The Texas Rangers have decided to decline the team option on slugger Mike Napoli. Is there any chance that Napoli returns to Texas before his career is over?
In 2017 Napoli hit .193 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 124 games. He was coming off a 34 homer and 101 RBI season with the Indians, and fell short of expectations.
The emergence of youngster Joey Gallo and hopefully having a full season of veteran Adrian Beltre made Napoli unnecessary for 2018. It was the right move by the organization to decline the team option and to not offer Napoli a qualifying offer.
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The Rangers are going to miss the experience though, and that is priceless. Napoli has been to the World Series three times, and been in the postseason eight different times throughout his career. Regardless of his stats, Nap brought something to the table that most players can’t offer.
At this point in Napoli’s career, he won’t offer much than a below average designated hitter or extra bat off the bench. His experience is going to be his biggest selling point, and could have some teams interested.
The Rangers really have no reason to consider bringing Napoli back. When he decides to retire, Napoli could become a reliable coach, and Texas could be a potential landing spot for him.
It’s a bit of a stretch to be offering someone still playing in the MLB a coaching job. The postseason experience Napoli has is priceless, and he’s always been known as a good clubhouse player.
There is basically no chance that Napoli plays in Arlington ever again. If he decides to become a coach then the Rangers should be the first team to call him. He’s a well-respected and intelligent player, but doesn’t offer enough to be given a 2018 contract.