UPDATE - 11:22 AM - The Red Sox have a three-year, $39 million deal in place with Napoli, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com:
Napoli has deal with red sox, 3 yrs, $39M— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012
ORIGINAL - 11:10 AM - The Boston Red Sox are close to an agreement with free-agent first baseman/catcher Mike Napoli on a three-year contract, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI:
According to a major league source, the Red Sox are closing in on an agreement with free agent Mike Napoli. The agreement is believed to be for three years...
Napoli figures to be the Red Sox' primary first base option.
Napoli has been one of the Red Sox top free agent targets this winter due to his "history of consistent offensive production" and the fact that the Texas Rangers didn’t extend him a qualifying offer, meaning he won’t cost Boston a draft pick, according to Bradford.
Bradford adds that Napoli has "been an absolute force" when hitting at Fenway Park, boasting a line of .306/.397/.710 with seven home runs over 19 regular season games. While some teams were targeting the 31-year-old as a catcher, he figures to be the Red Sox primary first base option if he signs.
Napoli was seeking a four-year deal this winter, but in order to avoid the extra year the Red Sox reportedly offered the free agent more money for a three-year contract, according to Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.
Napoli hit .227/.343/.469 with nine doubles, two triples and 24 home runs over 352 at-bats last season with the Rangers. He owns a career line of .259/.356/.507.