Mike Napoli Understanding Of Difficult Situation Facing Boston Red Sox


July 19, 2015

The clock seemingly is ticking for Mike Napoli. The Boston Red Sox first baseman knows it.

The Red Sox, who entered Sunday seven games under .500 (42-49) and 7 1/2 games back of the New York Yankees in the American League East, need to decide soon how they?re going to approach the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline. Boston could decide to sell pieces, and Napoli, who?s in the second year of a two-year contract he signed before the 2014 season, is a candidate to be moved.

“Absolutely. That’s just the business of this game,” Napoli told WEEI.com?s Rob Bradford before Saturday?s game against the Los Angeles Angels of being aware that his contract makes him more expendable. “Guys on one-year contracts, sometimes they want to get something out of you. That’s just how it is in this game.

“It’s nothing I worry about. I come here to do my job every day. But I’m aware. If you say you’re not, you’re lying.?

Napoli?s looming free agency isn?t the only factor at play. The 33-year-old slugger entered Sunday?s game against the Halos hitting .191 with a .294 on-base percentage and 80 strikeouts in 313 plate appearances this season. Boston?s first base production has been among the worst in baseball.

The Red Sox have stuck with Napoli to this point, hoping the 10-year-old veteran eventually will right the ship, as he?s done in previous seasons. But it?s possible the organization?s patience is running thin. Brock Holt started at first base Saturday night against a right-handed starter and could do so with regularity moving forward. The Red Sox need to determine whether it?s worth keeping Napoli around.

“It is (a race against time),” Napoli told Bradford. “It’s kind of hard, too, because where are my opportunities going to be to be able to do that? I’m the type that needs to play every day to get through it and be fine. I need a consistent plan to be able to be back where I need to be. It’s going to be the challenge. You know how it is in this city. You have to win.”

Napoli?s confidence hasn?t wavered — ?I?m going to hit,? he told Bradford — so perhaps a change of scenery could trigger a renaissance. Either way, the breakup between Napoli and the Red Sox sure won?t be easy if/when it happens. A whole bunch of mutual admiration exists.

“I love it here. I won a championship here. I have a place in Boston where I live. I love the city,? Napoli told Bradford. ?But it’s a business and there are things that happen. With the situation we have, all of us can’t play at once.”

Napoli has been a consummate professional throughout his career and throughout his two-plus seasons with Boston. He’s not going to suddenly change despite the uncertainty surrounding his future.

Click for more on Napoli’s situation >>

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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