Mike Napoli will become a free agent this offseason. But if he gets his wish, he’ll be the Red Sox’ starting first baseman in 2014.
Napoli made it clear at various points throughout the year that he would like to return to the Red Sox next season. The 32-year-old reiterated his stance immediately following the Red Sox’ World Series victory over the Cardinals.
“I want to be here. I love this place,” Napoli told reporters Wednesday. “They’ve treated me so good here. The way they’ve taken care of me, it’s unbelievable. When the time comes, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have some conversations. I hope to be back here next year.”
Napoli, who signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox last offseason, blasted 23 home runs and racked up 92 RBIs in his first year in Boston. He also played in 139 games despite being diagnosed with a hip condition last offseason. In fact, the hip condition never once became an issue. Instead, any pain that Napoli experienced was the result of plantar fasciitis.
“I was going to go out there regardless. But it sucked,” Napoli said of his foot problem. “It’s painful, but you live for these moments and you do whatever you can to stay on the field.”
Napoli, who reportedly had a second cortisone shot at the beginning of the postseason, hit .217 with seven RBIs in the playoffs. He also smacked two big home runs in the ALCS that helped enhance his reputation as a clutch player.