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. The Mets and Juan Lagares are close to a four-year extension

    Apr 1, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

    Juan Lagares Getty Getty Images

    The Mets are locking up one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.

  2. Astros demote first baseman Jon Singleton to Triple-A

    Apr 1, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    Jonathan Singleton Getty Getty Images

    If he crushes Triple-A pitching he’ll be back soon enough.

  3. Marlins reliever Aaron Crow needs Tommy John surgery

    Apr 1, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Aaron Crow AP

    Miami gave up left-hander Brian Flynn and minor leaguer Reid Redman to get Crow from Kansas City.

  4. HBT Extra: Anyone but the Twins could win the AL Central

    Apr 1, 2015, 9:46 AM EDT

    Corey Kluber Corey Kluber

    Jenna and I talk about whether the Tigers can do it again.

  5. Wrigley Field will still be a work in progress, but it will be ready for Opening Day

    Apr 1, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

    Wrigley construction Getty Images

    So don’t listen to the rumors about how it’s not fit for man nor beast nor Cubs fan.

  6. HBT Extra: Talkin’ about the NL Central

    Apr 1, 2015, 8:37 AM EDT

    Mike Matheny Getty Images

    The Cardinals and Pirates are the class here, even if the Cubs get all the chatter these days.

  7. Coco Crisp likely to open season on 15-day disabled list

    Mar 31, 2015, 11:58 PM EDT

    coco crisp getty Getty Images

    A’s left fielder Coco Crisp has been bothered by discomfort in the middle of his right arm for much of spring training, limiting him to seven Cactus League games. And the injury isn’t getting any better.

  8. 2015 Preview: Cincinnati Reds

    Mar 31, 2015, 11:02 PM EDT

    votto getty Getty Images

    Is the fun over in Cincy?

  9. Rays get Erasmo Ramirez from M’s for Mike Montgomery

    Mar 31, 2015, 10:26 PM EDT

    erasmo ramirez getty Getty Images

    As first reported by beat writer Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have acquired right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez from the Mariners in exchange for left-hander Mike Montgomery.

  10. Luke Gregerson officially named Astros’ closer

    Mar 31, 2015, 9:40 PM EDT

    gregerson getty Getty Images

    Gregerson figured to get the job after signing a three-year, $18.5 million free agent contract with Houston in early December and he pitched well enough this spring to fend off any potential competition.

  11. Roberto Osuna makes Blue Jays’ bullpen, will be youngest pitcher in franchise history

    Mar 31, 2015, 8:36 PM EDT

    osuna getty Getty Images

    The 20-year-old right-hander announced the news on his Twitter account Tuesday …

  12. Ken Giles exits Grapefruit League game with back pain

    Mar 31, 2015, 6:54 PM EDT

    ken giles getty Getty Images

    Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com shares the news …

  13. Adam Wainwright named Cardinals’ Opening Night starter

    Mar 31, 2015, 6:09 PM EDT

    wainwirght getty Getty Images

    Adam Wainwright tossed a spring-high 93 pitches in a Grapefruit League appearance Tuesday afternoon against the Marlins and was officially declared the Cardinals’ Opening Night starter after the outing by manager Mike Matheny.

  14. Jose Mijares suspended 50 games for a drug of abuse

    Mar 31, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    jose mijares getty Getty Images

    Lefties never die. But Mijares is going to have a harder time now.

  15. 2015 Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

    Mar 31, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT

    Kevin Cash

    Why is this man smiling when his team appears to be destined for last place?

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Fernandez (4897)
  2. C. Rodon (4247)
  3. Y. Tomas (4091)
  4. A. Rendon (3928)
  5. K. Jansen (3862)
  1. S. Doolittle (3801)
  2. C. Davis (3747)
  3. C. Martinez (3745)
  4. K. Bryant (3713)
  5. J. Verlander (3657)