The Boston Red Sox have reportedly agreed to re-sign Mike Napoli to a 2 year deal. The Texas Rangers were also in talks to bring Napoli back to Texas. This was a push that I was also hoping for.
Mike Napoli could have been an excellent option to play first here in Texas. But, one reason Jon Daniels may have passed on Mike Napoli is because the Boston Red Sox offered him a qualifying offer. With the qualifying offer, that means if the Texas Rangers were to sign him, they would owe the Red Sox a top round draft pick. That goes for Nelson Cruz also, if someone picks up him, the receiving team will owe the Rangers a top round draft pick. This shouldn’t be something that deter Jon Daniels from signing someone to make the team better.
Back in 2011 and 2012, Napoli was playing mainly as the backstop, but he spent about a third of his time at first base.
In 2013, he played primarily at first base for the Boston Red Sox. While his defense was pretty good last year at first, his offense wasn’t.
In 2013, Napoli set a club record for strikeouts in a single season, passing the record of 177 set by Mark Bellhorn in 2004, with 187.
Oct 28, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli flips the ball to first base for an out against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 9th inning during game five of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Napoli did finish with a good batting average of .259/.360/.482/.842 with 38 doubles, 73 walks and 23 home runs. He was pretty much doing 4 things in 2013, walks, doubles, home runs and strikeouts.
While the strikeout record may seem bad, he did make a large improvement over his 2012 batting average of .227/.343/.469/.812. He 125 strikeouts that year.
For the Texas Rangers, Mike Napoli was the Angels killer. He has a career batting average of .350/.457/.723/1.180 against them, and was about 50 points higher when he played with the Rangers.
I do wish that the Texas Rangers would have picked up Napoli though. Even though he was down in 2012, mainly due to injuries. And he wasn’t brought back in 2013 because Jon Daniels was worried about his hip. Boston took a gamble last year on him and gave him a 1 year contract with a base of $5 million and another $8 million in incentives.
Napoli stayed healthy for the entire 2013 season and played first base like he owned it. His hip was never an issue and he managed to collect the $13 million from his contract.
Maybe Jon Daniels missed something on this one. It would have been better to have Naptime at first base than Mitch Moreland.
Moreland played well in 2012, and it would seem at the end of the season he was the best bet, but in 2013, it would be Mitch Moreland who was injured and batted poorly instead of Mike Napoli.
It looks like now, that Mitch Moreland will stay with the club, hopefully at first base. Prince Fielder needs to DH, he’s a liability at first. Ideally, we should have Napoli at first and Fielder at DH, but that’s not an option now.
Best of luck to Napoli in Boston. It worked out well for him and the Red Sox in 2013, and I expect the same for the next 2 years. Wish the Texas Rangers would have picked him up, but there are still options out there. Plenty more of offseason action could happen. Time for Jon Daniels to make another move.