Out of the four premier free agents that the Boston Red Sox have, it has always been assumed that the one who is the most likely to return and has been the most vocal about wanting to return is their first baseman, Mike Napoli.
Napoli made it known toward the end of the season how much he has enjoyed playing in Boston and how he loves being a part of that team. I do wonder knowing now how healthy he turned out to be, if the Red Sox regret not signing him to the original three-year contract.
Now Boston has to deal with their share of other teams being very interested in Napoli. Teams such as the Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners are now being mentioned. You hear a lot of different rumors about these teams that potentially want Napoli’s services, but in terms of hearing anything from Boston, it has been very quiet.
There’s a reason for that lack of noise from the Red Sox. Apparently, rumor has it that Boston is sitting back and waiting to see what the market is going to look like for Napoli before they make their final offer. This is a good idea, but slightly risky. What if a team makes him an offer that completely blows him away? Boston could regret not showing their interest sooner.
It reminds me of when one was in grade school and had a crush on someone. While you were playing it cool and waiting, somebody else out of nowhere would come in and ask them out. A scenario like that probably won’t happen, however, you do see in some free agent signings a team that no one knew was even interested in a player coming in and swooping that player away.
My guess is that won’t happen, though. Both parties appear to very much trust each other and it wouldn’t be surprising if Boston was the team that was the dark horse organization in signing Napoli. Still, Ben Cherington may be wishing he had a crystal ball. If he had known that Napoli would be such a good signing, this would have been one less piece of business that he would have to deal with now. Be careful, Boston. Don’t be that guy left on the sidelines.