Monday, January 21, 2013
Source: Napoli officially in the fold
By Joe McDonald
The Boston Red Sox on Monday officially signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal, according to a league source, more than seven weeks after originally agreeing to terms with the free-agent first baseman/catcher on a three-year contract. The deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday.
Napoli's contract is for one year with a base salary of $5 million, sources told ESPN last week. With incentives, he can play himself to a $13 million payday, which boosts the compensation to the level of the three-year deal he first agreed to with Boston early this offseason.
The 31-year-old Napoli originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with Boston on Dec. 3. That deal was taken off the table when Napoli, in the judgment of the team's medical staff, failed his physical because of a hip condition that never had surfaced publicly in his seven previous years in the big leagues, the first five with the Los Angeles Angels and the past two with the Rangers.
Cherington said last week that there has been no animosity between the sides as the negotiations have dragged on.
"I think it's good. I think there will be a time to talk about that more, but we tried and did have a consistent dialogue throughout the winter and a lot of conversations," Cherington said.
The Red Sox view Napoli's swing as an ideal fit in Fenway Park, where he has slugged .710 with a 1.107 OPS, seven home runs and 17 RBIs in 19 games as a visiting player.
Boston is betting that Napoli will come closer to his career-best season of 2011, when he batted .320 with 30 home runs and a 1.046 OPS in his first year in Texas, than to 2012, when he dropped off to .227 with 24 home runs.