Report: Napoli holding out for fourth year from Red Sox

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Report: Napoli holding out for fourth year from Red Sox

Having just signed one right-handed bat, the Red Sox reportedly are negotiating for another.

According to a Tweet by former major league GM Jim Bowden -- who now works for ESPN - the Sox are in contract talks with free agent catcherfirst baseman Mike Napoli, who just completed his second season with the Rangers after spending the first five years of his career with the Angels.

The holdup, reports Bowden, is the length of the contract. The Red Sox apparently are offering three years and Napoli, who turned 31 on Halloween, is looking for a four-year deal. Bowden says the Mariners may be willing to offer a fourth year to Napoli, which could force the Red Sox' hand.

Napoli earned 9.4 million last year, so his price tag won't be cheap. Even though his batting average dropped nearly 100 points in 2012 -- from .320 to .227 -- he still hit 24 homers, extending his streak of consecutive seasons with 20 or more homers to five. And while he's only played 19 career games at Fenway Park, he's hit .306 there (19-for-62) with 8 homers, 22 RBI, a .397 on-base percentage, a .710 slugging percentage and a 1.107 OPS.