AP source: Napoli, Boston strike $39M, 3-year deal
Adding offense following a disappointing season, the Boston Red
Sox have agreed to a $39 million, three-year contract with catcher
Mike Napoli, a person familiar with the deal said.
The agreement is subject to Napoli passing a physical, which
will take place later this week, the person said Monday. The person
spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet
”Awesome addition to our team!” Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester
A 31-year-old who also plays first base, Napoli hit .320 with 30
homers and 75 RBIs as the Texas Rangers won their second straight
AL pennant in 2011, then slumped to a .227 average with 24 homers
and 56 RBIs this year as he became a first-time All-Star. His
on-base percentage dropped from .416 to .343.
Napoli is a .306 career hitter at Fenway Park (19 for 62) with
seven homers and 17 RBIs. He is the third free agent this offseason
to join the Red Sox following outfielder Jonny Gomes, who got a $10
million, two-year contract, and catcher David Ross, who received a
$6.2 million, two-year deal.
”He’s a guy who is getting on base, has power, would be a good
fit for our ballpark,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington
said, without confirming the agreement. ”We like his offense at
Fenway. We like the versatility.”
The right-handed-hitting Napoli could see most of his playing
time at first base because Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Los
Angeles Dodgers in August along with pitcher Josh Beckett and
outfielder Carl Crawford.
”We knew when we made the Dodger trade and we moved Gonzalez
that we were going to have to try to find a way to replace that
offense,” Cherington said.
Texas was unwilling to guarantee three seasons for Napoli, who
hit .350 with two homers and 10 RBIs in the 2011 World Series
against St. Louis.
”They were very upfront with us throughout the process. So not
a surprise,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. ”I’m
hesitant to use the word disappointment because ultimately we had a
decision to make.”
Boston now has four catchers, with Napoli joining Jarrod
Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and Ross. Saltalamacchia started 95
games behind the plate last season, with Kelly Shoppach getting 42
starts and Lavarnway 25.
The Red Sox could trade one of their catchers, but that might
wait until spring training.
”We’re pretty comfortable where we are,” Cherington said.
Boston still is looking for a left-handed bat and starting
pitching. The Mets are discussing whether to trade NL Cy Young
Award winner R.A. Dickey, but the price in prospects would be
”It’s always steep for the better guys, a valuable commodity,
so if a team is going to move someone, especially if there’s any
length of control, they’re asking for a lot,” Cherington said,
”as we would.”
Boston is coming off its first last-place finish in two decades,
a year when the Red Sox went 69-93 and lost 26 of their last 33
games. Manager Bobby Valentine was fired and replaced by John
”You’ve got to add a lot of wins (from) where we finished to
compete in this division,” Cherington said. ”I think players and
agents understand that despite what happened this year, Boston is
Boston. We’re committed to having a winning team. We have a history
of a winning team. We’re going to commit resources to the
At last year’s session in Dallas, Cherington called the winter
meetings a ”cesspool of information flow and dialogue.”
”You go through the cycle once and you’re a little bit more
comfortable with everything you have to do,” he said, ”and maybe
more aware of the potential pot holes and able to navigate those
But he did have some levity. Asked what player he was looking at
to play right field, Cherington responded: ”Dwight Evans.”
NOTES: 3B Pedro Ciriaco, who was playing in the Dominican Winter
League, had right shoulder soreness checked out by the Red Sox, and
Cherington said it was minor and he should be ready for spring
training. … Boston agreed to minor league contracts with RHP Jose
De La Torre, RHP Terry Doyle, OF Mitch Maier, utility man Drew
Sutton and RHP Oscar Villarreal.