It was going to happen sooner or later.

On Friday, the Red Sox traded first baseman Mike Napoli to the Rangers for a player to be named later or cash. The Sox tried to deal him at the trade deadline, but there weren’t many takers.

Napoli was of no use to the Red Sox as his contract is up at the end of the season and there was little-to-no chance the team would have re-signed him for next year. By still being in Boston, he was taking playing time away from players that the Red Sox want to get a good look at – namely Travis Shaw and potentially Allen Craig.

It’s been a tough contract year for Napoli, as for the season he’s batting just .207 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. He has picked up his play a little bit since the All-Star break to make it worth a team taking a chance on him. The Rangers were that team, as since the All-Star break Napoli is hitting .267 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 18 games.

While some may look at Napoli’s season being a bust, his three-year career in Boston certainly wasn’t.

The first baseman played a major role in the Red Sox’ 2013 World Series title, with no bigger moment than his mammoth home run in Game 3 against Justin Verlander in Detroit – the difference in the Red Sox’ 1-0 win, which gave them a 2-1 series lead in the ALCS.

“He was in the middle of some real key moments — big hits through the postseason, a big home run in Detroit,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “It worked out really well. We had an opportunity to re-sign him and he wanted to do that after 2013, and obviously our hope at that time was that we would continue to have team success and he would be a big part of that. It hasn’t worked out quite as well since then.”

Arguably the most memorable moment from Napoli’s time in Boston were the images of him running up and down Boylston Street with his shirt off late in the night following the World Series parade. He quickly became a fan favorite with his big beard and he fell in love with Boston, residing in the city year-round after the World Series title.

Many fans were upset upon hearing Napoli will no longer be in a Red Sox uniform, but it was only a matter of time before it happened and Napoli will be playing for a team he’s already spent two seasons with and a team which has a chance to win now – something he wouldn’t have in Boston.