As December brings chilly temperatures to Boston, have they given the Red Sox a case of cold feet?
Free agent slugger Mike Napoli still has not been introduced as the newest Red Sox player, giving life to rumors that the Sox brass had some question as to the wisdom of giving a 31 year old player who has never played a full season in the Major Leagues a three year 39 million dollar contact.
Napoli has been on the disabled list five times in his career.
Last season, he missed 36 games due to a strained left quadriceps muscle. In 2011, he missed 19 games with a strained left oblique muscle. In 2008, he went on the DL with shoulder inflammation and underwent surgery after the season. In 2007, he missed 51 games with a sprained left ankle and strained right hamstring, injuries that occurred within 10 days of each other.And that doesn’t even include the severe ankle injury that he suffered in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
So it could be possible that the contract could be nullified or that the sides are negotiating language that would offer the Red Sox contractual protection in case a preexisting condition should impact Napoli’s ability to perform.
Originally, Napoli was to be in Boston last Wednesday to undergo his physical, but instead came in this week, and according to a team official was still being examined Tuesday. Other club officials had suggested the possibility of a press conference on Tuesday, but there was no announcement, and Tuesday night Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal raised the question of whether the deal was in jeopardy, hinting that the physical might be the reason.
The report could have easily been shot down by the Red Sox, Napoli’s agent Brian Grieper or Napoli himself. But neither general manager Ben Cherington nor media relations director Pam Kenn have responded to messages seeking clarification. The same is true of Grieper and Napoli.
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