The Boston Red Sox had an agreement in place to sign former Texas Ranger, Mike Napoli, to a three-year deal worth $39 million on December 3, 2012, pending a physical. During his physical, the Red Sox discovered signs of a hip issue, avascular necrosis. The health of Napoli delayed the signing by nearly six weeks. In the end, the Red Sox and Napoli agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $5 million with incentives that could put upwards to $13 million in his pockets.
Napoli played four-seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before being traded to the Rangers in 2011. After two years with the Rangers, Napoli is headed to the east coast to suit up for the Red Sox. The 31-year-old has spent time at catcher, first base and designated hitter over his seven year career, most of which as a catcher. The Red Sox signed Napoli for his versatility to play both behind the plate and at first base, but will likely get most of his playing time at first, due to the lack of depth at that position.
Napoli has the ability to hit for power, as well as get on base. Since 2011, Napoli owns the best slugging percentage among all first baseman in the major leagues. After the subtraction of Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, the Red Sox are in need of power from the first base position and Napoli seems to be the answer.
Spring training for the Red Sox is in full effect in Fort Myers, Florida. Napoli ran the bases on Wednesday with no problems, which is a great sign. No symptoms of his condition have flared up since the Red Sox doctors diagnosed him during his physical in December. Napoli is set to make his spring training debut, at first base, Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates at JetBlue Park. After a down batting average year, Red Sox Nation will be tuning in, at 7:05 p.m. eastern time, to NESN to see what the slugging first baseman can do.
Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, ”Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. To read more articles from Justin Soderberg, click here.