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WEEI's Rob Bradford is reporting that the Red Sox and Mike Napoli have agreed to terms on a one-year deal. The Sox and Napoli had originally agreed to a three-year deal worth $39 million back on December 3, but Boston's medical staff had concerns after the 31 year old's physical. Yesterday, Jon Heyman reported that a deal would be reached next week, so the fact that Napoli agreed so quickly might suggest that the Sox increased the one-year salary -- Boston was losing leverage as other available first basemen (Michael Morse, Adam Laroche, etc.) were no longer available.

Napoli's injuries were too much of a concern for the Sox to offer three years, but it is interesting that they agreed on a one-year deal, rather than a two-year deal. There are no exciting first base free agents after the 2013 season, and the farm system doesn't project to have anyone at that position ready in the near future, so perhaps there is an option attached to the deal for an additional year. 

Despite the injury concerns, Napoli should be ready for opening day. He is coming off one of a down year at the plate, but hopefully playing a less strenuous position at first base will help him produce throughout the year. Napoli and the Rangers had re-opened discussions, but the slugger ultimately was enticed by more guaranteed playing time in Boston.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman is now reporting that the deal is only worth $5 million over the one year, with performance (and likely playing time) incentives. Either Napoli's hip was much worse than expected, or the Sox told other teams that his hip was much worse than expected to scare away suitors. Either way, $5 million for a player who had the 5th highest WAR over the past five seasons among catchers (and 9th among 1st basemen) is a steal.

Joel Trunfio 1/17/2013 09:40:00 AM Edit
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