Report: Mike Napoli Talks ‘Picking Up,’ Reaching ‘Critical Stage’

Mike NapoliMike Napoli and the Red Sox might be entering a crossroad.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, talks involving Napoli have reached a “critical stage.” The slugger reportedly has an offer from another club that the Red Sox need to match or exceed.

It’s unclear which team offered Napoli said contract, but Rosenthal reported earlier Friday that the Rangers and Marlins are interested in the free-agent first baseman. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Mariners are also in the mix, although Rosenthal suggests that the Rangers seem like the biggest threat to end the Red Sox’ quest to re-sign Napoli.

Napoli has made it clear this offseason that he wants to continue playing in Boston — something that Rosenthal also noted. The Red Sox have made clear their interest in continuing the relationship as well, with manager John Farrell even saying this week that Boston is doing everything it can to keep both Napoli and shortstop Stephen Drew, who is also a free agent. Napoli is the best first baseman — and perhaps best source of power — available on the open market, though, so it makes sense that other teams are pushing for his services.

Napoli slugged 23 homers and drove in 92 runs in his first season in Boston after inking a one-year pact last winter. He also exceeded expectations defensively and stayed healthy throughout the entire season, putting him into a position to land a multiyear contract this offseason.

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