Mike NapoliIt was believed at one point last offseason that Mike Napoli was going to sign a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox. The deal soon decreased to a one-year, $5 million pact — worth up to $13 million based on incentives — to alleviate any of the Red Sox’ concerns about Napoli’s hip condition known as avascular necrosis.

Not only did Napoli not show any symptoms of his hip condition, but he also put together a very solid season for the Red Sox en route to their World Series title. He compiled 578 plate appearances over 139 regular-season games, and, as a result, received the full $13 million for 2013.

Now, Napoli is a free agent, and the Red Sox must decide how much they’re willing to shell out to keep the power-hitting first baseman in Boston. The relationship appears to be as strong as ever, and the Red Sox could certainly use his pop in the middle of their order, so it’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out. Napoli has made it clear that he’d like to return in 2014.

Napoli hit .259 with 23 home runs, 92 RBIs, a .360 on-base percentage and a .842 OPS. While he did strike out a club-record 187 times, it’s hard to complain about the overall results, especially since he also exceeded expectations defensively in his first year as a full-time first baseman.

The Red Sox seem to want Napoli back, and Napoli seemingly wants to be back. We’ve seen how free agency can be, though, so it’s not exactly a guarantee that his next game will be with Boston. The Red Sox extended a $14.1 million qualifying offer to Napoli earlier this week, but it will likely take more than that to keep him around.

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