Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Red Sox Get Their 'First Priority' in Mike Napoli

The Boston Red Sox solidified a contract with free agent Mike Napoli Monday afternoon, giving him 3 years and $39 million.  Napoli figures to platoon at first base and catcher, splitting time with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and their first free agent signing David Ross.

Is Napoli a good pick up?  I believe so.  His $39 million contract is comparatively cheaper, and the Red Sox are very wisely trying to keep contracts down to three years or fewer.  Josh Hamilton, who the Sox are still courting, is asking for a mega-deal, and Boston is making an exception to their rule, but stating they are only willing to go up to five years.

Napoli's pitches per place appearance stands at a 4.41 average, which is well above the league average of 3.82, but his average has been slumping of late. Of course, when you look at his numbers, and factor in that he will play in Fenway Park, he's due for a good offensive year.  In 2009, he hit .272 and in 2010 posted a .238 average.  Then in 2011 he hit .320 followed by a .227 average in the 2012 campaign. 

He seems to have an off year then come back much stronger.  In terms of home runs, he's been good for min-20s there, and as a right-handed hitter who absolutely dominates left-handed hitters, that Green Monster seems just a little bit closer.

We'll have to wait and see what Napoli can do in a Sox uniform, but I'm optimistic that this will work out and put the Sox back on the right track.

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