Spring training starts in less than a month, and the only first baseman on the Red Sox 40-man roster is Mauro Gomez, a career minor leaguer. But that should be changing soon.
There is progress being made with first baseman Mike Napoli, to a point where he could be officially signed by the end of next week. The Sox also are seeking a lefthanded-hitting backup via trade.
Napoli agreed on a three-year, $39 million deal in early December. But the Red Sox asked to renegotiate those terms after Napoli was found to have a hip injury during his physical.
The outcome is likely to be a shorter-term contract for the 31-year-old Napoli.
As the Sox work to sign Napoli, they are looking to add a lefthanded hitter to their bench. That player preferably would be able to play first base and the outfield.
Trade candidates would include Mike Carp (Mariners) and Brandon Moss (Athletics). Major league sources said Oakland does not intend to trade Moss, however.
Chad Tracy of the Nationals also would fit the profile.
First baseman Casey Kotchman and Lyle Overbay remain free agents. They are lefthanded hitters but have no major league experience in the outfield. The Sox hired Kotchman’s father, Tom, as an amateur scout and minor league coach earlier in the offseason.
The Red Sox signed lefthanded-hitting first baseman and outfielder Mark Hamilton to a minor league contract that included an invitation to spring training.
Cook to Phillies
Righthander Aaron Cook has signed a minor league contract with the Phillies that would pay $1.6 million if he makes the major league roster. Cook was 4-11 with a 5.65 ERA in 18 starts for the Red Sox last season, allowing 15 home runs over 94 innings . . . Righthanded reliever Vicente Padilla is off to Japan. Padilla has signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the SoftBank Hawks. He appeared in 56 games for the Red Sox last season, second on the team to Alfredo Aceves. He had a 4.50 ERA and struck out 51 in 50 innings. Padilla went on the disabled list in August with what was described as “tightness” in his arm and was not as effective after returning . . . The United States will announce its provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic Thursday. Outfielder Shane Victorino was the only Red Sox player selected. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was held back for reasons related to the injuries he played with last season.