The Boston Red Sox have rewarded first baseman Mike Napoli with a two-year deal worth $32 million. Last winter, Napoli and the Red Sox initially agreed to a three-year contract worth $39 million, but concerns over Napoli's hip turned it into a one-year, $5 million contract that incentives could push to $13 million. Napoli maxed out all of the incentives, and the whole situation ended up giving him an extra $6 million.
As Boston's primary first baseman in 2013, Napoli raked. In 139 games, Napoli hit .259/.360/.482 with 23 homers and shockingly provided some excellent defense at first for the World Champions. He got especially hot down the stretch, homering six times and walking 19 times in 79 September plate appearances.
If the 32-year old Napoli's hip holds up, this contract is just a drop in the bucket for the Red Sox. Even though a lot of Napoli's success was based on a sky-high BABIP last year, and he whiffs as much as anyone in the game, he still has tremendous raw power and can take a walk at the dish. Perhaps more importantly, Napoli gives protection to David Ortiz in Boston's loaded lineup, ensuring that Big Papi isn't intentionally walked every game when he falls into a hot streak.