Signing Mike Napoli looked like it was going to be the Red Sox’ first big move of the offseason. Seven weeks and a few transactions later, signing Napoli might be the Red Sox’ last big move of the offseason.
If it is, it’s Ben Cherington‘s best work.
While the Red Sox began to take some heat from those insisting the club should explore other first-base options, Cherington and Co. remained patient and kept their focus primarily on Napoli, and they’ve now reportedly inked the veteran to a very club-friendly deal. Napoli, according to reports, will earn a $5 million base salary in 2013, and could play his way to a $13 million payday if he doesn’t spend any time on the disabled list as a result of the hip injury that elongated the negotiations.
That’s a far cry from the three-year, $39 million contract the two sides reportedly agreed upon back at the winter meetings in December. It’s also a much better deal for the Red Sox in the wake of what was starting to take on “Hipgate” status.