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The Guru
Contributing Writer

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Despite interests on both sides, Mike Napoli's return to Boston is far from a sure thing. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Red Sox have made a multiyear contract offer to the slugging first baseman. However, Napoli is planning to test the market and "shop around" before making a decision.

It's unclear what the Red Sox actually offered Napoli.

The Red Sox made Napoli a $14.1 million qualifying offer earlier this week. It's expected that he'll reject it before Monday's deadline. If Napoli signs with another team, the Red Sox will receive a supplemental first-round pick.

The hot stove rumors have Napoli linked to his former team, the Rangers, along with the Orioles, Mariners, Indians and yes, the New York Yankees.

Napoli, 32, signed a one-year contract worth $5 million with the Sox last offseason after a three-year, $39 million deal fell through over concerns about a degenerative hip condition. He wound up earning $13 million in 2013 thanks to incentives.

Reports indicate that Napoli's hip is fine and his 2013 season seems to bear that out. Napoli played 139 games, hit .259, had 23 home runs and set career-highs in plate appearances (578), doubles (38)and RBI (92).

If Boston does not resign Napoli, the Sox have discussed going with Mike Carp at first. According to Evan Drellich of MassLive.com the Red Sox have had internal discussions about the possibility of a Mike Carp/Ryan Lavarnway platoon at first base.

Carp hit hit.296 with nine homers and 18 doubles in 243 plate appearances off the bench last season. Lavarnway, primarily a catcher, spent most of the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Other free-agent, first base options for the Red Sox include Corey Hart, Mark Reynolds and former Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis.


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The Guru 11/08/2013 03:42:00 PM Edit
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