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Red Sox agree to sign Mike Napoli for three years, $39M

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Hard-hitting Mike Napoli is shipping up to Boston. (US Presswire)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Red Sox have agreed to sign free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli for three years and $39 million, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.

Winter Meetings Central

Napoli, 31, hit .227/.343/.469 with 24 homers and 56 RBI last season for the Rangers. In 2011, Napoli had a career year, hitting .320/.414/.631 with 30 homers and 75 RBI in only 113 games.

Napoli caught 72 games last season, playing first base in 28 games and serving as the designated hitter nine times. The Red Sox have a DH in David Ortiz and have several options at catcher, including Jarrod Saltalamacchia, newly-signed David Ross and prospect Ryan Lavarnway. They do, however, seem to have a hole at first base, so the smart money is on Napoli spending lots of time there.

Also of note, the likelihood that a catcher (like Saltalamacchia) gets dealt is high. Even if Napoli is slated to play a lot of first base, he's a backup plan at catcher, and there's no reason to carry so many major-league level backstops.

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