The former Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers first baseman/catcher had originally agreed on a three-year, $39 million contract with Boston this past off-season, but a problem with Napoli’s hip during the team’s physical examination forced him to sign a one-year deal worth $5 million. The seven-year veteran has avascular necrosis, a medical condition that can cause bone death and degeneration, in both hips.
Even though he took a huge pay cut, Napoli can still make up to $13 million due to incentives, including staying on the active roster for at least 165 days and/or 625 plate appearances this season with 120 days on the roster.
Farrell said that he believes Napoli will make his debut on March 1, which is this Friday, where he will line up at first base. The 31-year-old was seen running the bases over the weekend without his hip acting up. With his condition, it is unknown how well Napoli will be able to hold up, but the Red Sox are obviously hoping he can make a majority of the starts at first base this year. There is no question they will need his offensive production in order to keep pace in the competitive American League East.
Napoli saw his production drop off drastically in 2012 from the year before in which he batted .227 with 24 home runs, 56 RBI and nine doubles in 352 plate appearances.