Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington had nothing new to report Wednesday on the status of Mike Napoli's contract with the Red Sox, but did refer a few times to the need for a first baseman.
"There's really nothing to comment on," Cherington said at Ryan Dempster's introductory news conference. "As with any free agent, until it's done, it's not done. We continue to work on different ways to improve the team. I'll comment on it as soon as I can, but I can't right now. We've had some more dialogue. I wouldn't classify it as one way or the other. We'll see what happens. We're trying to improve the team and hopefully we can do that."
The Red Sox and Napoli agreed to a deal in early December, but have become hung up in the finalization. A medical issue, possibly in the lower body, is believed to be an impediment.
Cherington would not address the accuracy of a report by Will Carroll of SI.com that the team was trying to reduce the three-year, $39 million contract to two years.
"I haven't seen that. I'm not gonna comment on discussions we're having other than to say we're still talking. We're still working through some issues and will continue to do so," Cherington said.
He did indicate the team is still trying to work on acquisitions and perhaps even a first baseman. Adam LaRoche and Nick Swisher remain on the free-agent bump.
"Sure, we've got to keep active. Until something is done, it's not done," Cherington said. "Even then we can't be blind to trying to improve the team in other ways. We're still working on a number of fronts so hopefully we can add to the team. That will continue through January and until spring training.
"First base is the area going back to the beginning of the offseason, we clearly identified as a need. We haven't been able to address that yet. Still working on it, still working for ways to improve the team across the scope of the roster we'll see what opportunities come our way"
Cherington also said about the status of his starting rotation with Dempster in the fold, "I think you always keep an open mind to it. We feel pretty good about where we are and guys we have projected there to start the season and depth beyond that with younger guys and other options. Things can come up in January after the holidays. We'll be active I'm sure if there are ways to improve even more."