Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/22/13
Nearly two months later, it’s official. Mike Napoli is a member of the Boston Red Sox. The Sox announced Tuesday that they have signed Napoli to a one-year contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, the club has designated right-hander Chris Carpenter for assignment. The announcement comes after a long process in which Napoli and the Red Sox reportedly reopened negotiations following a hip issue being detected in the free-agent first baseman during his physical with the club. When news broke of Napoli signing with the Red Sox back at the winter meetings in early December, his contract was reported to be worth $39 million over three years. Numerous reports last week indicated that Napoli’s new one-year deal is for $5 million, and could jump to as much as $13 million based on incentives. Napoli, who has spent much of his career serving as a catcher, figures to be the Red Sox’ Opening Day first baseman. We’ll have to wait and see if the hip injury that’s reportedly plagued Napoli becomes an issue, but if healthy, the 31-year-old should provide Boston with plenty of pop in the middle of  the order, in addition to a very patient approach at the dish. Napoli hit just .227 with 24 home runs and 56 RBIs in 108 games last season, but he put together a very impressive campaign in 2011. He had 30 home runs, a .320 average and a .414 on-base percentage while helping to lead the Rangers to within one out of a World Series victory. Carpenter, who arrived in Boston as compensation for Theo Epstein, appeared in just eight games with the Red Sox last season. The 27-year-old hurler started the year on the disabled list, and then pitched well in the minors before ultimately earning a September call-up. Click here for an opinion on the Mike Napoli signing >> Photo via Facebook/Mike Napoli
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