Mike Napoli Rumors

AL East Notes: Rays, Red Sox, Napoli, Weber

We rounded up several Orioles rumors from Orlando right here, but the O's aren't the only AL East team making news. Let's check in on a few more items related to Baltimore's division rivals….

  • Rays GM Andrew Friedman says he made some progress in talks today, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Topkin suggests the Rays have been meeting more with other teams than with agents.
  • Friedman added that nothing is imminent for the Rays when it comes to the club's pursuit of a first baseman, tweets Topkin.
  • A Red Sox source tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link) that the team's discussions for Matt Kemp haven't reached the serious stage, and are unlikely to do so.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links), that the Sox need "two guys to play shortstop" and that a handful of teams have inquired on Boston's starting pitching surplus. The club doesn't appear inclined to move a starter at this point though.
  • The Red Sox are among one of three or four teams with some interest in Carlos Marmol, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, who cites the Brewers as another possible suitor (Twitter link).
  • Mike Napoli's new two-year contract with the Red Sox includes a limited no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
  • The Blue Jays are nearing an agreement to sell Thad Weber's rights to the NC Dinos in South Korea, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). Once the deal is finalized, it will reduce the Jays' 40-man roster count to 39 players.

Notes On Granderson, Beltran, Napoli

Robinson Cano's blockbuster contract with the Mariners has generated the most headlines, but on another wild day of free agency, there's plenty of more news to go around.  Here are some stray items about three of Friday's other major signings — Curtis Granderson's four-year deal with the Mets, Carlos Beltran's three-year deal with the Yankees and Mike Napoli re-signing with the Red Sox for two years.

  • The fourth year seemed to be the sticking point between Granderson and the Mets, but GM Sandy Alderson made the decision on Thursday night to offer the extra year and received approval from ownership, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (all Twitter links).
  • Granderson gives the Mets a much-needed outfield bat, ESPN's Keith Law writes, though with Granderson already showing signs of decline, Law figures the Mets are only really counting on him to produce in the first two years of his deal.  2015 could be the key year, as it appears the Mets are looking to contend once Matt Harvey is back from Tommy John surgery.
  • Also from Law, he thinks Beltran improves the Yankees lineup but it's a risky three-year commitment to a player entering his age-37 season.  An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read Law's pieces.
  • The Royals were rumored to have been the mystery team who made Beltran a three-year, $48MM offer earlier this week but a source tells ESPN's Jayson Stark that those rumors were "not accurate."  Kansas City's trade for Norichika Aoki on Thursday seemed to be a sign that they had moved on from the Beltran sweepstakes.
  • That larger offer could have come from the Diamondbacks, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the D'Backs offered Beltran a three-year deal worth more than the $45MM he received from New York.  The signing would have boosted Arizona's payroll, and Piecoro wonders if the Snakes are willing to surpass the $100MM-payroll threshold to fill their needs this winter, or if they were just focused on Beltran in particular.
  • Several members of the Red Sox roster urged the front office to up its offer to Napoli from two years/$30MM, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports.  The players were responding to a rumor that the Rangers had made an offer "too good for Napoli to refuse," and the Sox indeed upped their offer to $32MM.  The raise and the support from his teammates was enough to sway Napoli, who was already preferring to stay in Boston anyway.
  • The Rangers actually never made a formal offer to Napoli, one source told Bradford.

Mike Napoli Talks Reach Critical Stage

11:24am: Napoli's market is picking up, and the Mariners, Marlins, Rangers and Red Sox are all involved, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi adds that the Mariners have had "recent" talks with Napoli.

10:57am: Mike Napoli's free agent negotiations are at a critical stage, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  He says Napoli wants to remain with the Red Sox, but he has an offer from another club that Boston will need to match or exceed.  Earlier, Rosenthal tweeted that the Rangers and Marlins are in on Napoli, who remains a priority for the Red Sox.  The Rangers are interested even after acquiring Prince Fielder, which is seemingly made possible by the designated hitter spot.

Napoli was one of 13 players to receive a qualifying offer in November, so signing him will require forfeiture of a draft pick for teams other than the Red Sox.  The 32-year-old switched to first base full-time in 2013 for Boston, hitting .259/.360/.482 in 578 plate appearances and playing in the postseason for the sixth time in eight seasons.  Last offseason, Napoli's three-year, $39MM deal with the Red Sox was renegotiated down to a one-year, $5MM guarantee after his physical revealed a degenerative hip condition.  With Curtis Granderson receiving four guaranteed years today from the Mets, I think Napoli has a good case for the same.

Central Notes: Beltran, Hart, Konerko, Twins

While we try and catch our breath from an insanely busy day here at MLBTradeRumors, let's take a glance at the latest out of the AL and NL Central.. 

  • Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that Carlos Beltran still isn't close on a deal with anyone.  Earlier today, we heard that Beltran had already received an offer of three years and $48MM from the Royals.
  • Free agent Corey Hart has been cleared for baseball activities, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter). The first baseman/outfielder missed all of 2013 with the Brewers thanks to knee injuries.
  • Paul Konerko will tell the White Sox if he intends to play in 2014 before the Winter Meetings begin December 9th, a source tells Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com (on Twitter).
  • At today's introductory press conference for Ricky Nolasco, Twins GM Terry Ryan confirmed that the club isn't done free agent shopping, tweets Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.
  • The Pirates view Mike Napoli as the perfect fit at first base but it still doesn't appear they will lay out the cash needed to sign him, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Red Sox Preparing Alternatives To Own Free Agents

The Red Sox are still waiting for free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to decide whether to accept Boston's free agent offers, but they're nearing the point when they might move forward, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The Red Sox haven't set deadlines for any of their free agents to accept offers, but a source tells Bradford that the Sox are "certainly working on other options, also." The Red Sox told at least one player that they would soon need to make plans to potentially acquire another player to take his place.

Ellsbury, Napoli and Drew all rejected qualifying offers from Boston, and the Red Sox have since made new offers to all three players. Saltalamacchia did not receive a qualifying offer, but the Red Sox did offer him a two-year deal at an annual amount below the $14.1MM qualifying offer figure.

Marlins Have Discussed Mike Napoli

The Marlins have discussed Mike Napoli and could get involved at the right price, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Napoli signing with Miami isn't likely if he has better options (link), but he's a South Florida native and he is good friends with Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis.

We recently heard that the Marlins were interested in free agent catcher Dioner Navarro (as well as pitcher Phil Hughes), but Napoli represents a much more ambitious target for Miami.  While a big-name free agent like Napoli being connected to the Marlins will clearly be met with skepticism (and rightfully so), it's worth pointing out that they were very much in the mix for Jose Dariel Abreu before he signed with the White Sox.  That pursuit, at the very least, indicates that the Fish may have some willingness to spend on a first baseman to pair with Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of their lineup.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

AL East Notes: Moreland, Cano, Napoli, Sox, Orioles

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that the Rays have some interest in Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, who could be deemed expendable in the wake of Texas' acquisition of Prince Fielder. The Rangers, of course, covet David Price, and including Moreland in a package for him (presumably as a somewhat minor component) could take a potential destination away from the Mets in their shopping of Ike Davis. Here's more out of the AL East…

  • Within that same piece, Martino writes that the Fielder-Ian Kinsler swap may not impact the Robinson Cano market as much as many initially thought. Cano is markedly better than Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, so if he wants to be a Ranger or Tiger and the price isn't crazy, those players shouldn't preclude Texas or Detroit from striking a deal.
  • The Red Sox seem to be letting Mike Napoli's market develop before deciding what their final offer to him will be, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald spoke with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington who told him that the team is "in a position to be a little choosy, a little selective" in its search for a new catcher. Cherington says the Sox are interested in a "small handful of free agents" and has also actively pursued trades at catcher.
  • On Brian McCann's recent five-year contract with the Yankees, Boston catcher and close friend of McCann, David Ross, told Lauber: "He told me, I think it came down to years. When you add an option for six, it puts you at almost $100 (million), that’s a game-changer." Cherington wouldn't indicate to Lauber how far the Red Sox were willing to go in negotiations.
  • Mark Ellis is considered an option for the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, but Baltimore has yet to reach out to the second baseman.
  • Kubatko also reports that the Orioles don't have any immediate interest in first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones, who was designated for assignment by the Pirates yesterday.
  • One more from Kubatko, who reported last week that the Orioles won't look to re-sign left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who never appeared with the O's after signing a two-year deal prior to the 2012 season. Wada fell victim to Tommy John surgery and didn't make it to the big league level in Baltimore. Executive vice president Dan Duquette told Kubatko: "I think that the Wada chapter is over with the Orioles. We're just going in another direction … I'm sorry that it didn't work out, but it's time to move on."

West Notes: A’s, Mariners, Bourjos, Samardzija, Kemp

The Athletics have reached a new lease agreement with O.Co Coliseum that runs through December of 2015, according to an Associated Press report (via ESPN). The A's will pay $1.75MM in each year of the lease. Here are some more links pertaining to baseball's western divisions…

  • The Mariners are pursuing both Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltrantweets Buster Olney of ESPN. He wonders — as many do — whether or not Seattle will appeal to major free agents, as they've had difficulty luring top hitters there in previous years.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports definitively writes that the Mariners are interested in Mike Napoli (he'd received conflicting information earlier in the month). Rosenthal also notes the difficulty that the Mariners have had in luring top free agents such as Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder but notes that Seattle could simply overpay to land their free agent targets. Two separate sources called the Mariners "desperate," and as Rosenthal notes: "Desperate teams spend money. Desperate teams are capable of just about anything." Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury are also on the team's wish list, says Rosenthal.
  • Also from Rosenthal, the Angels learned that Peter Bourjos didn't have enough value to land them the controllable young starting pitcher they coveted on the trade market, and so they elected to use him to fill another hole — third base. While many in the media have pegged the deal as a win for the Cardinals, Rosenthal writes that the common perception of Bourjos' value may not line up with the actual perception among teams.
  • Lastly from Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks know what it would take to land Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs, but their fear is that if they pounce too soon on a deal, they could miss out on a bigger value later in the offseason. The Angels aren't a fit for Samardzija, Rosenthal adds, because the Cubs want young pitching in exchange for Samardzija.
  • The Dodgers' biggest risk in weighing Matt Kemp trades isn't deciding to hang onto him and finding out he's no longer an MVP-caliber player, opines Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Rather, the biggest risk facing the Dodgers is learning that Kemp indeed still is that player, but finding out by seeing him prove it in a Mariners, Red Sox or Rangers uniform. Brown feels it's in the Dodgers' best interest to hang onto Kemp.
  • Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that the Angels' acquisition of Fernando Salas and Joe Smith could make Kevin Jepsen a non-tender candidate.

Red Sox Notes: Short/Third, Starters, Catchers, Napoli

Here's the latest out of Beantown, with plenty of information straight from Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and club CEO and president Larry Lucchino:

  • Cherington touched on a range of issues in comments to the media today, as reported by Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Boston feels confident improved production from the left side of its infield with in-house options like Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts, says Cherington. But he said the club will look to add "at least somebody on the left side of the infield. Whether that's more in the form of an everyday player or depth, whatever that is, it just depends on how the rest of our offseason unfolds."
  • With an attractive set of starting pitchers under contract, Cherington acknowledged that the team has received interest. "We've had a number of conversations and I think it's no secret, one area we have a little bit of depth in is the rotation," he said, adding that it remains to be seen "what that means for [the Red Sox]" since the club is wary of leaving itself too thin in the event of an unexpected injury. 
  • The club will be "a little choosy, a little selective" about addressing its catching need, said Cherington, given its "pretty strong position long-term with the young catching we have in the organization." 
  • On the overall market, also via Speier, Lucchino sums things up succinctly: "everyone is expecting [the market] will go up because nothing ever goes down and because there's new television money available." While the club would like to keep down its long-term commitments, he says, and "still value[s] the draft picks enormously," he acknowledged that a "diverse portfolio of contracts" will include some that are "longer than you want."
  • Ultimately, according to Lucchino, the Red Sox "are not going to be a stand-pat team." Explaining that he "learned a long time ago that you can't fall in love with your veterans," Lucchino said that each the club "will have a different personality, composition as well as personality."
  • One free agent that has obviously been tied to Boston is last year's first baseman, Mike Napoli. Opining that a reasonable projected value for Napoli (using various WAR projections and dollars-per-win figures) could reach as high as $80MM total over the next four years, SI.com's Jay Jaffe ultimately settles on predicting an eye-popping four-year, $68MM deal for the slugger.

AL Notes: Royals, Kinsler, Napoli, Rangers, Angels

It's a weak market for catchers now that the Yankees have taken Brian McCann off the board, an article by Bradley Woodrum of Fangraphs shows. While teams such as the Red Sox, Rockies and Rangers are still in the market for backstop help, the best remaining option, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, will bring a large platoon split to the lineup of whichever team signs him. Here's the latest from around the AL, as a busy evening on MLBTR draws to a close: