According to ESPN, Mike Napoli has agreed to a 3 year deal worth $39 million with the Red Sox, pending a physical. Napoli turned 31 in October and will be and he will be 33 in his last year of the contract, so the Red Sox won’t have to deal with a large drop off in production with him.
He is expected to primarily play 1st base for the Red Sox, though he will catch part-time. The most games he has ever caught in a season is 96 and it’s very likely he’ll only catch a small amount of games, depending on what the Red Sox do with Ryan Lavarnway/Jarrod Saltalamacchia this off-season Should Salty be traded, the Sox might have him play a bigger role behind the plate.
In 19 games (and 62 ABs) at Fenway park in his career, Napoli has hit at a .306/.397/.710 slash with 7 home runs and 4 doubles. Not to mention an amazing .404 isolated slugging percentage. While this isn’t exactly a large sample size, it’s clear that he has a swing tailor-made for Fenway (just like Cody Ross) and he should put up eye popping numbers at home.
And while his defense has been far from stellar at 1st base and at catcher throughout his career (career -2.6 UZR at 1st and -25 defensive runs saved behind the plate), having a great fielding 1st baseman isn’t all that important.
All in all it seems like a great move by the Red Sox front office as they filled a large void left by Adrian Gonzalez without surrendering any prospects whatsoever and without making a long term commitment to a player.
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