The Red Sox are closing in on a deal with catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, according to multiple reports. While pen might not have been put to paper on a deal just yet, Napoli is expected to ink a three-year contract today.
Napoli has caught for much of his career, but he’s played more first base in recent years. It’s expected that he’ll primarily play first for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox were viewed as one of the top teams interested in LaRoche, and their deal for Napoli would cross one team off the list of potential landing spots for LaRoche, who is coming off a season in which he won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.
LaRoche won’t be bound for St. Petersburg, Fla., either. The Rays have agreed to a deal with free agent first baseman James Loney. Scratch one more team with an opening at first base off the list.
There are other teams interested in LaRoche, namely the Rangers, but the recent developments out of the two American League East camps give the Nationals more leverage in their negotiations with the 33-year-old first baseman.
LaRoche has been looking for a three-year contract, while the Nationals have not been willing to offer a deal with more than two guaranteed years.
If LaRoche is unable to get a three-year offer from another team, it seems likely he’ll come back to the Nationals and show interest in their standing offer. LaRoche has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Nationals, and his family has gotten settled in the nation’s capital.
He’ll look for that three-year contract, but the Nationals’ offer might look like a better option now than it did yesterday.
This might go without saying at this point, but should the Nationals re-sign LaRoche, Michael Morse is almost certain to be dealt.