Speaking at Wednesday's press conference to introduce starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington offered no update on Mike Napoli's situation. The team agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with Napoli on Dec. 3, but the deal has yet to be finalized, seemingly due to the player's health.
"Nothing to report," Cherington said when asked about Napoli. "We're still working on a number of fronts, and hopefully we can continue to add to the team, but until there's something real to report, I can't comment on it."
After the press conference, when asked again by reporters, Cherington said, "There's really nothing to comment on. As with any free agent or acquisition, until it's done it's not done. We'll continue to work on different ways to improve the team. I'll certainly comment on it just as soon as I can, but I can't right now.
"We've had some more dialogue. I wouldn't classify it as one way or another. We'll just have to wait to see what happens. We're still trying to improve the team and we're hopeful we can do that in more than one way."
Cherington wouldn't confirm that the Red Sox are in discussions with other first basemen as a backup plan if the Napoli deal falls through, only suggesting that filling the first base position remains a priority.
"First base is the area, as we go back to the beginning of the offseason, that we clearly identified as a need," he said. "We haven't been able to address that yet. We're still working on it. Aside from that we've been able to address some other areas that we wanted to. We're still looking for ways to improve the team across the scope of the roster. We'll see what opportunities come our way. There's usually a little bit of a lull around Christmas and right after and things pick up in January. We'll see where we are then."
The general manager was also asked about a Sports Illustrated report that stated the Red Sox were looking to knock down the years in Napoli's deal to two. Cherington said he hadn't seen that report, only adding, "I'm not going to comment on discussions we're having other to say we're still talking. We're still working through some issues and we'll continue to do so."
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