Mike Napoli was a key piece for the 2013 World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox, but with reports out that he wants a multi-year deal, he is not the best option for the Red Sox at first base in 2014.
The better fit would be Corey Hart. He sat out all of 2013 due to injury, so he is looking for a one-year deal to give him a chance t0 show his skills haven’t diminished and get a long-term deal in 2015.
The two players are incredibly similar. Napoli is a year older than Hart, and Hart’s career high in home runs is one better than Napoli’s. Hart’s career average is .283 while Napoli’s is just .259, but Napoli’s career OPS .859 while Hart’s is just .824.
Those stats basically tell you they are a wash when it comes to on-the-diamond production. So, it comes down to value and long-term plans for the organization.
The long-term plans for the Red Sox are likely neither of these guys. Both in their early 30’s, but both carry injury concerns. Hart will be cheaper both in years and in annual salary, making him the better choice.
Hart also fits the rotation of sorts that the Red Sox used in 2013 better than Napoli. Hart has spent the majority of his career in the outfield, so when the Red Sox are in a National League city and David Ortiz is playing first, Hart does not have to be on the bench like Napoli was this past season, instead he can trot out to left field to keep his bat in the lineup.