Mike Napoli’s Trade Value

The problem with Mike Napoli, as Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com puts it, is that he "is a 'tweener,' too inconsistent strictly as a hitter, not reliable enough as a catcher."  The Angels might not want to give such a "tweener" an arbitration raise above the $3.6MM that Napoli earned this season, which is why there have been rumors that Los Angeles will try to move Napoli over the winter.  

Given the dearth of power-hitting catchers, many teams would be willing to overlook Napoli's defensive shortcomings for a catcher who has 92 homers in 1778 career plate appearances and a career .839 OPS.  As an everyday player, however, Napoli has his limitations, many of which were on display this season.  Napoli has received a career-high 484 plate appearances thanks to his taking over the lion's share of time at first base after Kendry Morales was lost for the season in May. 

His power notwithstanding, Napoli has an underwhelming .247/.332/.488 slash line entering Friday's action.  These numbers are largely due to the fact that the right-handed hitting Napoli struggles against right-handed pitching; he has a .704 OPS vs. righties this year, as opposed to a whopping 1.082 OPS against southpaws.  (Napoli's career OPS splits are .798 against righties and .962 versus lefties.)  If put back into his comfort zone of facing primarily left-handed pitching, Napoli can be a force.  If a team has a left-handed hitting, defensive-minded platoon partner at catcher, Napoli is an ideal complement.

The catching market is always tough to predict in advance, but here are a few potential trade partners for the Halos…

* Florida.  The Marlins are known to be looking for catchers, though Napoli may be too expensive for their liking.

* New York.  Left-handed hitting Josh Thole will be the Mets' starter next season, so Napoli could be brought in to complement both Thole and another lefty bat (Ike Davis) at first.

* Chicago.  As with the Mets, the White Sox will have a youngster (Tyler Flowers) taking over the starting job.  This is presuming the Sox won't bring back A.J. Pierzynski, though Chicago could also maybe have a hole at first depending on if Paul Konerko signs elsewhere or retires.

* Texas.  Napoli could finally give the Rangers some stability behind the plate, though it's hard to see L.A. making a deal with their division rivals.

* Boston.  The Red Sox made a waiver claim on Napoli in August before the Angels pulled him back, and will need a catcher if Victor Martinez leaves as a free agent.

* Baltimore.  Speaking of Martinez, Napoli could be the Orioles' catcher/first base/DH backup plan should the team's pursuit of Martinez fall short.

If Napoli was dealt, Los Angeles would be left with Jeff Mathis and rookie Hank Conger behind the plate.  Conger, LAA's first-round pick in the 2006 draft, has an .825 OPS in 1705 minor league plate appearances and was rated the 84th overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America's preseason rankings.  Mathis is entering his second arbitration year after earning $1.3MM in 2010, but has had an overall poor season (as outlined by Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times).  The Angels could go into 2011 with a totally overhauled catching corps should they trade Napoli, non-tender Mathis and acquire a new veteran backstop to play alongside Conger.


Leave a Reply

34 Comments on "Mike Napoli’s Trade Value"


ze3
4 years 11 months ago

What about Bobby Wilson? He’s pretty solid, he just needs more playing time. I could see the Angels going with Wilson and Conger behind the plate and saving money for that veteran catcher to use it towards a left fielder or a third baseman

terryharmon
4 years 11 months ago

The Angels also have Bobby Wilson at catcher, an underwhelming option who’s played 37 games this season, but still figures in the mix for next year

ze3
4 years 11 months ago

Trade Napoli to FLA for Uggla or to BOS for Ellsbury!

I really hate seeing Napoli leave, eve though he’s not the best offensive player around he can still contribute to a team’s offense

WasianCU
4 years 11 months ago

I’d really like to see a Napoli Ellsbury trade worked out.

ellisburks
4 years 11 months ago

“Trade Napoli to FLA for Uggla or to BOS for Ellsbury!

I really hate seeing Napoli leave, eve though he’s not the best offensive player around he can still contribute to a team’s offense”

This entire post makes no sense. I know you ment he’s not the best defensive player around and I don’t want to be a nazi or anything but the damn thing lets you look over your comment before you post it.

As for your Uggla or Ellsbury request, you must be in Amsterdam or somewhere else where it is legal to smoke drugs cause there is no other explanation for that. Marlins trade you a starting 2B with proven 30hr power or the Sox trade you a starting OF with explosive speed and ability to get on base for a part time catcher?

I like Napoli, I think he would look good on the Red Sox, I just don’t think you will be getting proven starting players for him.

BK
4 years 11 months ago

You are totally under estimating Napoli and overestimating Jacob “Glass” Ellsbury and and Uggla. Please see Bjguess’s post.

ze3
4 years 11 months ago

Where has my reply to this gone to disqus moderator?

johnsilver
4 years 11 months ago

No chance he gets non tendered of course. Baltimore, Texas, Florida and then Boston as likely destinations from teams on that list in order. Baltimore and Texas have the most young/coveted bodies the Angels would want in return and Napoli ain’t going to come cheap.

While Boston also has several good young prospects to offer, have a feeling Anaheim would want more to swap him to a team they seem to be always contending against, even more than swapping vs Texas within the same division perhaps.

Mets, Cubs have pretty thin systems making it harder to swing a deal, but something could happen. Wouldn’t automatically discount the Yankees either if Posada can be moved to DH finally for good on his last year under contract.

4 years 11 months ago

What about Detroit? Alex Avila hits left-handed (though he’s not exactly a defensive wizard), Detroit desperately needs pop and they have money to upgrade. Might not be ideal, but I think it deserved mention alongside the others.

4 years 11 months ago

Alex Avilla had a .590 SLG% in his rookie season. This is probably just a sophmore slump, he’ll come around next year

4 years 11 months ago

I would not bet my playoff hopes on Avila as the only legit starting catcher. Napoli is the perfect complement, plus some insurance for Al’s kid.

4 years 11 months ago

I would not bet my playoff hopes on Avila as the only legit starting catcher. Napoli is the perfect complement, plus some insurance for Al’s kid.

bigpat
4 years 11 months ago

Dodgers could also be in the mix. Martin got injured and was ineffective the past two seasons, he may be traded or non-tendered. Napoli can also play first on his days off if Loney is still around to give him a break vs some tough lefties and get an extra power bat in the lineup.

Tampa or Detroit would also be good fits as well. I don’t see the Rays keeping Shoppach or Navarro around, leaving Jaso as their only catcher.

thegrayrace
4 years 11 months ago

Agreed. Napoli would be a vast improvement over Martin/Ellis. And if we’re going to be stuck with Loney at 1B (ugh), we’d be better off playing Napoli (or Casey Blake, who should be a bench player next year) at 1B against LHP.

bjsguess
4 years 11 months ago

Non-tendered?

How many catchers are having a better offensive season than Napoli’s “underwhelming” 2010 campaign?

According to wOBA the answer is 7. If you go back to 2009 the answer becomes 3. To suggest that Napoli is a top 5 offensive catcher is not some wild and crazy projection. And for a guy who is slated to earn $5m next year – is that really too much to pay him?

With limited playing time Napoli (according to WAR) has been worth $12m/season for each of the past 3 years. Napoli has some serious positive equity and would be a starter for almost any team in baseball. He should fetch a premium level talent in return on a trade.

Also, as others have pointed out, the Angels may be totally comfortable with a platoon of Conger and Wilson. That’s what I suggested yesterday in a different Angels post. Mathis should be cut. Napoli should be traded if the Angels won’t stick him behind the plate.

4 years 11 months ago

I think the post meant to non-tender Mathis, not Napoli.

bjsguess
4 years 11 months ago

Either I misread it or the article has changed. Pretty sure it’s the latter as other people read the same thing.

jphenix2002
4 years 11 months ago

Count the Tigers in on Napoli. They need the offense out of the bottom of the order and they can afford the platoon. Whether they’re willing to part with or even have the prospects necessary is another matter.

4 years 11 months ago

Big time, he’d be both insurance and a solid platoon partner for Avila. Put the Tigers NO. 1 on that list.

4 years 11 months ago

Big time, he’d be both insurance and a solid platoon partner for Avila. Put the Tigers NO. 1 on that list.

Potrzeba
4 years 11 months ago

Bowden and a minor prospect for Napoli? I’d love to see Boston get russel Martin! He would be a pretty good backup plan if vmart left.

WasianCU
4 years 11 months ago

Have you seen Russell Martin play lately? That’s right, you haven’t because he has been injured.

But, he is not the same player as a few years ago. 2009: 143 games, .250, 7 homers, 53 RBI. 2010: 97 games, .248, 5 homers, 26 RBI.

Potrzeba
4 years 11 months ago

Hear me out on this one. Look at how many games he has played the last few years. Over 140, that’s alot for a catcher. Besides he may e non-tendered anyways. Red sox would have him catch 4-6 days a week and also have him play alittle third base. He wouldn’t cost that much to get.

bjsguess
4 years 11 months ago

Not sure who the other minor prospect would be but Bowden isn’t enough as the centerpiece of the trade.

The Angels will be looking for an impact player – Bowden is not that. He has the potential to be a nice player but not much else.

crashcameron
4 years 11 months ago

or maybe Bowden and a prospect for Martin?

Potrzeba
4 years 11 months ago

Exactly what I was thinking. Martin would be a better option than salty. He can also play third.

DLevenson
4 years 11 months ago

Not to be picky, but in the Mets section, the word is “complements” not “compliments”, unless you mean he is being brought in to be nice.

P_O_R_Q_U_E
4 years 11 months ago

They way teams have been with prospects in recent years, I have a feeling that the sub-MLB return on a possible Napoli trade is going to be underwhelming. You can go ahead and cross off any teams 1-5 prospects, at least, probably more. Rightfully or not, it will probably be something like a 2-3 WAR guy with 3-4 years service time and a high-A “gamer”.

bjsguess
4 years 11 months ago

Why trade him then? Napoli gives you that production already as a part time player.

If the return is poor then the Angels won’t move him.

4 years 11 months ago

Red Sox should swap Pappelbon for Napoli and sign Soriano.

4 years 11 months ago

Red Sox should swap Bard for Napoli ….

bobbybaseball
4 years 11 months ago

Konerko is not going to retire…c’mon.

4 years 11 months ago

It will be interesting to see if the Yankees jump in on this. Cervelli has looked awful for most of the season and Montero is only 20 years old. I’d like to see them pick up Napoli on a 2-year deal and let him DH and spell Teixeira and Posada on their rest days, then trade him when Montero’s ready. This is probably an unlikely scenario since most of their offseason money will go to Cliff Lee and probably another starter as well.

4 years 11 months ago

It will be interesting to see if the Yankees jump in on this. Cervelli has looked awful for most of the season and Montero is only 20 years old. I’d like to see them pick up Napoli on a 2-year deal and let him DH and spell Teixeira and Posada on their rest days, then trade him when Montero’s ready. This is probably an unlikely scenario since most of their offseason money will go to Cliff Lee and probably another starter as well.