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.
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.