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For Mike Napoli, contract concerns can come later

11.02.13 at 5:39 pm ET
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By his own account, Mike Napoli hasn’t had a lot of time to worry about his forthcoming foray into free agency. He’s been too busy enjoying the afterglow of Wednesday’s World Series victory, suggesting that he hadn’t slept since the Sox claimed their title and he had little intention of doing so in the immediate future.

“It’s pretty amazing. It’s been great. I can’t even explain the feeling,” said Napoli. “I won’t sleep for another, I don’t know, couple of days. I’m going to enjoy it, have fun, it’s been a great time.”

The Duck Boat rides on Saturday represented the culmination of what Napoli depicted as a tremendous experience with the Red Sox, with whom he agreed on a three-year, $39 million deal last winter that had to be renegotiated to a one-year, $5 million deal (with incentives that pushed the first baseman’s earnings back up to $13 million when he avoided the DL) once a degenerative hip condition was identified in the routine contract physical. He performed much to his career norms in 2013, and with no evidence that the hip condition had limited him, the 32-year-old is well-positioned for this offseason. But that was hardly his focus as he prepared to take part in the Sox’ victory parade.

“This is great. People here have been great. It’s been fun,” said Napoli. “I’d like to stay here but it is what it is. I’m pretty sure we’re going to talk and go from there.”

Napoli has, however, made one important decision about his future: The beard stays.

“It’s part of me now,” he said. “I’m going to keep it.”

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