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?
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.