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It's official: Napoli has signed

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  January 22, 2013 02:48 PM

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The Red Sox have officially signed Mike Napoli to a one-year contract, the announcement coming a few minutes ago.

Napoli initially agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal on Dec. 3. But an issue with his physical, believed to be a hip injury, led to a one-year contract worth $5 million with incentives that could bring the value to $13 million.

Napoli will wear No. 12. The team press release referred to him as a first baseman. Napoli has been primarily a catcher in his career but has started 118 games at first base, 24 of them last season.

Napoli, 31, hit 24 home runs in 108 games for the Rangers in 2012, his first All-Star season. It was his third consecutive year with at least 24 homers. Napoli ranked sixth in home run rate (14.7 AB/HR) and eighth in walk rate (56 walks, 7.5 PA/BB) among American League players with at least 400 plate appearances this past season. Adam Dunn was the only major leaguer with better rates in both categories (13.2 AB/HR, 6.2 PA/BB).

Some other interesting stats from the Sox:

Napoli saw 4.41 pitches per plate appearance, trailing only Dunn (4.43) and A.J. Ellis (4.43) among big leaguers. His career rate of 4.27 pitches seen per plate appearance ranks fifth among major leaguers active through 2012 (min. 2,500 PA).

Among American Leaguers with at least 700 plate appearances over the last two seasons, Napoli ranks fourth with a .931 OPS behind Miguel Cabrera (1.017), Jose Bautista (.990), and David Ortiz (.981).

He set career highs in most offensive categories in 2011, including a .320 batting average, 30 home runs, 75 RBI, and 58 walks in 113 games.

Napoli is one of six American Leaguers with at least 20 homers in each of the last five seasons. Among all major leaguers, only Jose Bautista (14.0) and Albert Pujols (14.8) have averaged fewer at-bats per home run than Napoli (14.9) in those five years (min. 1,500 PA).

To make room for Napoli on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated RHP Chris Carpenter for assignment. He was one of the players they received from the Chicago Cubs as compensation for Theo Epstein.

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