injury prone, he can’t stay healthy. What are they talking about? Literally, you want to sit them in front of a TV and say, ‘Watch this and see how long you think it should take to recover.’”
The numbers bear out his point. From 2007 to 2010, Drew averaged 147 games a year as Arizona’s starting shortstop, topping 150 three times.
The Red Sox are hoping he can regain that form and help bridge the gap until either slick-fielding Jose Iglesias proves he’s capable of hitting in the majors or 20-year-old prospect Xander Bogaerts is ready to make the jump from the minor leagues.
“You’re going to see great strides in the way he plays,” J.D. Drew said of Stephen. “He’s finally had a chance to heal.”