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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Boston's Favorite Party Animal Returns For 2 More Years of Drunken Hilarity

I hadn't really thought of this but besides David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli might have edged his way up to the top three of my personal rankings of favorite current Red Sox. Sure he strikes out too much but it's hard to argue with his clutch ability especially in the postseason. Coming off a World Series title in his first season in Boston, I felt like the Red Sox had to bring him back no questions asked.

Apparently Red Sox GM Ben Cherington agreed too as tonight Boston signed Napoli to a two-year deal worth $32 million. Coming on the same day that the Mariners threw a ridiculous amount of money and 10 years at Robinson Cano while the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year contract that won't expire until he's 40, this seemed actually reasonable (a mostly foreign concept in MLB these days).

Last season Napoli appeared in 139 games, hitting 23 homers, 92 RBIs (career-high), 38 doubles and he scored 79 runs with a .259 batting average, .360 OBP and .482 SLG. I'm still not convinced their quack medical staff didn't make up the shady thing about Napoli's hips having a degenerative condition. Huh? In 15 playoff games, he hit .217, .357 OBP and .482 SLG with two homers, seven RBIs, four doubles and five runs. Oh and he was perfectly serviceable at first base all season which is much more than we expected.

He struggled for most of October but true to his reputation, he stepped up when Boston needed him most-namely his homers in the ALCS vs. Detroit, both came in one-run wins. At 32, he's in basically the prime of his slugging career and he obviously loves the city (he still has that long, shaggy beard). He's a winner and very entertaining, two traits that are hard to find in MLB or in baseball players in general.

I'll drink to two more years of Napoli on the Red Sox.

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