Mike Napoli Rumors
The Red Sox and Royals have had some discussions about a trade centered around Jon Lester and Wil Myers, and that's not the only trade possibility for Ben Cherington to consider in the week leading up to the Winter Meetings. Here are the details from Boston...
- Friends of Cody Ross believe the Red Sox are in the lead for the outfielder, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Ross seeks a three-year deal and hasn't had new talks with the Red Sox in the last few days.
- Mike Napoli appears to be Boston's top free agent target, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports (on Twitter). In the words of Lauber's source, everyone else is "1A" behind Napoli.
- The Red Sox haven't had discussions with Lester about a possible extension, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The left-hander has one guaranteed year remaining on his contract with Boston. He'll earn $11.675MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $13MM option for 2014. Lester has said in the past that he'd be open to discussing an extension if the Red Sox are interested.
- Rival teams say the Red Sox are open to dealing Andrew Bailey, Olney reports (on Twitter). However, the reliever’s trade value remains low, so it doesn’t appear likely that the Red Sox will move him. Olney reported last month that the Blue Jays considered acquiring Bailey for manager John Farrell.
Some Monday night links pertaining to baseball's two western divisions...
- The Diamondbacks have signed Mark Teahen to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro (on Twitter). Teahen looked to have a bright future in the middle of the Royals' lineup back in 2006, but has seen his production steadily decline. He spent 2012 with the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, batting .260/.328/.360 in 124 games.
- The Rangers will meet with Mike Napoli on Tuesday to see where the two sides stand in regard to each other, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Rangers elected not to extend a qualifying offer to Napoli due to his dip in production and because of the fact that he's viewed as more of a part-time catcher than someone who can catch 130+ games.
- The Padres have had more discussions about trades than they have free agency, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter).
- In a piece for MLB.com, Brock writes that the Padres would like to add two starting pitchers to their rotation this season, but quotes GM Josh Byrnes as saying they're not in a position to take fliers on injury risks. Brock speculates that Joe Blanton could be a fit for the Pads, which I agree makes sense for them.
Free agent catcher Mike Napoli met with Boston executives over the weekend, though the Red Sox don't appear to have extended him a formal offer. Here are today’s Napoli-related rumors, with the most recent updates at the top:
- Napoli and agent Brian Grieper are scheduled to meet with the Rangers this week, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports. The meeting will likely take place on Wednesday.
- The Mariners seek offense, experience and leadership and may be the best bet to offer Napoli the four-year deal he wants, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Mariners, who finished last in the American League in runs scored again, will almost certainly add other hitters, according to Rosenthal.
- Napoli appears to be the top target of the Red Sox, ahead of Nick Swisher, Adam LaRoche and others, Rosenthal writes.
- While the Rangers want Napoli back, “they want him to return on their terms” in the words of one person. Rosenthal suggests this means the Rangers wouldn’t go beyond three years for the right-handed hitter.
- The Yankees still figure to re-sign Russell Martin, another free agent backstop.
Mike Napoli met with Red Sox management and ownership this weekend, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (Twitter links). Multiple outlets report the meeting took place yesterday and the Red Sox contingent included owner John Henry, manager John Farrell, and GM Ben Cherington. No offer has yet been made by the team, according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
Napoli, number 14 on MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agents list, has drawn interest from the Mariners, Rangers, and Yankees, in addition to the Red Sox. Napoli reportedly has already met with the Mariners and will meet with the Rangers this week. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio tweeted Napoli is determined to obtain a four-year contract and is waiting for the Red Sox or Rangers to blink, although the Mariners are still in the mix.
Napoli posted a .227/.343/.469 line with 24 home runs in 417 plate appearances as a catcher, first baseman, and designated hitter this past season. The 31-year-old is a client of Brian Grieper at Paragon Sports International.
Free agent catcher/first baseman/DH Mike Napoli has drawn interest from the Mariners, Rangers, Red Sox, and Yankees so far this offseason. The Brian Grieper client is reportedly holding out for a four-year contract, however. Here's the latest on the 2012 All-Star...
- Napoli is meeting with the Red Sox in Boston this weekend, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Yesterday we learned that he's already met with the Mariners.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) evaluators view Napoli as a part-time catcher only, not someone who can play 120+ games behind the plate.
FRIDAY: The Mariners are definitely in on Napoli and the Rangers and Red Sox are also involved, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
THURSDAY: The Red Sox and Mariners continue pursuing free agent catcher Mike Napoli, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter). Napoli is holding out for a fourth guaranteed year from Boston, and he's meeting with the Mariners, who might be willing to commit for the extra year.
The Mariners, Red Sox and Yankees are among the teams that have already been linked to Napoli this offseason. The 31-year-old ranked 14th on MLBTR’s top 50 free agent list earlier in the month. He did not obtain a qualifying offer from the Rangers, which means he won’t be linked to draft pick compensation. In 417 plate appearances as a catcher, first baseman and designated hitter, Napoli posted a .227/.343/.469 line with 24 home runs this past season. He is a client of Paragon Sports International.
Agents and players have considerably more interest in Baltimore as a potential destination now that the Orioles are viewed as a contender, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. "It's winning," one agent told Olney. "Period.” Some free agents now list the Orioles as a team they’d like to join. Here are more notes from Olney, starting in Baltimore...
- The Orioles are looking for starting pitching and hope to bring Joe Saunders back. Jeremy Guthrie’s three-year, $25MM contract could affect Saunders’ asking price, as Olney points out.
- While the Orioles have talked about adding a bat, they’re not expected to be particularly aggressive about free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.
- The Marlins, Indians and Pirates are among the teams that could have trouble luring free agents even if they’re offering competitive salaries.
- One AL GM credits the Red Sox for building a team that plays well in Fenway Park.
- Earlier in the offseason there had been talk that the SoftBank Hawks, the Japanese team that recently agreed to sign Bryan LaHair, could pursue veteran free agents such as Mike Napoli or Kevin Youkilis.
- A number of teams, including the Indians, are scouting left-hander Scott Kazmir, Olney writes. The Astros had some interest in Kazmir during the regular season.
- Olney suggests arbitration eligible players such as Chris Heisey and A.J. Ellis could be candidates for two or three-year extensions this winter.
2:38pm: The Yankees are also interested in Napoli, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter). The Yankees have a need at catcher, since Russell Martin has also hit free agency. Both Napoli and Martin have strong career numbers against left-handed pitching.
10:39am: Even with David Ross under contract through 2014 and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway on the roster, the Red Sox are still interested in free agent catcher Mike Napoli, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The Red Sox could use Napoli at first base and/or trade a catcher -- perhaps Saltalamacchia -- to create space on the roster.
The Red Sox are doing extensive background work on Napoli, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). The Mariners also have some level of interest in the catcher, a client of Paragon Sports International.
The Red Sox are expected to pursue first basemen this offseason, and Adam LaRoche could appeal to the team's front office executives. Alternatively, the club could rely on a platoon of Mauro Gomez and Jerry Sands at first base, as GM Ben Cherington recently suggested.
Napoli, 31, ranked 14th on MLBTR’s top 50 free agent list. He did not obtain a qualifying offer from the Rangers, which means he won’t be linked to draft pick compensation. In 417 plate appearances as a catcher, first baseman and designated hitter, Napoli posted a .227/.343/.469 line with 24 home runs this past season.
Here's the latest out of Fenway and the potential fallout from their signing of catcher David Ross to a two-year, $6.2MM deal..
- Many believe that Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be the odd man out in Boston with Ross now in the picture, but one rival exec told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that the club has actually been shopping Saltalamacchia for weeks. The catcher turned in a career-high 25 homers last season but saw his average dip (.222/.288/.454) and his strikeout total climb (139) in 448 plate appearances.
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald notes that Ross would be a sensible option to split time with the switch-hitting Saltalamacchia. However, the Red Sox have long coveted catcher Ryan Lavarnway and have refused to discuss moving him before the trade deadline in each of the past two seasons.
- The Red Sox are known to have Mike Napoli on their radar and are targeting him as an option at first base. However, multiple industry sources tell Lauber that the veteran strongly prefers to stay behind the plate. That doesn't come as a major surprise considering his value is greater as a catcher than a first baseman.
- The Red Sox could stand to clear some room off of their 40-man roster, so a trade involving Salty would likely include another player or two, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Abraham sees the Cubs, Mariners, Mets, Pirates, and White Sox as possible fits for the catcher.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't expect Hiroki Kuroda or Nick Swisher to accept their qualifying offers, Heyman tweets. We learned last night that Rafael Soriano will reject his as well, but the sides are still talking (Twitter link).
- Even though the Giants have been getting calls on Brandon Belt, they won't be trading him, according to Heyman (via Twitter). The club's current goals are to goals are to re-sign Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro while fortifying their bullpen. That includes retaining Jeremy Affeldt, if they can.
- The Red Sox don't see Zack Greinke as a fit for Boston but they are still thinking a bit about Josh Hamilton, Heyman tweets. It remains unlikely that the Red Sox will go for the free agent slugger, however. Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote that the Phillies could be one surprise suitor for Hamilton.
- The Mariners have reached out to catchers Russell Martin and Mike Napoli, tweets Heyman. Heyman adds that General Manager Jack Zduriencik is also looking at corner outfield bats. Nick Swisher is one corner bat that the Mariners are considering, Heyman tweets.
- The Giants have been getting lots of calls on Brandon Belt, according to Heyman (via Twitter). Belt comes with solid upside and quality defense and is not yet arbitration-eligible.