Hold off on buying that Mike Napoli jersey as a Christmas gift for your favorite Red Sox fan.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan . . .
Mike Napoli's return to Boston is far from a certainty. Source says he wants to shop around after receiving a multi-year offer from Red Sox.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 8, 2013
The history between the Sox and Napoli, of course, is known to all. The sides settled on a three-year, $39 million contract last December but the Red Sox backed off when Napoli's pre-signing physical uncovered a serious hip issue. They eventually settled on a one-year, $5 million deal with playing-time incentives that would enable Napoli to earn the $13 million they'd originally agreed upon.
Napoli stayed healthy and easily reached the incentives, and the Sox -- who also made him the $14.1 million qualifying offer that teams extend to free agents they want to keep -- reportedly made a multiyear proposal to keep him in Boston. But even though Napoli repeatedly told one and all how much he loves it here and wants to stay, he also apparently is willing to see what he's worth on the open market.
The Mariners were a finalist for his services last year, and presumably would be hot on his trail this time around. Multiple media sources also speculate that the Orioles, who could use an upgrade as designated hitter, would be interested, as well.
Napoli was one of the Sox' leading run producers last year, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 92 runs while batting .259 with a .360 on-base percentage and a .482 slugging percentage. The hole in his game: He struck out 187 times.