Boston Red Sox: Mike Napoli 1-Year Deal Helps Red Sox Future

Brian Roach@BrianRoachJrCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 01:  Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on October 1, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox and Mike Napoli finally came to terms after about a six-week hiatus from the original three-year deal worth about $39 million. The new deal is worth a base of $5 million, but includes a sum of $8 million in incentives, according to ESPN. These incentives are based on his health and whether or not he lands on the DL in 2013.

This type of deal is really something the Red Sox have failed to accomplish in recent memory. For instance, the J.D. Drew deal never really came into question when the Red Sox found something on his physical that needed to change wording in the contract to protect the Red Sox if he got hurt. The deal never got shortened, and the money was never really taken off the table under Theo Epstein.

Ben Cherington made sure that the deal got done, but not before taking the health of the entire Red Sox team, especially first base, was taken care of for the future.

Luckily for Napoli, Mauro Gomez can help him at first base if he needs some days off to let his hip rest or if he for some reason lands on the DL. Gomez is a solid replacement or platoon option if the Red Sox need it in 2013 and beyond.

The one-year deal was the only option for the Red Sox to make sure the future of the team's success was protected. First base is one of the most important spots on the field, and every team needs a player there who can handle badly thrown balls and tough hops at least a little bit. Napoli can do some of this and the only thing that is iffy about him is the health of his hips.

The 31-year-old really could have gotten more money with the Texas Rangers, but a one-year deal worth less than what he has been paid in recent years might give him the motivation to improve his game during his prime.

At least during this stretch, the Red Sox won't have to rely on the slugger for more than the one season.