First of all, without getting too much into the bluster and hubris or crystal ball baseball, I called the Mike Napoli deal on November 15 in a post here at BSI called “Sox First Hot Stove, Can’t Miss Prediction: Napoli Comes To Boston and Salty Hits The Road”. The first shoe has dropped. We’ll see what happens with Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Now for the bad news. I don’t like this deal.
If you read the article from November 15 you can see that I was generally supportive of the move. That was before Mark Reynold’s was non-tendered by the Orioles last Friday. Circumstances change but it seems Boston’s perspective didn’t. They went after and signed Napoli to a three year $39 million contract on the heels of Napoli’s worst year ever. Last time I checked 39 divided by 3 is 13.
Napoli will get $13 million a year from Boston after earning $9.4 million in Texas during 2012 and sucking (a .227/.343/.469/.821 slash line as opposed to his career .259/.356/.507/.863 stats?
OK, so he didn’t really suck but his numbers were down across the board. To quote Michael Strahan, “C’mon man!” I hope I’m proven wrong but right now this doesn’t pass the sniff test.
Napoli was looking for four years but only got three so an argument could be made that the Sox held their ground. Still, I have to question if Boston management is quickly taking leave of their senses and the compass that they set a month ago is already veering off course. Three years can be a long time if you get a player on a slide. Meanwhile, my sources in New England say that the deal is being ripped from Maine to Rhode Island. Mr. Napoli, welcome to playing for the Red Sox.
On the plus slide, Napoli is a career .306, 7 HR, 17 RBI hitter at Fenway. He’s a righty with a natural uppercut swing, which usually spells good things for hitters in a Boston uniform. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo is reporting that Napoli will spend about 75 percent of his time at first base next year.
It looks like the White Sox will need a catcher since it appears that A.J. Pierzynski is going to walk. And the second half of the crystal ball prediction says…
Like a dull knife just ain’t cuttin’
We’re just talkin’ a lot and sayin’ nothing
Just sayin’ nothing, just sayin’ nothing
- Talkin’ Loud and Saying Nothin’, James Brown