According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Sox are “doing extensive background work” on Napoli, who is currently a free agent after playing the last two seasons with the Rangers.
Napoli is a catcher by trade, but the Red Sox could use the 31-year-old at first base and occasionally as a designated hitter against lefties. Boston, of course, is already a bit crowded behind the plate with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and the recently signed David Ross all vying for playing time as of right now.
The Red Sox will likely have some competition from their biggest rival if they’re truly serious about signing Napoli, though. The veteran backstop is drawing interest from the Yankees, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The interest likely stems from New York possibly losing catcher Russell Martin, who is also a free agent.
Napoli only hit .227 with 24 home runs and 56 RBIs in 108 games in 2012, so his stock dropped a bit from where it was following a 2011 campaign in which he hit .320 with 30 home runs and 75 RBIs. However, he could still benefit from playing home games at Fenway Park, where he has historically hit well.
Former general manager and current ESPN.com analyst Jim Bowden predicts that Napoli could command in the neighborhood of a three-year, $27 million deal.
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