Report: Red Sox want to reduce Mike Napoli’s contract to one year

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Mike Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox over a month ago, but the two sides are currently discussing an amended contract after an issue with his health (believed to be one of his hips) was revealed during his pre-signing physical. We now have some details on what the Red Sox have in mind.

In other words, Napoli would only get one guaranteed year. We have previously heard that the two sides were working through “hip language” in the contract, so it’s possible that the Red Sox could include a vesting option if he reaches a certain number of plate appearances or doesn’t land on the disabled list because of the hip. But it’s not clear whether that has been offered.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn’t get into any specifics on the negotiations when asked tonight, but was optimistic that a resolution will come “hopefully soon.” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported this morning that the Red Sox have inquired about the Nationals’ Michael Morse as a potential fallback if a deal with Napoli can’t be reached.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

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The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.