After being linked to the Boston Red Sox for quite some time, Mike Napoli has finally signed on the dotted line. The veteran catcher/first baseman is headed to Fenway Park, completing a three-year deal with Boston. Napoli, who was coming off a ridiculous career year in 2011, slowed down in 2012, losing about .100 points in batting average; however, he is a perfect fit in Fenway Park.
Although it’s a small sample size, Napoli completely dominates in Fenway Park. He has a career 1.107 OPS, which is the highest OPS any right-handed batter has in that park. And despite the contract being $13 AAV, I like the deal for the Red Sox.
Three years isn’t too long of a commitment for Napoli. And even if he is the player we saw in 2012 instead of 2011, he is probably worth at least $10 million. The catcher/first base/DH flexibility should keep Napoli’s powerful bat healthy. Plus, even with the signing, the Red Sox still have oodles of dough to make another blockbuster move.
As far as the team is concerned, this isn’t going to make or break the Boston Red Sox. Unless every player rebounds at the same time next season, their ceiling is probably a .500 team.
With that said, it’s a step in the right direction for the Boston Red Sox. And getting their man on the first day of the winter meetings is a something to be happy about if you are a Red Sox fan.
Final verdict: slight overpay, makes sense for the team, should earn most of his contract.