Yesterday was Truck Day in Boston and we’re rapidly approaching when pitchers and catchers officially report for Spring Training. Heck, we’ve already seen some players arrive at camp, but former Red Sox slugger Mike Napoli still doesn’t have a home for the 2017 season.
Napoli is coming off one of his more successful seasons with the Indians last year where he had a .239/.335/.469 batting line with 101 RBIs and 34 homers. While his average wasn’t very high, he did have his highest power numbers ever and appeared in 150 games (again, his highest number). While those numbers are decent, they’re not good enough for an organization to use him as a full time DH. The question therefore becomes: which teams out there still need a first baseman.
One potential option for Napoli would be returning to the Texas Rangers, a team which he’s already had two different stints with over the years. Michael Brantley of the Outside Pitch Sports Network suggests Rangers fans “shouldn’t be surprised if Napoli signs right after camp opens.” He says this is partly because the Rangers can’t sign him right now due to roster restrictions (they have to leave two spots for retired Prince Fielder and injured Jake Diekman) until camp opens.
According to Josh Dungan, Napoli has also been linked to the Minnesota Twins. The rumors aren’t as strong here, especially when you consider Napoli’s past with the Rangers and that the Twins have been looking at a lot of other sluggers to add to their lineup.
With pitchers and catcher scheduled to report on Valentine’s Day, hopefully Napoli will find some love and get signed by somebody. If you trust the rumors that are currently out there, it looks like that will be the case with the Rangers… a team he seems to have a constant love affair with.