Blue Jays, Rangers Swap Napoli, Francisco

Hopefully Mike Napoli's suitcase is still packed. Just four days after acquiring the catcher/first baseman from the Angels, the Blue Jays have sent him back to the AL West. Napoli is heading to the Rangers for Frank Francisco and cash, the teams announced.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the deal (on Twitter) and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (on Twitter) that the Rangers are sending less than $1MM to Toronto.

As Rosenthal points out, Napoli will likely spell Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor behind the plate and see playing time at first base. This likely means the Rangers don't have room for free agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero.

Napoli hit 26 home runs last year, reaching the 20-homer plateau for the third consecutive season. He hit .238/.316/.468 overall, with a career-high 137 strikeouts. The right-handed hitter has a .931 OPS against southpaws in his career, so he is a potential complement to Chris Davis and Mitch Moreland, two left-handed hitting first basemen who hit righties but struggle against lefties.

The Blue Jays acquired Napoli from the Angels in the deal that sent Vernon Wells to Anaheim. J.P. Arencibia and Jose Molina figure to catch regularly for the Blue Jays now that Napoli is headed to the Lone Star State. 

In an odd twist, Francisco joins the same bullpen as Jason Frasor, the only other Type A free agent to accept his team's offer of arbitration this offseason. New additions Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel join Frasor and Francisco in Alex Anthopoulos' remade bullpen.

Francisco, 31, posted a 3.76 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 52 2/3 innings for the Rangers last year. He saved 25 games in 2009 before relinquishing the closer's job to rookie Neftali Feliz in 2010.

As MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows, the midpoint for Francisco is $4.19MM and the midpoint for Napoli is $5.7MM, so the Rangers would have been taking on payroll even if they did not send cash to Toronto.

469 Responses to Blue Jays, Rangers Swap Napoli, Francisco Leave a Reply

  1. winone 5 years ago

    The Rangers must have been desperate to get Napoli that they had to add cash incentive along with Francisco, 2009 closer for the Rangers.

    • or they just want a bench bat? its essentially signing a guy for the cash added because Harrison/Kirkman/Scheppers slides right into Fransisco’s spot

  2. winone 5 years ago

    (In Reply to TwinsVet) It might be easy, but it hasn’t been easy for the Rangers as he was easily one of the best pitchers in their bullpen while Napoli is a weaker bat than Vlad’s so the Rangers are a weaker team than last year by going in this direction. The only way this makes sense is if the Rangers were thinking that Francisco was too injury prone to rely on so they picked up a catcher who could hit.

  3. No one cares to look that Young is 2 rangers players right now…
    Your DH and your utility player.
    To be honest i think if you look strictly at utility players i think hes considered the best in the league? he could start in a few places in the MLB..
    As far as DH… 284 with 21HRs and 91RBIs with decent speed… sounds fine to me at DH.

    yes he is over paid but the way to look at it is your paying him 10mill for DH and 5mill for IF

  4. Guest 5 years ago

    Don’t like this deal yet but I will get over it :) I really want to see Frank bring in type A status though, if that’s the way AA is playing it.

  5. Would AA want to take on that high contract of Figgins?

  6. okbluejays 5 years ago

    No, not all. I don’t like the idea of trading a good bat for an ok reliever. I wouldn’t trade Napoli for most relievers in the Majors, let a lone Francisco.

  7. ukJaysfan 5 years ago

    Sandbagging? Genius!

  8. Lunchbox45 5 years ago

    honestly yes. yes . yes

    After that Wells trade GM’s figured he was a vulture so to steer clear

    this is not a bad deal, but its rather pointless for the jays with texas getting the better player..

    Now he can call people up and be like “damn, texas really fooled me! Oh well, so what was that you we’re saying about that guy Justin Upton?, Never heard of him, is he any good??….”

  9. dude you have some serious problems.

  10. mike292929 5 years ago

    I wish I didn’t have a job to do.

  11. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Right on all points.

    Not only that – it proves that Napoli has value. Frank Francisco is a solid arm out of the pen. I still think the Jays could have done better but Francisco is quality.

    Look at it another way. The Angels spent 3/$15 on Downs and surrendered their 2nd round pick. They could have potentially moved Napoli for Francisco. Francisco slots into Downs’ role. Would have saved the club the $15m + the draft pick for essentially the same end result.

    And if they still wanted Wells I have to believe that Rivera for Wells would have worked just as well. From Toronto’s end it was all about salary relief. The fact that Reagins threw in useful pieces just compounded the problem and made it worse.

    Huge epic fail on the part of the Angels.

    Signed – former Angel fan.

  12. Dick Armada 5 years ago

    Napoli isn’t a good batter… so… you’re dumb.

  13. winone 5 years ago

    Naploli is the bat off the bench we’ve (the rangers) been trying to get? He has a lifetime .250 average, .346 OBP and .485 slugging. The only thing he does above average is hit a few extra homeruns with 26 the most he has ever hit. Unless he can catch a lot, this was a bad trade. We needed more relief pitching as evidenced by our bullpens propensity in the playoffs to walk everyone.

  14. A .346 OBP is about 20 points higher than league average, and his SLUG% is a product of playing in a pitcher-friendly park for his career. He should be off the charts in a place like Arlington.

    His C defense is pretty horrid, but I doubt he plays there a whole lot…


  15. Nivarsity 5 years ago

    Derek Holland walking dudes in the World Series should not dictate your offseason policy. And that slash line is good, bro. That’s an 850 OPS from a catcher who can play 1B. Against lefties he puts up a 930 OPS, which is far better than Moreland would manage.

  16. deere5800 5 years ago

    Third time’s the charm!!

  17. sports33 5 years ago

    We’ve had all the others…

  18. bjsguess 5 years ago

    I don’t think it needs to be any big name.

    My take … for what it’s worth. You don’t need to have a genius manning the ship if your payroll is $120m+. You just need someone who won’t make huge mistakes. Now, if the team were sitting at $60m then yes, you need an elite GM to compete. However, at $120m+ a GOOD GM will do just fine.

    What’s crazy about Reagins is that he has made some very smart moves (Haren, Pineiro), has taken reasonable gambles (Hunter, Kazmir – though it certainly hasn’t worked out), and then sprinkled in some real head scratchers. I just don’t know what to make of him. And I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. No longer. This move is just so universally bad that it requires immediate termination.

    However, the blame doesn’t rest solely with Reagins. Scosh helps shape this roster as much as anybody. Moreno had to sign-off as well. Reagins has a staff of folks that support him – where were they on this one? It is an organizational fail across the board.

    Finally, the deal may end up working out (incredibly slim chance). However, that still won’t be justifiable. The fact is that even if Wells is your target, even if you believe he can repeat in 2010, the team totally failed by not securing a better deal. There is just no way anyone can suggest that this was a smart move.

  19. bjsguess 5 years ago

    OPS and WAR both disagree with you. Top 5 or 6 amongst all catchers over the past 4 years is pretty good IMO.

  20. Nivarsity 5 years ago

    Yes, he is…so…you’re dumb.

  21. I bet you would LOVE to have Jon Daniels right about now.

  22. roberty 5 years ago

    Now this I agree with.

  23. winone 5 years ago

    Dude, there were a lot more guys walking people than Derek Holland. Who could forget the inning where we went through our bullpen with Holland, Rapada, Lowe and Oliver trying to find someone who wouldn’t walk someone but couldn’t in that one inning. The bullpen was the glaring difference between the Giants and Rangers pitching more so than the starting pitching. If you look at all the rangers relief pitching walks per innings as I have done for each of them, their aren’t alot of them that have a low base on balls to inning ratio. Most of our guys walk a guy every other inning. This is why I’d like to see us pick up a guy like Pedro Martinez who has about a 25% walk to inning lifetime ratio (was better than that in 2009 for the phillies).

  24. winone 5 years ago

    About the slash line, Mitch Moreland had an .833 OPS in his rookie season. He did WAY better than that in the world series. If he didn’t earn a spot in our lineup after that, than I don’t know what else he would need to do. 1.303 OPS, .462 bat. avg., .533 OBP in the world series while everyone else looked hopeless up there. Also, if the guy is horrid at catcher as was said, then is he much better defensively at 1st? Why not keep Mike Young at first and alternate Mitch Moreland as DH and/or bring back Vlad who has a lifetime .946 OPS? Why give up bread for crumbs?

  25. Nivarsity 5 years ago

    No. The Rangers staff walked 11 batters in the Series. Walks weren’t the problem. (FWIW, the Giants walked 15.) Four of the walks were by Holland in that single inning, which is why your memory is fooling you. The Rangers bullpen is one of the best in MLB and can afford to lose Two Frank.

  26. Nivarsity 5 years ago

    I’m as big a Moreland fan as almost anyone. But the Rangers clearly don’t think he’s a full time 1B yet. If you want to play the SSS game, then how about his 604 OPS versus lefties last year?

    Napoli is a great addition, a truly underrated player who is exactly what the Rangers needed. It’s a very good trade.

  27. winone 5 years ago

    You are right that the Rangers gave up more walks than the Giants in the World Series but that was due more so to the walks surrendered by Giants starting pitching as the Giants bullpen only gave up 4 walks and the Rangers bullpen gave up 5. The clear difference was seen though in the inability to throw strikes by the Rangers bullpen to batters that ended up getting hits instead of walks. Mark Lowe allowed 4 hits in his brief time on the mound. Only Feliz, Ogando and Oliver were decent out of our bullpen in the W.S and the only other Texas relief pitcher to do well in the playoffs was Kirkman. Everyone knows the Rangers can hit. The greatest weakness was clearly the relief pitching. Losing Cliff Lee didn’t help any either.

  28. winone 5 years ago

    Over the entire Post season the Rangers relief allowed 22 walks whereas the Giants relievers allowed only 13.

    Read what MLB staff writer, Mathew Leach wrote about it: “It wasn’t just the starters, either. When the Giants handed things over to their bullpen, the bearded bunch came through. San Francisco’s relievers allowed a total of three runs in 10 innings, and that’s a bit misleading, since it all came in garbage time during Game 1. Texas’ bullpen struggled at times, and manager Ron Washington often couldn’t find the right combinations. The San Francisco ‘pen, though, just steamrolled through the last four games.
    On offense, meanwhile, the Giants changed their stripes for the World Series. A hack-tastic team throughout the regular season, they suddenly got more selective against the Rangers. The Giants didn’t walk a lot — because, well, they don’t — but they forced Texas pitchers to come into the strike zone. They fouled off scads of pitches and took advantage when they got pitches to hit.”

    Throwing strikes was a bigger problem than the stat line shows and it was something that was definitely felt by Rangers fans. In the inning that Washington for some unknown reason to everybody else but him left D. Holland in, the bullpen got to the point of being an embarrassment while the whole world (well the US anyway) was watching.

  29. Nivarsity 5 years ago

    The problem with your argument is that the postseason is a tiny sample size. The Rangers bullpen was outstanding in 2010. They had the second best bullpen ERA in the AL, and that isn’t park adjusted either — link to

    They added Rhodes, and they’ve got other arms in the chute — Kirkland, Scheppers, etc. I love Fx2 but there’s no reason to think he is not expendable.

  30. winone 5 years ago

    Good point about the low OPS for Moreland against lefties but Mike Young who is the superior defensive player hit best against left handers with an .833 career OPS. Vlad crushed left handed pitchers with a 1.003 career OPS so he is exactly what the Rangers need at DH. Moreland in even his rookie season showed himself to be an overall superior hitter over Napoli anyway. Napoli would be a decent person to have on our bench but not at the cost of a reliever as good as Francisco who the rangers have been hard pressed to find.

  31. steveroeh 5 years ago

    There is…take ed wade’s crush on philly for example

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