A possible injury to Napoli’s hip may be the cause for the hold up, according to Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal.
The Seattle Mariners and Napoli’s former team, the Texas Rangers, were also in talks to sign the 31-year-old catcher and first baseman, but his injury may have scared them off.
The Rangers had good cause to re-sign Napoli after losing much of their power with Josh Hamilton departing for Los Angeles. Napoli hit 54 home runs in two seasons with Texas, but they let him walk.
Boston and general manager Ben Cherington remain mum on the situation.
"There's really nothing to comment on," Cherington said to the Boston Globe. "As with any free agent, until it's done, it's not done. We continue to work on different ways to improve the team.”
Something may have come up during Napoli’s physical, and Boston could try to re-negotiate, according to CBS Sports.
With Napoli’s situation in the air, Boston is also focused on improving their bullpen. The Globe reported Thursday that the Red Sox are in pursuit of Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan.
Boston may give up relievers Franklin Morales and Alredo Aceves in exchange for Hanrahan, who has 76 saves in his last two seasons with the Pirates.
All three are eligible for arbitration in 2013, but Pittsburgh may consider the move because Hanrahan could demand more than Morales and Aceves combined. Boston cleared much of their payroll from last season, and could take a risk on Hanrahan.
Although his ERA ticked up nearly a full run in 2012, the 31-year-old can rescue a Boston bullpen that was 11th in the American League with a 3.88 ERA, and 12th in saves with 35.