When originally signed, the Red Sox expected Napoli to be a middle of the order presence for them, but he has not lived up to expectations. Manager John Farrell dropped Napoli to seventh in the order behind both Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew. Napoli’s game tying two-run home run in the ninth inning was is first home run since July 24. 21 days between home runs is not what the Red Sox were looking for when they signed him this offseason.
Napoli has a .245 average, which would not be a big issue if he had more than 15 home runs. It is the second highest home run total on the team, and he has just the fifth best AB/HR rate on the team amongst players with at least 165 at-bats sitting behind the likes of Will Middlebrooks, Mike Carp, Gomes, and David Ortiz. Even the under performing Jarrod Saltalamacchia has a higher on-base percentage than Napoli.
Originally, the Red Sox had inked Napoli to a long term deal, but the deal became just a one-year deal after a hip condition was discovered in his physical, probably for the best financially for the Red Sox.
Regardless of contract and recent troubles, the Red Sox do need Napoli to round into form going down the stretch. As clutch as Gomes has been this season, he is not the guy you want batting behind Big Papi.