Hipping up to Boston: Napoli's exit physical shows improvement

Mike Napoli's exit physical shows improvement on his degenerative hip
condition, which should boost his free-agent value (USA Today)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

It must be something in that Dirty Water.

Sean McAdam of Comcast Sports Net is reporting today that Mike Napoli’s exit physical with the Red Sox shows that his hip looks better now than when he signed with Boston last winter.

Napoli had initially signed a three-year, $39-million deal with Boston but after a degenerative hip condition was discovered during Napoli’s medical exam, the contract was restructured into an incentive-laden one-year deal for $5 million.

Napoli earned the maximum $8 million in incentives by being on the active roster for 165 days in 2013, bringing his total one-year take in Boston to $13 million.

The 6-foot, 220-pound first baseman hit .259 with 23 homers and 92 RBI for Boston in 2013 and won his first World Series ring in an eight-year career, hitting .300 with two doubles, two homers and two RBI in the ALCS against Detroit, including a clutch solo bomb off Justin Verlander in Game Three. 

Whether or not the Red Sox will be able to re-sign the bearded free-agent behemoth remains to be seen — although Napoli has previously stated he would like to remain in Boston — but this news will no doubt also sweeten the pot for his other potential suitors.

On Monday, the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer of $14.1 million for one year to Napoli — as well as centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and shortstop Stephen Drew. Napoli can accept the overture and play next season with a one-year deal or dip his toe in the free-agent waters, but he is expected to choose the latter option with his value at a high after the World Series win.

Keep the Faith. Drink the Dirty Water. Connect with me on Twitter: @jan_doh