The Cleveland Indians have signed veteran Mike Napoli to a 1-year $7 million contract. Napoli, a former catcher who was transformed into first baseman with the Red Sox, will presumably be their starting first baseman and replacement designated hitter with Carlos Santana holding that position down.
Napoli came into the league at the age of 24, as a catcher, with the Los Angeles Angels. He would play five seasons in Anaheim before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and quickly after he became a Blue Jay, he was dealt to the Texas Rangers.
After his two years in Texas, in which he batted a career high .320 in his first year and then a below average .227, Napoli went on to sign with the Red Sox in the off season but had a few problems with the contract. What was supposed to be a 3-year $39 million contract, it turned out to be a 1-year $5 million deal with incentives that could have made him the $13 million that was originally on the table.
After a solid offensive year and a good debut playing first base helping the team win the 2013 world series, Napoli, along with his beard, signed a 2-year extension with Boston. He had a good 2014 campaign but a terrible 2015 season where he saw himself get traded back to Texas for the remainder of the season. That move proved to be good as he was able to rediscover his game.
Napoli also had sleep apnea surgery before the 2015 season, and had his jaw reconstructed to help him breathe better in his sleep. Some say that it played a role in his struggles early on.
Now Napoli looks to have success along side his beard like he knows he can. He is a great first baseman who can do damage with the bat and looks to regain his form with the Tribe.