Mike Napoli originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox, but it was adjusted to a one-year contract after he was diagnosed with a hip condition called avascular necrosis. Doctors caught it early and Napoli hasn’t displayed any symptoms, but the Red Sox are still being extra careful.
According to Alex Speier of WEEI.com, Napoli was sent for an MRI this week which showed that his hip condition hasn’t worsened. He’ll now be permitted to increase activity, including taking grounders from his knees and treadmill work. Napoli concedes that he’s “not a full go,” but he’s not feeling any pain and expects to be ready for Opening Day.
Napoli, 31, batted .227/.343/.469 with 24 home runs, 56 RBI and an .812 OPS in 108 games with the Rangers last season. If all goes according to plan, he’ll function as Boston’s starting first baseman in 2013.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.