The Red Sox plan to follow up short-term deals with first baseman Mike Napoli and shortstop Stephen Drew with $14.1 million qualifying offers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman reports that the Red Sox also plan to make a qualifying offer to outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
While the Red Sox would like to bring Napoli and Drew back to defend their World Series title, they also will set themselves up to receive compensatory first-round draft choices should either player leave.
Napoli left the Rangers and agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox before a chronic hip condition was detected in a medical exam. He eventually settled for a one-year, $5 million guaranteed deal loaded with incentives. Hitting .259 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI helped him reach his original $13 million mark for the season. Now Napoli appears primed to seek another long-term deal.
Napoli said, "I want to be here. I love this place" in the midst of Wednesday night's post-game celebration.
Drew is coming off a one-year, $9.5 million deal that saw him hit .253 with 13 home runs, 67 RBI and a high OPS (.777) among shortstops, while also proving himself fully recovered from an ankle injury suffered a season ago.
Ellsbury (.298, nine home runs, 53 RBI, .355 OPS, 52 SBs) is widely considered the second biggest name on the free-agent market behind Robinson Cano and may be the most likely of the trio to leave Boston.
Ellsbury said on Wednesday night that he wanted to enjoy celebrating his second World Series title with his teammates and Red Sox fans before even thinking about free agency.
“I haven’t even thought about it. You don’t get this many opportunities to play in the World Series. When you do, you want to capitalize on it. So, I haven’t thought about [free agency]."