Mike Napoli and the Boston Red Sox have finally agreed on a contract that has been pending since early December. But it is a far less rich deal than initially contemplated.
The original negotiations over a three-year, $39 million deal hit a snag because of concerns over Napoli’s hip condition. Napoli is going to sign on for just one year.
According to WEEI, Napoli will receive a guaranteed $5 million for 2013, but incentives could boost his pay to $13 million. The contract contains no vesting options however.
Napoli (career. 259) is a right-handed catcher/first baseman, but, given the current logjam at the catching position on the Red Sox, he will likely spend most of his time at first. ESPN reports that Napoli chose the Red Sox over other teams because “he’d get a more clearly defined role with more at-bats.”
The Mike Napoli-Red Sox deal is considered a win-win for both teams, at least according to WEEI:
” … given Napoli’s tremendous numbers at Fenway Park — he’s a career .306/.397/.710/1.107 hitter there — his ability to help give the Red Sox a deep and powerful lineup is noteworthy — so long as he’s healthy. Now, the Sox and Napoli have apparently found middle ground that will give the Sox a slugger at an acceptable risk. Meanwhile, if Napoli performs well and stays healthy, he’ll be back on the free agent market in another relatively weak class of first basemen as a 32-year-old.”
Napoli is coming off his worst MLB season, but the Red Sox are hoping that 2013 will be a bounce-back year for the seven-year MLB veteran.