The Boston Red Sox signed former Texas Rangers catcher and first baseman Mike Napoli to a three- year, $39 million contract, MLB.com said, adding a slugger who’s hit a combined 54 home runs over the past two Major League Baseball seasons.
The deal won’t be officially announced until Napoli passes a physical, MLB.com said, though Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington acknowledged that Napoli could be coming to Boston.
“We’ve made some progress and he’s a guy who gets on base, has power and could be a good fit for our ballpark,” Cherington was quoted by MLB.com as saying yesterday at baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 75 career at-bats at Boston’s Fenway Park, Napoli has hit .307 with nine home runs and 20 runs batted in.
Napoli, 31, made his first All-Star team last season, when he batted .227 with 24 homers and 56 RBI for the Rangers. The previous season -- his first in Texas after five years with the Los Angeles Angels -- Napoli hit .320 with 30 homers and 75 RBI.
Napoli last season started 72 games at catcher, 28 at first base and appeared in nine games as the Rangers’ designated hitter. He could see more time at first base in Boston, as the Red Sox also signed David Ross this offseason to join Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway at catcher.
The Red Sox in August sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a nine-player trade that brought first baseman James Loney to Boston. Loney yesterday signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that’s worth $2 million, MLB.com said.
“He could catch, he can play first,” Cherington said of Napoli. “If he’s here, we imagine he’d do some of both but that would be up to our manager to figure out.”
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