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Mike Napoli is top free agent priority for Red Sox

Nov 27, 2012, 7:13 PM EDT

mike napoli getty Getty Images

Free agent slugger Mike Napoli has drawn interest from several different organizations this winter. But we can probably already identify the frontrunner.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have made Napoli their top free agent pursuit and are considering all other potential free agent signings to be secondary. And Boston has enough room in its budget — courtesy of that late-July blockbuster with Los Angeles — to outbid any of the other teams currently vying for Napoli’s services.

Napoli batted .227/.343/.469 with 24 home runs and 56 RBI in 417 plate appearances this past season for the Rangers. He had a career-best .320/.414/.631 batting line, 30 home runs and 75 RBI in 432 plate appearances the season before.

The 31-year-old catcher and first baseman is thought to be seeking a four-year contract.

  1. proudlycanadian - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    .227 in a notoriously hitter friendly park! Given the 2 free agent contracts signed by the Red Sox so far, that should be worth at least $60 million over 4 years. Just do it Red Sox.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      I was just reading a story by Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. I was amazed to read that the .227 hitter was one of the greatest things since sliced bread. The Boston hype machine is in full flight. If the Red Sox fail to land him, the fans and media will be disappointed. Go ahead Red Sox! Make his day. The other teams in the AL East will salute you.

      • 18thstreet - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        I can’t believe that anyone citing batting average as a defining statistic reads this blog.

  2. crisisjunky - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Now that Gomes is in the fold, that is…..

  3. losangelesfan - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    When Texas first got him, I told posters here he wouldn’t sign an extension and he’d be measured for a Red Sox uni in two years. Tootin’ my own horn toot toot!

  4. xpensivewinos - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Sure wish I knew why the Red Sox continue to be so enamored with one-dimensional, non-athletic players.

    Total waste of money.

    • crisisjunky - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:43 PM

      yeah, huh….startin’ to see a pattern, here.
      there’s another unspoken dimention in play though.
      So they get Gomes, but they’re actually only paying him a mil or so for his efforts between the lines. The majority of his salary is for his position as Team Sports Psychologist.
      Ditto Napoli. Both these guys have that other dimension.
      The ToxSox need to pay a little extra premium to get this type of guy who will re-boot the air in the clubhouse. It’s worth the dough, and in Boston’s case unlike other ball clubs, the more years with these guys the better, because it will take them a little time to re-set the foundation properly.
      In laser terms, think of these guys as gamma knives pinpointing and cutting out the cancer.

      • purplereign52 - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        i disagree….this guy rakes at fenway! we need a middle of the order bat to protect ortiz….middlebrooks had a solid season last year…..but whos to say he wont have a sophomore slump? napoli can play 1st catch and dh….that makes him pretty solid….it also provides depth to catching so you can trade lavarnway or salty. this is a moneyball type deal. ortiz is signed for only 2 more years….hes also older….if ortiz goes down this guy can dh everyday and has the ability to hit 30 dongs next season at fenway…..

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:44 PM

        The guy hits well against Red Sox pitchers and not so well against other teams. Obviously, he would be a great fit in Boston.

  5. dondada10 - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Absolute most I would give Napoli: 2 for 28.

  6. bostonboy82 - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Pull the trigger before there’s nothing left to shoot at. Fans have been thru enough already, wise up and put the pride back in Boston somehow, find a way and find it now.

  7. ironmike778 - Nov 27, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Good player, awesome in the playoffs two years ago. But anything longer than a 3 year deal would be dumb.

  8. jaybird22seven - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Why would you want to go to Boston Mike?
    Give your head a shake !!!!

    • 18thstreet - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      He will go where ever the check clears. Why does anyone ever believe otherwise?

  9. purplereign52 - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    red sox fans are so negative! they have a ton of $$ to spend! if this guy get 7 to 9 mil a year for 3 or 4 years…its nothing! he rakes at fenway! wake up sox fans! big papi is gone in 2 years! he can dh the next 2 years of that deal! quit crying!

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 27, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      Because he rakes at Fenway, he could be part of the grounds crew if he hits below the Mendoza line against non Boston pitchers.

  10. uyf1950 - Nov 27, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    I thought Gomes splits were pathetic. Napoli’s are even worse in 2012 a .179 BA, .295 OBP and .706 OPS versus LHP. This should be fun to watch when he faces guys like: Price, Sabathia and Sale. You would think with all that money the Sox saved by dumping Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett they could find and sign someone that are so pathetic from one side of the plate batting.

    • dprat - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:57 AM

      You’re dealing with a 132 PA sample size… maybe a bit more than a month’s worth of PAs for an everyday player. But check out his career numbers vs LHP… spoiler alert… he destroys them. Absolutely crushes them. He destroyed them in 2011… and in 2010… and in 2009… Maybe LHP finally found the magic way to get Napoli out in 2012 and he’ll never hit them again, but I think I’m more inclined to believe that his 2012 numbers vs LHP was more likely the equivalent of a month long slump.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 28, 2012 at 5:49 AM

        What I get from Napoli’s splits is that he’s inconsistent. First off you are correct he did do well against LHP’ers in the years you mentioned. But did you happen to notice his splits in 2010 against RHP’ers? They were pretty pathetic with a .208 BA and .277 OBP and that was with 347 PA’s. Like I said he’s inconsistent. One year he can’t hit LHP’ers another year he can’t hit RHP’ers. As for his career numbers I tend to think his 2011 pretty much sku’s his career numbers. BTW, I also think 2011 was an anomaly Also in 4 of the 7 years he’s been in the league he’s been a sub .250 hitter and in 2 of the last 3 years a sub .240 hitter. That’s probably the Napoli a team that signs him will get, not the one that as you say destroyed LHP’ers in 2001, 2010 and 2009. But that’s just my opinion.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:45 AM

        correction: “2011”

  11. pisano - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    If he’s their top priority, that teams in for another long season.

  12. prosourcetalk - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Their top priority should be doing whatever it takes to convince KC to do that Lester for Myers swap.

    • crisisjunky - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      from your lips to God’s asshole.

  13. randygnyc - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Napoli on the Red Sox could put up huge numbers. This Yankee fan thinks he’s going to be smashing balls over the monster. Damn, if he gets 550 ABs, he may be a 40 hrs/per year guy.

  14. stex52 - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    You are buying an OPS of .850 or so in a mediocre catcher. Are you going to move him to first or DH? May be a better bet there. But don’t pay him based on 2011. Looks to be a way-career year. 10-12 MM$ per year for 2-3 years probably reflects his value to a team, particularly a rebuilding team.

    He was looking for a huge payday when he turned down a contract from Texas last spring. He is a useful commodity, but not a game-changer. He probably should have taken the Texas deal.

  15. jaybird22seven - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    I agree he plays well in Boston. But how fun will it be playing on a team in last place !!!!

    • pisano - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      jaybird…. it works for me.

  16. uyf1950 - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    I don’t understand the headline to this piece or the rational if it’s true: “Mike Napoli is top free agent priority for Red Sox”. The Red Sox starting rotation was an utter disaster in 2012. Most teams generally try and address their biggest or most urgent concerns first at this time of the year. Yet the Red Sox Ownership/Management so far appear to be blazing their own path. They’ve signed 2 platoon position players and overpaid for them. Now they appear if the article is to be believed to have at the head of their wish list another player who will be used as a part time catcher, 1st baseman and DH.

    Am I one of the few posters here that the Red Sox strategy seems to defy logic? Or is that just the way a team that went 69-93 last season would prioritize things?

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      They did not have an effective closer either, but that is OK with me.

  17. bostonboy82 - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Sox needs= 1st base & Outfield. Managements thoughts= let’s get a 4th catcher instead if Swisher who plays 1st and outfield.

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