Free agent Mike Napoli has signed a one year deal with Boston, reportedly spurning a higher one year offer from Texas
Mike Napoli, who earlier in the offseason had agreed to a 3 year, $39 million deal with the Boston Red Sox that was then negated when his physical revealed issues with his hip, has reportedly agreed to a one year, $5 million deal, although incentives could make it worth up to $13 million.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Rangers recently offered Napoli more on a one year deal than Boston did, but Texas was not in a position to guarantee Napoli an everyday job, whereas in Boston, he will have a "clearly defined role."
Its quite the rollercoaster ride for Napoli, who turned down a 3 year, $38 million extension after the 2011 season. Napoli made $9.4 million in 2012, but is now looking at just a $5 million guaranteed payday for 2013, with the hope that he collects his incentives and shows he's healthy enough to warrant a long-term deal in 2014.
I'm disappointed Napoli decided not to come back to Texas -- at a $6-7 million deal for one year, I'd liked to have him back, even if it meant committing to make him, not Mitch Moreland, the everyday first baseman. If the Rangers weren't comfortable being boxed into that corner, though -- if the Rangers were looking at him as a 400 PA bench guy who would get some time at 1B and DH and maybe catcher, but who wasn't going to get guaranteed playing time, then I can understand why Napoli would prefer Boston, given that he's playing for his next deal.
That being said, there's been a lot of criticism -- including some from me -- levied against the Rangers for not tendering a qualifying offer to Napoli. That qualifying offer would have guaranteed Napoli $13.5 million for 2013 -- less than he'll make in 2013 on his deal with Boston, less than what the Rangers were willing to pay him, and less than even the AAV of the deal that Boston offered then pulled when his physical came back bad.
But at this point, I have a hard time killing the Rangers for not offering the qualifying offer. You can argue Napoli would have rejected it, and thus the Rangers would have gotten a supplemental first rounder anyway, even if he ultimately had to take less than the qualifying offer. But that suddenly looks like a much bigger risk for Texas that he did then.