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 AM: Rob 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.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.