By Jeff Louderback
Mike Napoli is finally a member of the Boston Red Sox. According to WEEI.com, the Red Sox have signed the 31-year-old first baseman/catcher to a one-year deal.
WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford wrote, “According to another major league source, the deal is for one year with Napoli getting a $5 million guarantee. The deal includes incentives that could increase the value of the contract back to roughly $13 million if Napoli does not spend any time on the disabled list due to a hip injury. The contract is strictly a one-year deal — it does not include any team, vesting or mutual options.”
Originally, Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal during the winter meetings last December, but that was before a physical apparently revealed potential issues with his hip and/or leg.
Napoli is expected to fill the void at first base for the Red Sox. The right-handed power hitter has slugged 80 home runs over the last three seasons, including 30 in 2011 before slipping to 24 last year in an injury-plagued season with the Texas Rangers.
The Red Sox are also interested in adding a left-handed hitter who can play first base and left field since Napoli and left fielder Jonny Gomes mash left-handed pitching but tend to struggle against right-handers.
The addition of Napoli gives the Red Sox a dangerous lineup against left-handed pitchers.