Red Sox Meet With Mike Napoli

Jeff Gross

The Red Sox met with Mike Napoli over the weekend, putting the pressure on the free agent to come to Boston.

According to Peter Abraham, the Red Sox appear to be turning up the heat on free agent Mike Napoli, bringing in the catcher/first baseman for a meeting with three of the organization's biggest names: manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington, and owner John Henry.

The meeting comes on the heels of Jim Bowden quietly revealing on Thanksgiving that the Red Sox and Mariners had been talking with Napoli, with the major speed bump being a fourth year. Of course, Sox fans are primarily concerning themselves with the lengths of contracts this year rather than dollar figures. There's plenty of money open right now, but ideally the Sox would be able to avoid tying themselves down too far beyond 2014, so that they can take full advantage of the coming youth surge.

For now, at least, it doesn't seem as though the Red Sox have caved on that angle. After all, if Napoli is waiting on three teams (Seattle, Texas, and Boston), none of which had been willing to give him a fourth year, this sort of team meeting wouldn't seem necessary if the Sox were ready to offer him what he wanted. In that scenario, they could simply call up the agent and probably ask him if Tuesday is good for a press conference.

Still, Napoli has now met with both the Mariners and the Red Sox, and is headed to Arlington to check in with the Rangers, possibly for the last time. If the Sox made a formal offer -- and it seems likely that they have since Bowden is comfortable saying they didn't go to four years -- then this could be the final round checking in with everyone before making a choice. If Seattle doesn't go to four years, then Boston seems the obvious choice given Fenway vs. Safeco and the fact that Texas wasn't interested in 1/13.

Alternatively, Napoli could sit on his haunches and wait out the offseason as long as possible in the hopes that someone gets desperate. That's a pretty big risk to take for a 31-year-old, however, especially if the deals on the table are at all reasonable.

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