After over a month of foreplay the Boston Red Sox and Mike Napoli finally consummated a one-year deal yesterday, a major league source said.
Sep 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Mike Napoli (25) bats during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark. The Angels beat the Rangers 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Napoli and Boston reached initial agreement on a three-year, $39 million deal December 3 but negotiations stalled after a physical revealed an issue purportedly with Napoli’s hip. CBS Sports has reported the one-year deal to be worth $5 million, which if true speaks volumes about the condition of Napoli’s hip.
Additional pressure was brought to bear on the negotiations when Adam LaRoche, another Boston first base free agent prospect was resigned by the Nationals and potential Nats first base backup Michael Morse signed a deal on Wednesday with Seattle.
Napoli, 31, had one of the worst years of his career in 2012. His slash line of .227/.343/.469/.812 with the Rangers was far below his usual output during his seven year pro career. He does, however, remain a middle-of-the-order hitter with power if he can return to form and right now that looks like a big if.
Napoli’s signing fills, at least for 2013, a final gap in the overhaul of the Red Sox lineup.
I am a Mainer transplanted in Virginia but remain a hard-core Boston sports fan, particularly as concerns the Red Sox. I'm old enough to remember the 1967 Impossible Dream season, which cemented my love for the Sox for life. By profession I am an IT manager, which I love but at the end of the day I'm a bit of a writer and musician trapped in a technologist's body. As I have aged I can clearly see the nexus of music and sports. Great musicians have athletic stamina and incredible drive while top athletes can bring a crowd to both full throat and then sublime appreciation as if the crowd were listening to a moving musical piece. Athlete as rock star. Musician as a rigorously trained galvanizing force and cultural hero. Close your eyes and the two are nearly interchangeable. Sox on! Rock on! Twitter: @petersonstephen