This past offseason, Mike Napoli and the Red Sox originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million contact – pending a physical. However, this physical cost Napoli tens of millions of dollars as a diagnosis of avascular necrosis (AVN), a degenerative hip condition, caused the Red Sox to renegotiate the deal. Napoli instead signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the ability to earn an additional $8 million based on games played and total plate appearances. As he stayed off the DL in 2013, Napoli did in fact earn the full $8 million – $13 million in total – as he eclipsed 165 days on the active roster.
Napoli is once again a free agent and has a chance to test the waters, although he understandably has expressed a desire to stay in Boston. As the White Sox recently signed Jose Abreu, Napoli is the clear number one power-hitting free agent on the market. He has the highest career Isolated Power (ISO) of the entire 2014 free agent class, and only PED user Nelson Cruz eclipsed his 2013 mark.
Power on 2014 Free Agent Market
2014 Free Agent
In terms of raw power, even at 32 years of age in 2014, Napoli has to be considered the top available option due to Cruz’s PED history. However, Napoli’s .223 ISO in 2013 was his lowest since 2009. Furthermore, in addition to his past injuries (145 career games on DL) and AVN diagnosis, there are other concerns with Napoli – namely his inability to consistently put the ball in play.