Skip to content

Red Sox lineup a whole lot deeper with Mike Napoli in the middle

Dec 3, 2012, 11:43 AM EDT

Mike Napoli Reuters

Mike Napoli to Boston has long seemed like destiny. That he’s been such a roaring success at Fenway is part of it: Napoli has hit .306/.397/.710 with seven homers in 62 lifetime at-bats in Boston.

The Red Sox initially tried to acquire Napoli in 2010, when the Angels weighed parting with him before the deadline. The Halos kept him then, only to send him to Toronto in the Vernon Wells deal after the season.

Napoli was moved quickly to Texas from there, and he hit 54 homers in his two seasons with the Rangers. Now a free agent for the first time, he’s struck a three-year, $39 million deal to play for the Red Sox. It was an easier price for Boston to pay since the Rangers didn’t make Napoli a $13.3 million qualifying offer, meaning there was no draft pick compensation attached to the signing.

Adding the 31-year-old Napoli presents the Red Sox with possibilities. They now have four catchers in Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway. Napoli, though, wasn’t being viewed as a full-time option behind the plate by Boston or anyone else. He’s always struggled to stay healthy as a catcher, and some feel he might perform even better offensively if his time behind the plate is limited.

As things stand now, Napoli will see the vast majority of his time at first base. If Salty is traded, then perhaps Napoli will catch two or three times per week. If not, then Napoli may do most of his catching in NL parks when the Red Sox put David Ortiz at first base.

With Napoli in the fold, the Red Sox are currently looking at the following lineup:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
LF Jonny Gomes/Daniel Nava
3B Will Middlebrooks
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia/David Ross
RF Ryan Kalish
SS Jose Iglesias/Pedro Ciriaco

It’s a given that they’ll add a starting outfielder, which would likely leave Gomes, Nava and Kalish to battle for time in one spot. They could also sign Stephen Drew for shortstop, but if they don’t get him, they’ll probably give Iglesias a shot rather than turn to an Alex Gonzalez-type free agent.

Napoli may not be the ideal cleanup man, given that he’s likely to hit closer to last year’s .227 mark than his .320 average from 2011. Still, his power numbers should be very impressive if playing first base allows him to get 500 at-bats for the first time. His career average puts him at 32 homers per 500 at-bats.

Latest Posts
  1. Jerry Dipoto loses power struggle with Mike Scioscia, steps down as Angels general manager

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

    scioscia and dipoto angels AP

    For better or worse, owner Arte Moreno is standing with Scioscia.

  2. Must-click link: Baseball Peaked on July 1, 1990

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    Yankees logo

    “The most ridiculous no-hitter in baseball history”

  3. Ervin Santana ready to join Twins after 80-game suspension

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Ervin Santana AP

    Santana has been “rehabbing” in the minors.

  4. Bobby Bonilla’s isn’t the only deferred money deal in the game. And isn’t even the worst.

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    Bruce Sutter

    Bruce Sutter retired when Ronald Reagan was still president. He’s still being paid by the Braves.

  5. What Yasiel Puig being a pain in the butt means. And what it doesn’t mean.

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT

    Paul Sancya -- Associated Press AP

    A book is coming out which is telling us just how bad a teammate Yasiel Puig has been. Should we care?

  6. Report: Jerry Dipoto “definitely out” as Angels GM

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:07 AM EDT

    Jerry Dipoto Jerry Dipoto

    It seems that if you battle with Mike Scioscia, you’re going to lose.

  7. And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 1, 2015, 7:31 AM EDT

    Mike Montgomery Getty Images

    Shutouts are rare in baseball these days. M’s rookie Mike Montgomery has two in a row.

  8. Manny Banuelos expected to make MLB debut Thursday

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    banuelos getty Getty Images

    Banuelos has rebuilt some of his early-career hype this summer with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett, Georgia, posting 2.29 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 82 2/3 innings (15 starts).

  9. Video: Dee Gordon hit a three-run inside-the-parker

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT

    dee gordon getty Getty Images

    Watch as Dee Gordon belts a ball into the right-center field gap and turns on the jets …

  10. Padres recall Jedd Gyorko from AAA El Paso

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:41 PM EDT

    Jedd Gyorko AP

    Gyorko was optioned to the minors on June 10 after batting .210/.282/.311 over his first 131 plate appearances …

  11. Matt Cain to make 2015 debut on Thursday

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:35 PM EDT

    Matt Cain AP

    Tim Lincecum will be placed on the disabled list with a forearm bruise to open a rotation spot.

  12. The Chicago Sun-Times wants Ozzie Guillen to manage the White Sox again

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

    ozzie_guillen_090817

    Let us use this column to talk a bit about how rumors got started back in the day and how they get started now.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. S. Matz (4063)
  2. B. Harper (3936)
  3. H. Ramirez (3847)
  4. J. Hamilton (3730)
  5. G. Stanton (3418)
  1. M. Moore (3073)
  2. Y. Puig (2976)
  3. J. Ellsbury (2684)
  4. F. Freeman (2647)
  5. M. Cain (2638)