Texas Rangers continue to be linked with free agent slugger Mike Napoli throughout the off-season. Latest reports are that the Rangers are interested in signing Napoli, but only to a one-year deal. Would Napoli accept a one-year deal from the Rangers?
Texas Rangers and Mike Napoli have been linked closer than spaghetti and meatballs. Every sign seems to be pointing to Napoli heading to Arlington in 2017, but no deal has been confirmed yet. Rangers seem open to a one-year deal, but Napoli likely wants a multiple year deal.
Napoli is heading into his age 35 season and is coming off a strong campaign with the Cleveland Indians. Hitting .239/.335/.465 with 34 home runs and 101 RBI in 150 games in 2016. The Indians did not offer Napoli a qualifying offer and he became a free agent.
If Napoli does return to the Texas Rangers in 2017 it’ll be his third stint with the team and his fourth season. Napoli was an All-Star in 2012 with the Rangers and arguably plays his best in Texas.
Each year Napoli was on the team (2011, 2012, 2015) the Rangers went to the playoffs. Napoli did do some catching during those stints, but now is solely a first baseman. The Rangers have recently signed some players for first base, but DH is an option for Napoli as well.
The Rangers could go with cheaper options Chris Carter, Adam Lind, or even Mark Reynolds. Those are secondary options though as Napoli is the best hitter available left in free agency. If the Rangers want to win in 2017 Napoli gives them the best opportunity.
Spring Training is just around the corner and Napoli should truly consider a one-year deal with the Rangers. At this point in the off-season it is going to be difficult to find another team willing to offer Napoli multiple years. The best option for both parties is a reunion in 2017 even if it is a one-year deal.