Mike Napoli has already spoken with the Seattle Mariners and his present employer, the Texas Rangers. Up next is the team that most seems to need his services. Napoli will reportedly meet with the Red Sox over this weekend. According to ESPN, Napoli’s desire to ink a four-year deal may prove to be a major sticking point if all of teams he is considering, especially a thrice-bitten, twice shy Red Sox management team.
With Adrian Gonzalez off to LA and James Loney appearing ever more to not be a long-term answer, the Red Sox have a gaping hole to fill at first base and Napoli is emerging as the best fit. He’s mashed at Fenway his entire career, is coming off an sub par year which means his value may be had at a bargain and he can switch between first base and catching duties if Boston decides to unload some of their depth behind the dish.
Napoli, 31, was down in every statistically significant category in 2012 with the exception of his catching fielding percentage, which was slightly better than his career average.
As much as Boston needs Napoli, they might have to walk away from the deal if Napoli won’t budge from his four-year demand. Otherwise, they could be setting the wrong precedent to a fan base that feels hoodwinked over the past five years.