Could The Boston Red Sox Use A Backup First Baseman?

mike napoliIt is no secret — when Mike Napoli gets hot, he is one of the most feared hitters in the game. Some of the time however, he is not a major threat.

He finished the year respectably hitting .248/.370/.419 in 415 at-bats while clipping 17 homeruns. Although his .370 OBP is great and his power is not too shabby either, the Boston Red Sox may want to consider getting a backup first baseman once again.
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In 2013, and for most of 2014, Boston had Mike Carp as their backup first baseman. Carp was effective in 2013 hitting .300/.367/.537 in 190 at-bats against right-handed pitching. In 2014, he proved ineffective against everyone.

There are a few simple reasons as to why Boston may want to get Mike Napoli a backup.

First of all, he is inconsistent. Looking at his batting average by month, he hit .301 .186 .311 .257 .175 .212 in each month respectively. He hit just .216 after the All-Star break despite still managing to slug seven homers.
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Second of all, he has an injury history. Dealing with a number of injuries including ones on his finger, toe and back, it seems certain he will not be able to play 162 games next season. Not to mention he is dealing with sleep apnea on top of that. Injuries explain his late season struggles, but it was clear Boston would not be prepared to lose him in regular season action next season.

Finally, there are his splits. Napoli destroys left-handed pitching and hit .300/.450/.473 off southpaws and just .230/.339/.400 off northpaws which is not too bad, but Boston could do better — especially when he is slumping.

On the other hand, a player who Boston may potentially sign who plays first base as his secondary position crushes right-handed pitching. Slashing .317/.363/.461 off northpaws, perhaps he sees some reps at first if he puts on a Red Sox uniform.
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Regardless of whether or not Boston does sign Sandoval, they will need another first baseman. Mike Napoli is no Iron Man meaning the team will need someone else to fill in every once in a while.

Even if it is the second coming of Jeff Bailey who they keep in their AAA stockpile, Boston needs that depth at their disposal.