Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mike Napoli is the Red Sox Best Option?

Is Mike Napoli on the way to Boston?  Jeez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia cannot catch a break.  C and G both think that he strikes out way too much, the Red Sox bring it yet another catcher to share duties with him (David Ross), the Red Sox highly touted prospect always seems to be Ryan Lavarnway, even though he has been highly-touted for about 8 years and now, the Red Sox are seriously courting Mike Napoli to takes some catching away from him and to play some First Base.

But What's wrong with Saltalamacchia?  Or more importantly, what's so great about Mike Napoli?  Consider these 2011 statistics...

24 HRs 56 RBIs .227 BA .343 OBP 110 OPS+

Saltalamacchia didn't have that bad of a year did he?  Except that these aren't Saltalamacchia's statistics, they're Napoli's playing in a batter friendly Rangers Ballpark.  The Rangers didn't even bother extending Napoli a contract for 2013  meaning that if Napoli signs somewhere else, the Rangers won't get any compensation.  Now Napoli is reportedly trying to squeeze a fourth year from the Red Sox while Saltalamacchia is left twisting in the wind.  But how can a guy be so important if his own team won't even offer him a deal?

Don't get me wrong.  Napoli is a decent, if not outstanding, player.  He's a pretty good clubhouse guy.  He has hit 9 home runs in 24 career games at Fenway Park, and his swing is tailor made for the Green Monster.  And the Red Sox do have a huge hole at First Base now that Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez have both been shipped out of Town.

But is Napoli the Red Sox's best option for replacing Gonzalez' bat?  Are things that bad in the free agent market that the Red Sox are seriously considering giving 40 million dollars to someone like Napoli believing that will solve a lot of their problems?   

And is Saltalamacchia now going to be the next one shipped out of Town?  With Lavarnway, David Ross and Jonny Gomes in the fold already and Napoli perhaps joining them, the Red Sox are rich in no-field, big hit hitters at catcher/first base.

It's going to be a long 2013 campaign at Fenway, unfortunately.

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