NASHVILLE — The Red Sox have a three-year deal in place with first baseman Mike Napoli, the Globe has confirmed. It is worth $39 million according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
This fits in with the team’s plan to avoid long-term deals.
Napoli has a .931 OPS the last two seasons. Among righthanded hitters, only Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp are higher. As was the case with Jonny Gomes, the Red Sox zeroed in on a righthanded hitter who should perform well at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox are 79-83 at Fenway Park the last two seasons. Signing Napoli and Gomes are clearly evidence of the team’s desire to improve their offense at home. Both also are players who will take a walk and grind through at-bats, a skill the lineup was missing last season.
Napoli was a player the Red Sox have been targeting for a long time, going back to the summer. John Henry was telling people then that Napoli was a player he thought would be a good fit.
The Sox have now have eight lineup pieces in place: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Napoli, Gomes and their assorted catchers. They need a right fielder.
Nick Swisher is available, as is Cody Ross. The Sox are talking to both players.