Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli bracing himself for possible trade deadline relocation

Rob Bradford
July 24, 2015 - 8:48 am

HOUSTON -- Shane Victorino has said he was wants to live out the life of his three-year contract with the Red Sox, using these final days before the non-waiver trade deadline as an opportunity to "go make it hard on [the front office]." He isn't alone in his sentiments. One of the other members of the Red Sox who is living life in the last year of their deal, Mike Napoli, has also started to feel the reality as July 31 draws closer. "I try not to look too far, but I know this is a business," Napoli said. "It's hard for me because I love it here so much. But the way things are going now, it's pretty rough. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future. I really try not to think about that." But these days, with the Red Sox residing 12 games back of first place in the American League East, it's becoming increasingly more difficult for Napoli to not think about it. The first baseman could very well join Victorino, Craig Breslow and Justin Masterson as a piece which will be attempted to be sold off by the Red Sox at the deadline due to their contract status. With Napoli, the likelihood has gotten a bit more realistic in recent days thanks to somewhat of a resurgence. While the Red Sox would surely have to take on a good chunk of what is left of the $16 million owed this season in any deal, the 33-year-old was shown enough life of late -- hitting .389 with a 1.143 OPS on the Sox' disastrous seven-game road trip -- that a team might have interest. Games like Thursday night's performance, in which Napoli notched three hits for the second time this season (two doubles, home run), might have distracted potential suitors somewhat from relying solely on a woeful first half. And even if Napoli isn't dealt before July 31, his run as a Red Sox still might come to an end prematurely thanks to an August deal. (Remember, he was almost dealt to the Sox after they claimed him on waivers from the Angels in 2010.) While it is unlikely Napoli would return to the Red Sox beyond this season even if he remained with the team for the duration of his two-year deal, it doesn't make the prospects of moving on any easier for the 10-year big league veteran. "I think it's the best place in the world if you have a winning ball club," said Napoli, who bought a house in Boston after signing his two-year, $32 million deal prior to the 2014 season. "I think that's the frustrating thing, to not have a winning ball club. We're a good team, but we're just underachieving. We'll just have to try and make the best of it."