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December 08. 2013 12:22AM

Napoli returns to Boston with two-year deal

The beard is back.

The Boston Red Sox agreed to a new two-year, $32 million contract with first baseman Mike Napoli on Friday night.

A key member of the Red Sox 2013 World Series title run, Napoli tweeted, "The beard is coming back to Boston!!!" on Friday. "Couldn't be happier!!"During Boston's run to the World Series title, Napoli belted the winning home run in Game 3 and started a three-run second inning in Game 5 with a leadoff homer against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.According to a FOX Sports report, Napoli had one other offer - possibly from the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers or Miami Marlins - but took less money to remain with the Red Sox.

The move comes after the Red Sox brought in one of baseball's most disliked players and lost one of their own most popular players earlier in the week.Hours after news broke that the World Series champions agreed to a one-year, $8.25 million deal with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, free agent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury reached a seven-year, $153 million deal with Boston's archrival, the New York Yankees, on Dec. 3.Retaining Napoli, a fan favorite, is a big step in appeasing fans disappointment with those moves.

Yankees land Beltran

Free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran reached agreement on a three-year, $45 million contract with the New York Yankees, according to reports.

The 36-year-old Beltran, who expressed a desire during his career to one day play for the Yankees, batted .296 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs in 145 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.The Yankees apparently were pursuing a two-year deal but agreed to go to three years after losing free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners on Friday.Beltran is expected to split time between right field and designated hitter next season. The Yankees' returning outfielders include Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano. Ellsbury also signed with the Yankees earlier in the week.According to reports, the Kansas City Royals also were pursuing Beltran, who was a five-time All-Star with the New York Mets before he was traded to the San Francisco Giants in July 2011.

The veteran has continued to be productive late in his career, making the National League All-Star team the past two years.


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