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Boston Red Sox Re-sign Mike Napoli

December 6th, 2013 at 9:53 PM
By Ron Juckett

The Boston Red Sox and Mike Napoli agreed to a two-year deal Friday night with $32 million according to multiple reports.

WEEI's Rob Bradford, who broke the story, says that the Texas Rangers had "a larger contract on the table", but enjoyed Boston so much that he wanted to stay.

The popular first baseman had been wooed in recent days by the Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins and, his former team, the Rangers, but Napoli decided to let the Red Sox match the best offer and will remain in Boston.

Originally signed to a three-year deal last offseason, a disclosure of a degenerative hip injury saw that deal reworked into an incentive-laden one-year deal. As Napoli told any one who wuld listen that he waned to remain in Boston, the two sides were apart on the length of what his new deal should be. Boston wanted something in the one- or two-year range while Napoli was looking for a three-year contract. Terms of the new deal will match the money Napoli was supposed to receive from his original deal.

Napoli, 32, had a career year in his first year with the Red Sox after time with the Los Angeles Angels and Rangers. Batting behind David Ortiz, Napoli drove in a career-high 92 in 2013. He also improved his batting average from .227 to .259 slugging 23 home runs.

A catcher/first baseman/designated hitter with the Rangers, Napoli became the full-time first baseman with Boston and grew into the position defensively. The increase in offense can also be traced to not having the wear and tear of catching as well.

This now leaves Stephen Drew as the lone remaining unsigned frontline free agent for the Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury signed a seven-year monster deal with the New York Yankees and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will catch for the Miami Marlins next year.

Extremely popular in his first year in Boston, this was the best news that the Fenway Faithful could have received this week. The signing of catcher A,J. Pierzynski was met with mixed feelings based on Pierzynski's reputation for having a difficult personality. Napoli, who walked around Boston shirtless after winning the World Series, is the complete opposite, coming across as a laid back guy.

Napoli is the second player signed this year by the Red Sox to have given a hometown discount in order to stay with the organization he admires, Dustin Pedroia, who left a lot of money on the table, being the other.

If the Red Sox stand pat right now, they will be essentially the same club that won the World Series—even with the loss of Ellsbury.

All the fans care about at the moment is that the beard is staying put.

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Tags: Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Mike Napoli, MLB

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