Speaking after the press conference to announce the signing of outfielder Shane Victorino, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn't elaborate the delay in announcing was expected to be Mike Napoli's three-year, $39 million deal.
Napoli was scheduled to be introduced at a press conference Tuesday, but an issue following the infielder's Monday physical has delayed the process.
"I understand the question, it's just a situation where we're working through some things in regards to another player, and until — as has been our policy — until every sort of aspect of the agreement's resolved, where not in a position to comment on it publicly," Cherington said. "We're still at a point where we're still working through some issues and that's all I can say at this point."
While there has been assumption that the delay has been due to a medical issue involving Napoli, Cherington wouldn't elaborate on the source of the issue.
"I don't want to comment specifically," he said. "Every time we sign a free agent, any sort of guaranteed deal, there's a number of things you have to come to agreement on and get resolved. Some of its contract language and some of its terms and money, and etc. And then there's a physical. Until all these things are done and there's all of them agreed upon, just can't comment on it.
"All I can say, we continue to talk and there's that consistent dialogue and we'll continue to do that, work to resolve the issues that are outstanding. I can't classify it or anything like that."
When asked if the issue took the Red Sox by surprise, Cherington said, "Again with any free agent process, there' a number of steps you have to take. Some are negotiating on terms, some are language and contracts and there's a physical and there's different issues that all have to come together. At different times, something can come up during any one of those periods that can either slow things down or not. Until you get through all of it, there's no deal, there's nothing to announce, so we're not through all of it yet."
Cherington also acknowledged that the team is keeping in touch with a variety of free agents, although he didn't suggest the Napoli situation was leading the Red Sox down an unanticipated path.
"We're still certainly looking to improve the team, and we're still working hard on a number of fronts to be able to do that," he said. "Until some thing's done, we got to continue to work to improve the team, in different ways, different parts of the roster."
For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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