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.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.