Mike Napoli has created mixed emotions in me during the season, yet I am all for exploring the contract options that may be available. Napoli has done exactly what was expected while avoiding his penchant for a stay on the DL.
Napoli signed an incentive loaded contract after a medical put the kibosh on a 3/39M deal. Napoli has now achieved his incentives and his contract has escalated from 5M to 13M for 2013.
During the season Napoli passed various physicals tests to show that he was still operational – especially his balky hip. No catching, either. Maybe a link?
Napoli can provide explosive power and can also provide long stretches where he is channeling Dave Kingman. The man can ring up “K‘s” at an alarming rate, but Napoli can also get on base. His career OBP is almost a 100 points higher than his career batting average. Napoli takes a load of pitches, averaging 4.58 per AB, highest in the league. Of course, that “K” number contributes to that.
My own bench mark for Napoli was 260/25/100. And he is actually getting close. Napoli has presented a weapon of mass destruction – baseball variety – with some devastating power. A grand slam or late game bomb that seals the deal, gets you back in the game , or just provides that eerie threat. Napoli is an extra base machine that rivals David Ortiz.
So the usual scenario with the one year deal – Boston version – is to go out and shop the market, and then sign elsewhere. We’ve seen it oft repeated. Just maybe this year will be different? I would also assume that Boston will qualify Napoli, which could impact his marketability.
BSI’s Earl Nash has written extensively on the various options that Boston has regarding first base and a Napoli resigning can be squeezed into the mix. I can see the potential for accepting a qualifying offer and then negotiating a deal for two years. That was the original plan – a three year contact. Back to square one.
The intangibles also merit attention. Napoli is apparently one of the prime motivators of this “new look” Red Sox team. He came with the “great teammate” label and that is accurate. This is an expensive cheerleader who also has produced.
I would like to see Napoli back for another season or two – just maybe completing that original deal? Mike Carp and Daniel Nava have shown they are capable substitutes if the need arises, so coverage does exist if a DL stay occurs.