Mike Napoli’s three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox was reworked into a one-year, $5 million deal after concerns about the health status of his hip, but he’s earned back some of that money via incentives.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that by being on the active roster for 165 days this season Napoli has earned the maximum $8 million in incentives, making it a one-year, $13 million contract. That’s still a long way from three years and $39 million, but Napoli should be able to snag a one- or two-year deal as a free agent this offseason that will bring the total money relatively close.
It’ll be interesting to see what the market is for Napoli this time around. He’s been healthy, moving away from catcher has allowed him to log a career-high 534 plate appearances, and his .838 OPS almost matches his .858 career mark, although the position switch means his offense is level valuable too. Can he get a two-year, $26 million deal this winter?
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.