As confirmed by his own twitter account, Mike Napoli has come to terms on a new contract with the Boston Red Sox that, according to Comcast Sports Net's Sean McAdam, will pay him $32 million over the next two seasons. When combined with the $13 million he made this past season, Napoli will now be paid $45 million for the 2013-15 seasons. That's more than the $39 million total value of the three-year deal the Red Sox renegotiated with him last winter after avascular necrosis, degenerative disorder that kills bone tissue, was detected in both of Napoli's hips during his physical.
The Red Sox reworked that deal into a one-year contract last winter and made Napoli a full-time first baseman for the first time in his career. Napoli, whose condition can be controlled if caught early enough, responded by hitting .259/.360/.482 -- a performance very close to his career line -- with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs in a career-high 578 at-bats. He also added two key home runs in the American League Championship Series against the Tigers, both coming in games the Red Sox won by one run, and emerged as an excellent defensive first baseman.
That performance earned Napoli the two years the Red Sox initially knocked off his contract and a nice raise, from $13 million to an average annual value of $16 million. Reports suggest there were several other teams interested in Napoli's services this offseason, with WEEI's Rob Bradford and Alex Speier reporting the Rangers were believed to have offered Napoli a larger contract to return to Texas, but, as evidenced by his tweet linked above, Napoli very much wanted to return to Boston.
That's a nice break for the Red Sox, who lost starting center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to higher bidders earlier in this crazy week of Hot Stove action. A two-year deal for the 32-year-old Napoli is a safe one that suits Boston's needs just fine as $16 million is an appropriate price to pay for a player of his value. Likewise, two years is a safe gamble given Napoli, despite his strong 2013 season, is still a former catcher entering his mid-30s with a degenerative hip condition.
Napoli is the third free agent the Red Sox have signed to a multi-million dollar deal this week. They picked up A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year contract worth $8.25 million Monday morning, before Saltalamacchia came to terms with the Marlins, and right-handed set-up man Edward Mujica, who agreed to a two-year pact worth $9.5 million on Thursday.
CORCORAN: A.J. Pierzynski signing more about frugality than upgrade for Red Sox In a radio interview in the wake of the Ellsbury signing on Wednesday, Red Sox manager John Farrell said his team was going "to do anything we can" to re-sign Napoli and free agent shortstop Stephen Drew. So look for the team to turn its focus to Drew now that it has come to terms with Napoli. The Sox could also use help for sophomore Jackie Bradley Jr, Ellbury's projected replacement in center field. However, as the Hot Stove continues to bubble over, their options there have already decreased by one as the news of Napoli's signing was quickly followed by the Yankees, who signed Ellsbury, coming to terms on a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran.