UPDATE: Mike Napoli, Red Sox reach a one-year deal — for only $5 million!


UPDATE: Yes, there are incentives, and if reached, they can boost the deal up to $13 million or so.  Still, the fact that it’s a $5 million base does suggest that the Red Sox were truly spooked by Napoli’s health.

10:20 AM: Wow!  Heyman reports that the Napoli deal is for only $5 million!  That’s is crazy-low given where the sides were at previously.  One has to assume the deal is laden with incentives. Or that Napoli basically doesn’t have a functioning hip.

9:24 AMRob Bradford of WEEI reports that the Red Sox and Mike Napoli have reached a one-year deal.

He has no details, but reports last night suggested that it would be for less than the $13 million AAV that his initial three-year deal, tentatively agreed-to by the Sox before things went sideways, would have given him.

Definitely a downer for Napoli, who probably wanted to end his wandering of the past couple of years. But the fact that he didn’t simply tell the Sox to pound sand and go sign a deal with another team suggests that his hip problem is severe enough that he didn’t think he had the leverage to do so.

For now: he’s the Red Sox’ first baseman.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

Bob Levey/Getty Images

No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.