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.


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34 Comments on "Mike Napoli’s Trade Value"


Guest
ze3
4 years 9 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

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terryharmon
4 years 9 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

Guest
ze3
4 years 9 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

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WasianCU
4 years 9 months ago

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

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ellisburks
4 years 9 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.

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BK
4 years 9 months ago

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

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ze3
4 years 9 months ago

Where has my reply to this gone to disqus moderator?

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johnsilver
4 years 9 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.

Guest
4 years 9 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.

Guest
4 years 9 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

Guest
4 years 9 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.

Guest
4 years 9 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.