Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Napoli Returns To Boston, Focus Shifts To Shortstop/Center Field


Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Cherington got his man. Mike Napoli will be in Boston for the next two years while earning 32 million dollars. According to WEEI, Napoli had a larger offer on the table from the Texas Rangers, but Napoli wanted to remain with The Red Sox.  Napoli is the second player to side with The Sox over others. A.J. Pierzynski also chose a smaller contract to join the defending World Series Champions.

Cherington is putting things together nicely just before baseball’s Winter Meetings begin next week. He now has a catcher and his first baseman and will be looking to figure out the situation at center field and at short stop. Xander Bogaerts, who played well in the post season, could fill the void at shortstop replacing Stephen Drew or at third base if Will Middlebrooks isn’t efficient. The team is still pursuing Drew in an attempt to bring him back in 2014.

The center field position is more of a question mark. While there was no way that Boston was willing to pay up for the return of Jacoby Ellsbury, his departure has left a big void in The Red Sox outfield. It would be easy enough to shift Shane Victorino from right field to center and insert Daniel Nava, but Victorino is more suited to stay put. Jackie Bradley Jr. has the speed to be just as good as Ellsbury was in center defensively, but his bat has not proven to come anywhere near the Ellsbury’s production level. Finding a quality bat in center field will be key in the success of The Red Sox next year.

Tags: 1B Boston Red Sox Contract Mike Napoli