Red Sox Sign Napoli to Three-Year, $39 Million Deal, ESPN Says

Free agent Mike Napoli agreed on a three-year, $39 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, ESPN reported today.

Napoli, who played at first base and catcher last year for the Texas Rangers, will play primarily at first base for Boston, the network said citing an unidentified person with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

Red Sox spokeswoman Pam Kenn didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the report. Baseball’s Winter Meetings are under way in Nashville, Tennessee.

Napoli hit .227 last season with 56 runs batted in and 24 home runs, his fifth consecutive season with at least 20 homers. Those numbers were down from 2011, when he hit .320 with 30 home runs and 75 RBI, all career highs.

The Red Sox were 69-93 in 2012, their worst record in 47 years, and finished last in the five-team American League East for the first time since the divisions were reformatted prior to the 1994 season. The team fired manager Bobby Valentine in October after one season, and replaced him with John Farrell.

Napoli never has played first base for more than 70 games in a season, which he did in 2010, and never caught more than the 96 games he caught in 2009. Last year he caught 72 games and played in 28 games at first base.

Boston’s Fenway Park, with its 37-foot-tall “Green Monster” left-field wall, has proved beneficial for right-handed hitters like Napoli. He has hit .306 with seven home runs and 17 RBI in 19 games at Fenway, and his on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, a statistic known as OPS, is 1.107 at the ballpark, compared with .863 for his total career and .812 last season, according to

Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Rays agreed with free-agent first baseman James Loney on a one-year, $2 million deal, according to ESPN. Loney hit .249 last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Red Sox.

The San Diego Padres agreed on a one-year, $3 million contract with starting pitcher Jason Marquis, and the Rangers agreed on a one-year deal with catcher Geovany Soto, ESPN said.

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