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Rangers “optimistic” about locking up Mike Napoli this winter

Dec 1, 2011, 7:25 PM EDT

napoli reuters Reuters

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is currently scheduled to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2012 season. But the Texas front office is hoping that he won’t even get a whiff of the open market.

According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Rangers are going to attempt to sign Napoli to a multi-year extension later this winter and are “optimistic” that something will get done.

Napoli posted a fantastic .320/.414/.631 slash line across 113 games this past year for the American League-champion Rangers. His value has never been higher and the Rangers will likely have to spend big in order to lock him up long-term, but the fact that they’re not in the running for any of the elite free agents on the market this winter (beyond perhaps C.J. Wilson) might serve as an indication that the club has cash at the ready for the 30-year-old slugger.

Napoli earned a $5.8 million salary in 2011 as a third-year arbitration-eligible player.

  1. SmackSaw - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    He’ll turn them down. He’ll be in Fenway or Wrigley in 2013. Bank on it. Napoli is loyal to Napoli. Now is his chance to cash in.

    • cur68 - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:50 PM

      Using that logic, wouldn’t playing for a winner like the Rangers (the most consistently good team in baseball the last 2 seasons & no argument) be what’s best for Napoli? He’s rich by now and any long term deal the Rangers offer will make him richer. Now what he needs is that legacy of being great on a great team. To ensure his legacy he needs to be on a team that will showcase him and what he can do. That’s the Rangers. No other team has given him this kind of stage before. Why go anywhere else?

  2. skeleteeth - Dec 1, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Mike Napoli has the tattoo to prove he was the luckiest man alive last year…

  3. baseballisboring - Dec 1, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    I’m curious as to what he’ll get…did they use him more at DH/1B or catcher last year? If they view him as a full time catcher coming off a .320/.414/.631 he could be asking for a big number.

    • Mike Luna - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:03 AM

      The Rangers don’t view anyone as a full time catcher. Because of the sweltering Texas heat and the toll that that can take on a player, they seem to be determined to maintain two catchers that split time.

      Although, Napoli’s diversity in the field gives him an edge. Going into negotiations, he can rightly point out that 1B and DH gives the team more options.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:12 AM

        Isn’t pretty much every player capable of playing first and DHing, though? There’s a reason they’re at the far end of the defensive spectrum.

      • Mike Luna - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        The Rangers don’t think so. There was a lot of discussion of moving David Murphy to 1B, but internally the team never felt like he took to it. It just wasn’t going to work.

        “Firstbase is not that hard. Tell ‘em Wash.”
        “It’s extremely hard.”

  4. beerjunkie - Dec 1, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    He is a DH first, 1B second, and C third for the Rangers.

    • Mark - Dec 1, 2011 at 9:12 PM

      That would be true, except he spent 50% of his time catching, 23% as a 1B and 27% as a DH.

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