First baseman Mike Napoli made it clear after the World Series that he wanted to stay with the Red Sox. He liked his first season in Boston so much that he stuck around for a few weeks after the World Series.
Team officials also wanted Napoli back and on Friday night a two-year, $32 million deal was reached.
“The beard is coming back to Boston!!! Couldn’t be happier!!” Napoli posted on Twitter at 9:09 p.m. WEEI reported first that a deal was in place.
The Red Sox had competition from the Texas Rangers and several other teams on Friday, another busy day for baseball. That served to bring the agreement into place.
The Rangers, major-league sources said, had a more lucrative deal on the table but Napoli elected to stay with the Red Sox. He said several times during and after the season how much he enjoyed playing in Boston and his teammates.
“It’s a great fit for me,” Napoli said following the Series. “This is where I want to stay and I want to work something out. I love playing here, everything about it.”
Napoli was an important piece of the offseason plan for the Red Sox. He hit .259 with an .842 OPS last season, contributing 23 home runs and 92 RBIs to an offense that was the best in the game. The righthanded hitter is important to the middle of the order to balance lefthanded slugger David Ortiz.
See the Globe tomorrow for more on the deal.