Mike Napoli is entering the final season of a two-year, $32MM contract with the Red Sox, but the first baseman tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that his hope is to not only re-sign with Boston, but to remain with the Red Sox until he’s ready to retire. “I’d love to finish my career here,” says Napoli, who underwent surgery to correct a lifelong battle with sleep apnea this winter. “And with this surgery, I think it’s going to put a lot of years on my career, just being able to stay healthy, my body recouping. We’ve got a good team, and I like it so much here. It fits me well.”
As Lauber writes, Napoli and his gregarious personality have taken to the city and its community; he’s a frequent attendee of Bruins games, owns a place near the Beacon Hill neighborhood of the city and has celebrated both the 2013 World Series and Super Bowl XLIX victories with fans in public.
Napoli isn’t without some health concerns, as his original three-year, $39MM contract with the Sox was reduced to a one-year $5MM (plus $8MM worth of incentives — all of which he reached) after his physical revealed avascular necrosis (AVN) in each of his hips — a degenerative bone tissue disorder. However, that issue has done little to curb his production since joining the BoSox. Napoli has batted .254/.365/.453 with 40 homers over the past two seasons, and one would think that a portion of his power dip in 2014 could be attributable to a dislocated/sprained finger that sidelined him for two weeks in May. Napoli also dealt with a foot injury at season’s end, but the Sox are likely encouraged by the fact that his hips appear to be holding up just fine.
Should he reach the open market next year, Napoli would be in competition with a much younger Chris Davis and a slightly older Justin Morneau (presuming his $9MM mutual option is not exercised) as the primary options for teams in search of first base help.