Both the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners are serious about landing free agent Mike Napoli. Napoli became a free agent when the Texas Rangers decided against even giving him a qualifying offer. Now the All-Star catcher is seeking a four-year deal, and it seems the Mariners may be more interested in giving that many years than the Red Sox.
According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, Napoli wants that fourth year on any deal he signs.
Mike Napoli holding out for 4th year from Red Sox...meeting with Mariners who might be willing to give the extra year according to sources
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) November 22, 2012
Some teams have shown a wariness of Napoli because of his diminished returns in 2012 versus his breakout year of 2011. However, Napoli was also battling injury in the latter half of 2012. He suffered a strained quad in August and had to work back from that. In the end, Napoli played in just 108 games, his fewest since 2008. This is a concern for a team looking to sign a player to a potential four-year deal.
Despite the injury concerns, Napoli brings a true offensive threat to any lineup. In his career, Napoli has hit .259/.356/.507 with 146 home runs. In 2012, Napoli hit just .27 but still had 24 home runs. He can provide some pop to a Mariners offense that will likely benefit from Safeco's new dimensions. If he were to land in Boston, we already know that park plays small much like the Ballpark at Arlignton.
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