Red Sox Have Mike Napoli On Their Radar

The Red Sox have Mike Napoli on their radar for first base, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). He also reiterates the team's interest in Adam LaRoche, and hears that Boston's rebuilding won't keep free agents away.

"We view Boston as a contender because they'll build team quickly. I doubt they'll have trouble attracting free agents," said a prominent agent to Cafardo (Twitter link).

Napoli, 31, hit .227/.343/.469 with 24 homers this season and is a year removed from a 30-homer, .320/.414/.631 performance. For what it's worth, he's a .306/.397/.710 hitter with seven homers in 18 career games at Fenway Park. Napoli has been primarily a catcher in recent years, but he also has plenty of first base and DH experience.

The Rangers did not make Napoli a qualifying offer, therefore teams will not have to forfeit a draft pick to sign him.


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53 Comments on "Red Sox Have Mike Napoli On Their Radar"


monkeydung
2 years 9 months ago

i can’t remember a big free agent singing working well for the red sox in the last 5-10 years. maybe Beckett for a few years?

qbass187
2 years 9 months ago

Beckett was a trade and I wouldn’t consider Napoli a “big” free agent signing.

monkeydung
2 years 9 months ago

forgot about beckett… and now teammates with the guy he was traded for. I was reacting more to the quote about attracting free agents than to Napoli specifically. i just can’t imagine it’s a fun place to play if you have a lot of pressure on you.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 9 months ago

Some people thrive on pressure. And as much grief as Boston fans get for our attitudes we also have a large section of the fan base that is intensely loyal.

EarlyMorningBoxscore
2 years 9 months ago

I’d Manny Ramirez was the last to really work out. He may have had some problems but his had great numbers during his tenure.

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

Depends on what you consider a “big” free agent signing, but as far as higher profile players the last one that worked well was probably Beltre in 2010. JD Drew was another one that actually worked out well, despite peoples’ perception of it. They have tended to do better with smaller free agent deals like Ross and Scutaro in the past though, but so do most teams really – big free agent signings rarely work out really well for the team signing them.

As qbass says though, I wouldn’t really consider Napoli a big free agent signing.

2 years 9 months ago

Red Sox traded Hanley Ramirez for Beckett.

2 years 9 months ago

Is Napoli considered a big free agent?

Jay Rock
2 years 9 months ago

In size only. He’s a big boy.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 9 months ago

I suspect the Sox have a lot of players on their radar, especially if they are outfielders, first basemen, or pitchers.

Ben_Cherington
2 years 9 months ago

It surprises me how many writers link those positions to being on the Red Sox radar.

qbass187
2 years 9 months ago

They’ve liked him for a long time.
People forget the Red Sox were awarded the waiver claim on him in 2010… Just to have the Angels pull him back and trade him to the Blue Jays that off season. Who flipped him to TX for some junk and he proceeded to torment the LAA for 2 season.
It also reminds me of how the Angels (apparent) dislike for the Red Sox is so silly.

msg333
2 years 9 months ago

Angels fans historically dislike the Red Sox because the 1986 ALCS situation.

2 years 9 months ago

Napoli had one outlier year, but besides that has been only a bit above average. If he started playing 1B his team would have to hope his offense would improve at a less strenuous position.

Baseball Lifer
2 years 9 months ago

Very true. And just to add defensively he is below average at both 1B and C.

dc21892
2 years 9 months ago

Well Napoli rakes in Fenway, but that’s off our pitching that has been suspect the last few years. Be interesting to see where Boston goes. Still seems too early for anything serious yet. Then again, this offseason is set up to move a lot faster.

EarlyMorningBoxscore
2 years 9 months ago

I would really like Napoli. He kills the Red Sox if you can’t beat him, sign him.

Ben_Cherington
2 years 9 months ago

Let me remind you of our ole buddy Carl Crawford.

He destroyed us while playing against and with us!!

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

Crawford would have been a fine signing if they hadn’t have payed him too much, and the same will be true of Napoli if they sign him.

Ben_Cherington
2 years 9 months ago

“Crawford would have been a fine signing if they hadn’t have payed him too much”

That can be said of any of the “bust” contracts.

I was and still am a Crawford supporter and wish him well, however, just because they play well against us doesnt mean we should sign them. A lot of players put up good numbers in Fenway, we had terrible pitching and catching that contributed to high numbers.

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

Yeah, I definitely agree that the fact that they play well against the Sox isn’t a reason to sign them – that’s how you end up with Julio Lugo – but there are plenty of good reasons to sign Napoli that don’t have to do with how he plays against the Sox.

Ben_Cherington
2 years 9 months ago

Im not arguing against signing Napoli, Im arguing against someone who plays well and Fenway.
Napoli last 3 yrs .355 OBP…pretty good!

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 9 months ago

I’m sorry but I fail to see how OBP is affected by location other than minor environmental factors. OBP is generally meant to contrast with a players BA to gauge how tough they are as an out for the average pitcher. I think you might want to look at SLG to define how a player might fare at a certain park.

Ben_Cherington
2 years 9 months ago

I wasnt using certain splits for Napoli, nor comparing them to fenway at all. I was just noting that he had a pretty good obp. and that i like it. I think Napolit could have a good season with us

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 9 months ago

Ah, I thought from the overall tone you were specifically talking about his OBP in Fenway.

Ben_Cherington
2 years 9 months ago

Sorry for not clarifying.
I LIKE NAPOLI’s OBP IN ALL PARKS :)

John
2 years 9 months ago

Can’t the same be said for pretty much any player in MLB?

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

Yeah, my point was that the Crawford signing wasn’t bad because he was a bad fit, it was bad because of the money.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
2 years 9 months ago

You bring up an interesting point: He kills the Red Sox if you can’t beat him, sign him. I feel the same way about Swisher and the Orioles. The problem is most Oriole types have a great amount of disdain for the idea. In fact, they have been a bit salty with me as of late.
Anyway, I wonder how well Napoli would do if he plays 1st base full time?

Ben_Cherington
2 years 9 months ago

I thought Napoli would be a good signing for the Orioles, but just my opinion

Fletch1915
2 years 9 months ago

I think Napoli will compliment papi a great amount in the middle of that order, I’d love to have him on board

Baseball Lifer
2 years 9 months ago

Is this the back-up plan for Cody Ross? Anything over 2 years I would consider a mistake.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 9 months ago

Different positions. Napoli would be signed to play first, Ross would be signed to play right.

Baseball Lifer
2 years 9 months ago

True. I should of been more clear. I was referring to the bat in the lineup. Both guys hit left handers extremely well while they struggle with right handers. Not too sure both would not be better suited as platoon players (against left handed pitching). Not to mention Napoli is poor defensively at 1B and C. Eitherway, I think both will be overpaid in terms of contract length and total dollars.

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

The real question is, would Napoli be willing to sign as a first baseman instead of as a catcher?

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 9 months ago

Well if he’s looking for a full time catcher’s gig I doubt he’d get an offer. He’s never played much more than half a season as a catcher. My bet is if he’s offered a full-time position as a first baseman he’d probably accept it.

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

Maybe, and I agree that no one likely offers him a job to catch full time, but plenty of other clubs would be willing to have him split time there. The Sox on the other hand probably wouldn’t, not with either Salty or Lavarnway behind the plate already – they’d likely want their second catcher to be good defensively. So he’d have to be willing to play first every day, and pretty nearly give up catching would be my guess.

chris_synan1
2 years 9 months ago

hey, at least it could give us versatility..I would mind him being thrown in at Catcher every once in a while

2 years 9 months ago

Didnt Napoli catch Lackey ? maybe he’d do it again if he signs with the sox and maybe lackey would throw better games with him behind the plate.

Baseball Lifer
2 years 9 months ago

If memory recalls correctly, Napoli wasnt a everyday catcher with the Angels. At the point of time when Lackey was successful I think Benji Molina was the catcher.

Baseball Lifer
2 years 9 months ago

I could not help myself and went and looked. Benji Molina was the starter from 1998 to 2005 (left for the Giants). From 2006 to 2009 (Lackey’s last season in LAA) the main catchers were Jeff Mathis, Jose Molina, Bobby Wilson with Napoli and Ryan Budde getting a some playing time from time to time.

Austin
2 years 9 months ago

Why make two small Red Sox posts? How about we combine the all important “Cherington talks” post with this post

Karkat
2 years 9 months ago

Ehhhhhh. I feel like Napoli is going to want more money than I’d be comfortable seeing the Sox give him =

2 years 9 months ago

I’d be a bit leery about Napoli. .227/24 isn’t anything to get all jiggy about. i do think the Sox need another catcher, as I’m not all that impressed with Lavarnway and Salty is streaky.

cubfan4life
2 years 9 months ago

Napoli would freak me out if i was a sox fan. Hes no help defensively at either catcher or first. and his bat isnt great beyond the HRs. They would be better off bringing in Swisher and Hunter and going with Nava/Kalish in RF and finding a vet to compete with Salty and Lavarnway. I think David Ross would be perfect. Barajas would be ok. Or maybe call up Cincinnati and see what they would want for Ryan Hanigan.

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

The only thing Napoli doesn’t do at the plate is hit for a particularly high average, he actually gets on base at a pretty good rate (career .356 OBP), and his line over the last three years would be well above average for a first baseman.

cubfan4life
2 years 9 months ago

yes he had a monster 2011. That seems much more like an outlier season than something that you can expect him to get back to. The main thing that would concern me is that he isnt an everyday player. in only one season did he play in more than 114 games. and even that season he only played in 140.

If i was paying that type of money i would want a guy like swisher who may cost more but he has better numbers. has the ability to play either RF or 1B. has better numbers and except for his rookie yr of 05 when he played in 131 games he has played in at least 150 every yr since except for this yr which was 148.

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

Catchers never play full seasons, that’s part of being a catcher, but there’s no reason to think that Napoli couldn’t play a full season at 1B. And I never mentioned his monster 2011, I talked about his career numbers and his three year average, but even his absolute worst offensive season is still better than league average for a 1B, and he’s going to be a lot cheaper, and sign for fewer years than Swisher.

And anyway, it’s not like signing one means they can’t sign the other, one plays 1B/C and the other plays RF, so there really isn’t a connection between the two.

cubfan4life
2 years 9 months ago

True catchers dont play 162 behind the plate anymore. however he has never caught more than even 96 games and even playing part time at 1b and DH (DH not being an option for Boston with Ortiz) has never been a full time player. When he is out there yes he is a solid offensive guy and with his profile he fits very well in Fenway. Im saying that his track record says that he is not a guy you can count on to be anything more than a guy who plays in about 2/3 of the teams games and defensively he has some pretty big question marks.

MaineSox
2 years 9 months ago

Even guys who split time between C and 1B get a lot more time off than guys who play straight 1B, plus it’s well known that Scioscia sat him on the bench way more than he should have in favor of Jeff Freaking Mathis. The last three years he’s averaged 120 games with nearly 2/3 of them coming behind the plate; if he doesn’t have to catch there’s no reason to think he can’t play every day. It’s not like he’s injured all the time, he just gets time off because catching is really hard on your body. In 2010 – the only year he spent more time at 1B than C – he played 140 games (and it was only barely more time at 1B as he still started 67 games at catcher).

2 years 9 months ago

Nap needs to get sway from the AL West, that guy has killed my Angels since he was traded. Thanks Tony Reagins.

Brian Jud
2 years 9 months ago

I’d take either one of these guys.

chris_synan1
2 years 9 months ago

Napoli like Cody Ross is built for Fenway.. I think Napoli can tear it up at Fenway..I recall him always creating havoc at Fenway….he has a career .306 avg, .397 OBP,710 Slugging,and 1.107 slugging in his whole entire career…I think he will bring versatility being able to DH , Catch (some games), and mostly play 1st base….one word VERSATILITY,