It should come as no surprise, but free agent first baseman Mike Napoli has reportedly declined the qualifying offer. It was expected he would, as he already said he would check out the market after receiving a multi-year offer from the Red Sox, but Alex Speier reports that, in addition to that knowledge, Napoli is also confident in declining the QO due to the latest MRI on his hip.
Napoli is a free agent once more thanks to last off-season's discovery of the degenerative hip condition avascular necrosis. His three-year, $39 million pact became a $5 million, one-year deal with incentives that eventually brought him back up to $13 million as originally planned, and he is a free agent again already because of it, albeit one with draft pick compensation tied to him this time around thanks to Boston's qualifying offer.
The first baseman is confident that his condition won't be an issue this time around, however, as he has a year's worth of MRI showing that there is no additional damage caused to the area to pile on top of his strong season at first base. This could very well lead to Napoli ending up back in Boston, but it won't be on the qualifying offer.
The Orioles are the only other club with a known interest in Napoli, as they want to improve their production from the designated hitter slot. Were they to sign Napoli, they would have both his services and those of Chris Davis to split between first and DH. Should Napoli sign anywhere besides Boston, the Red Sox will receive a 2014 first-round compensation draft pick.