The wait is finally over; Mike Napoli is officially ours, but for a lot less, in terms of both time and money. The original deal was three years worth thirty-nine million dollars. The new deal is one year worth five million plus incentives to thirteen million. The problem, as I and probably anyone else suspected, was physical. During a physical, our doctors noticed something with his hip that caused some concern. Though a catcher by trade, he’ll be our first baseman. That’s certainly a better fit for his hip anyway. So now we can stop wondering and get on with the rest of our baseball lives.
As usual, we avoided arbitration with quite a few guys. Salty signed a one-year contract with no guarantee. Ellsbury signed a one-year deal worth nine million dollars, which is an extra-criminal steal. He’ll be a free agent after this year, so this is probably the last time in his career that he’ll earn less than ten million dollars per year, and even that’s low. Breslow signed a multi-year deal.
Vicente Padilla has signed a one-year deal to pitch in Japan. Lastly, Terry Francona, who now manages the Cleveland Indians, will have a memoir coming out tomorrow about his time with us. It’s called “Francona: The Red Sox Years” and was co-written with Dan Shaughnessy. An excerpt published earlier painted a less-than-rosy picture of Francona’s relationship with the brass, which he now says is a misrepresentation of his book overall. Oh, the drama.
In other news, our Super Bowl drought continues. The Pats beat the Texans in the division playoff, 41-28, but lost the conference championship to the Ravens last night, 28-13. So that’s it. Our season is over. Yet another example of the fact that our offense, outstanding as it is, was a bad match against Baltimore’s defense, and our defense a bad match against Baltimore’s offense. It was agonizing to watch and painful to recall. On the bright side, the Bruins have come to the rescue! We beat the Rangers, 3-1, on Saturday in the first game of the shortened season.