Mike Napoli, a potential masher in Boston. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Sox First Hot Stove, Can't Miss Prediction: Napoli Comes to Boston and Salty Hits The Road


After consulting recently with my crystal ball, it has become clear to me that Mike Napoli is coming to Boston and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be traded. All signs point to the affirmative. What signs? My gut tells me so.

No, Napoli will not be catching regularly. Newly acquired free agent David Ross will be catching. He hits better than either Salty or Ryan Lavarnway and is a better defensive catcher. Napoli will come to Boston as insurance at first base and can easily semi-regular start with Ross if Salty is traded, which will also happen. After a sub par 2012 Napoli can be had on the cheap.

Napoli also fits in Boston because they will need protection from a power outage if Cody Ross indeed ends up in another uniform, a prospect that becomes more plausible as each days passes and he doesn’t ink a deal with Boston.

In bagging Napoli Boston will exercise two other important strategic moves. First, they stop him from hitting against them. Napoli has a 1.075 OPS in 38 career games against the Red Sox. He’s also banged 15 home runs against Boston, his most against any non-AL West club. Second, they get him more plate appearances at Fenway Park. At Fenway Napoli has a 1.107 OPS in 19 career games that includes four doubles and seven home runs. Finally, Napoli slugs at a righteous .710 career percentage at Fenway, his highest at any park in which he’s played at least 19 games.

With those stats and all that flexibility, why would Napoli not be a great fit in Fenway?

I don’t have a need to be the best
Don’t want to be just like the rest
Just stay who I am
Just an ordinary middle man
- Middle Man, Living Colour

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