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Red Sox Winter Meetings Wrap-up

napolic102613One of Boston’s favorite bearded sluggers, Mike Napoli, is returning to the Red Sox.

Napoli and the Red Sox officially agreed to a two-year, $32 million contract on Thursday. To make room for Napoli on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated outfielder Alex Castellanos for assignment.

The Red Sox and Napoli originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract last winter, before reducing the deal to one-year, $5 million contract because of Napoli’s degenerative hip condition. The first baseman earned $13 million through incentives by remaining off the disabled list all throughout the 2013 season. A physical at the end of the season also showed that Napoli’s hips have not gotten any worse since the Red Sox medical staff first discovered the condition last winter.

Napoli finished the 2013 season with a .259 average, 23 home runs, and 92 RBI. After losing two key players from the World Series Championship team- Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia- it was important that the Red Sox retain Napoli, who also played a critical role in 2013. Aside from David Ortiz, Napoli is the team’s biggest power hitter.

Other than re-signing Napoli, the Red Sox remained quiet at the Baseball Winter Meetings. Besides shortstop, the Red Sox are mostly set at every other position. Jackie Bradley JR figures to be the starting centerfielder, while Xander Bogaerts could be the starting shortstop if Stephen Drew does not return.

The Red Sox continue to leave the door open to Drew and it’s possible the shortstop may be back with the Red Sox if he doesn’t find a multi-year deal elsewhere. However, it has been reported that multiple teams are itching to sign Drew. For now, the Sox can continue to wait it out and see how his market develops.

The Red Sox are set at catcher, with A.J. Pierzynski ready to take over as the starter. The team has also bolstered the bullpen with the signing of reliever Edward Mujica, who will serve as a set-up man for closer Koji Uehara.

With Spring Training less than 10 weeks away, the Red Sox roster looks to be almost set. However, GM Ben Cherington still has some fine tuning to do before the Champs set off to defend their title.

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