Mike Napoli Says ‘I Wouldn’t See Why Not’ on Chances of Returning to Red Sox in 2014

Mike NapoliMike Napoli is still calling Boston home. And if he gets his way, that won’t change any time soon.

Napoli has stayed local since the Red Sox’ World Series victory over the Cardinals, and according to WEEI.com, he plans to call Boston home through the end of the year despite his ongoing free agency. Both Napoli and the Red Sox have expressed an interest in continuing their relationship in 2014, and the slugger still sees that as the best-case scenario.

“I know what to expect this year. I’m just going to let the process happen,” Napoli told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford prior to an autograph signing Saturday. “I told [agent] Brian [Grieper] I don’t want to do the whole flying around here and there, meeting people. I’m just being patient, seeing my options. I do want to play here. You just have to go through that whole process and see what’s going to go on.”

The Red Sox offered Napoli a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer at the beginning of free agency, but the 32-year-old rejected it to pursue a multiyear deal on the open market. Napoli’s desire to remain in Boston hasn’t wavered, though, and it sounds as if there’s still a good chance that he’ll be part of the Red Sox’ World Series defense next season.

“I wouldn’t see why not,” Napoli reportedly said when asked about the chances of him re-signing with the Sox. “I’ve got a great relationship with [Red Sox general manager] Ben [Cherington] and this whole organization. Hopefully it will come down to something where I come back here.

“But it’s part of the process. Some teams have needs. Of course I’m going to have my ears open. That’s part of free agency.”

Napoli hit .259 with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs in 2013, while also providing plus-defense in his first season as a full-time first baseman. An end-of-the-year MRI revealed that his hip condition did not worsen, so Napoli is certainly in a good place as the hot stove continues to burn.

Napoli reportedly said that there’s no timeline for his decision this offseason. Right now, he’s taking everything in stride, with the ideal result being a Beantown reunion.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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