Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 12/3/12
The Boston Red Sox shored up their offense a bit by agreeing to a three year, $39 million deal with 31-year old free agent catcher/DH/first baseman Mike Napoli. Napoli joins a complicated Boston catching contingent that includes newly signed backup (yet, not a backup) David Ross, along with incumbent Jarrod Saltalamacchia and prospect Ryan Lavarnway (who can't catch). With re-signed DH David Ortiz also in the fold, I'd expect Napoli to be getting a lot of playing time at first base, where he played 450 innings over the last two seasons for the Rangers. However, I still think something is going on in Boston with their glut of catchers. Lavarnway or Saltalamacchia could be dealt for more offensive help, with the Ross/Napoli duo taking a lion's share of the reps behind the plate along with the other remaining Boston catcher. Of course, Napoli's signing is also going to start stirring up the rumors of Josh Hamilton signing in Boston. The Red Sox don't have a ton of money committed to Napoli (and really, $39 million over three seasons is much less than anyone thought Napoli would get after his 2011 season), and I don't think this contract would prevent them from getting involved with Hamilton as well. It's interesting to see what's going to happen in Boston, but Ben Cherington definitely isn't standing pat after a disastrous 2013 season. Napoli will help them out a lot offensively, but I'm not sure if he's as much of a game changer as is being widely assumed. [follow]

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

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