Thursday, September 27, 2012
Thinking About 2013 : The Catching Situation
As we all know Russell Martin will be a free agent after the 2012 season, thankfully not signing the extension this past off season, and so will backup Chris Stewart. That only leaves the Yankees with long time back up and fist pumper Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine, who missed most of the 2012 season with a back injury. What should the Yankees do to shore up, or stop gap for guys like Gary Sanchez, the catching situation for next season? One guy comes to mind when I looked at the 2013 Free Agents from MLB Trade Rumors, Mike Napoli.
Napoli is not going to bat .300, he is not going to be Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate and controlling the running game, but he will be a definite improvement over what we have had the last couple of seasons. Napoli is a power hitting catcher that is currently playing for the Texas Rangers and has played for them the last two seasons. Napoli strikes out a little more then you would like to see but also has a nice on base percentage to even it out. That is just the beginning of what Napoli could bring to this team.
Napoli, like I said, is in his second season with the Texas Rangers so he has post season, pennant chase, and World Series experience which is always a plus in New York. You do not hear about Napoli being a trouble maker, a club house cancer, or anything like that so I consider that another plus to the Yankees. Mike Napoli is also easily considered the best available catcher, unless the Braves somehow have a computer glitch and click DECLINE when asked to pick up the option on Brian McCann, and the Yankees love to get the big names.
While both Napoli and Russell Martin are both hitting around .200 the similarities pretty much stop there. Napoli's OBP is usually around .120 points higher then his batting average and has a mid .400 SLG% year in and year out.In 2014 Napoli will be two years removed from a 30 home run season while Russell has never had a 20 home run season in his career. Napoli is having a considerable "down" season this year and still has a 20 point higher wRC+ at 106 so this kind of seems like a no brainer to me. Napoli also has less errors then Russell Martin, although he is no defensive catcher by any means, and also has some experience at 1B which could come in handy to give Teixeira days off.
The downside of Napoli will be that there are not a ton of power hitting catchers so the market should be pretty high for Mike. Not to mention that this will be his first year of free agency so he will probably want a multi year deal. This season Mike Napoli signed a 1 year,$9.4 million deal to avoid arbitration and stay with the team so expect a, and I say this loosely, significant raise on that. Is he going to command $15 million a season? Doubtful but I do not see him taking an AAV of less then $12 million in my opinion. This should be considered by the Yankees brass and the Yankees fans alike because this, assuming the money is right, makes too much sense NOT to do.
Plus his girlfriend would be a very welcomed addition to the wives and girlfriends section...