Napoli’s New Contract, A Comparison

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Napoli put up huge numbers in 2011 in 113 games he posted .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs and 75 RBI. These numbers were well above his career average of .264/.359/.514. The move from the more pitcher friendly Angel Stadium to the friendly jet stream in RBIA should help to make his 2011 numbers his new normal. The only question I really have is how will he react if he plays closer to 120 games at catcher and 20 or more games at either DH or 1B.

The contract he received pushed his compensation from $5.8 million to $9.4 million. Given what he did in 2011 a raise was more than in order for the backstop. But given how close the two sides got to an arbitration hearing there had to be some concern over how much of a raise to get. The way to answer that question is to compare the 2011 numbers and the expectation that 2012 will be similar to other catchers. In this case we should look at Chris Iannetta, Brian McCann and Alex Avila.

Iannetta left the Colorado Rockies in a trade to the Angels this offseason. His compensation will be $3.55 million in 2012. In 2011 with the Rockies he hit .238/.370/.414. With the comparison to Napoli, the contract the Rangers signed him to is in line.

McCann of the Braves is a perennial All-Star. His 2012 contract will allow him to make $11.5 million in Atlanta this year. While in 2011 he posted offensive numbers of .270/.351/.466. Compared to McCann and his production Napoli is a steal, the question that comes up with this comparison is the need for him to maintain his production above McCann. Also with McCann he plays with a replacement David Ross who is very able to step in to give McCann a day off or to catch a certain pitchers, Napoli does not have this with Torrealba.

Avila is still in his rookie contract with the Detroit Tigers and thus will be much lower on the pay scale as he will likely make less than $500,000. But he did garner awards in 2011 including being an All-Star and winning the Silver Slugger. His production line was .295/.389/.506 in 141 games. With the total year Napoli was clearly the better hitter, but Avila played more. Napoli must do the same thing to achieve more.

My thoughts on Torrealba are well known, and I truly wish the Rangers would unload him for a cheaper backup for Napoli. Hopefully one that Ron Washington can call on in pitch hitting positions.