Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mike Napoli Actually Makes Sense for the Yankees?!

You don’t title a post with about fifteen exclamation points and question marks if you’re not looking for a few clicks or two that you normally wouldn’t get. Mike Napoli, or who I personally refer to as “Nappy Beard” on Twitter in fun, is set to hit free agency this season after a rollercoaster ride of a 2015 season. Should the Yankees take notice and would Napoli actually help the team in 2016? Honestly, as much as the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry doesn’t want me to say it, yes. Yes, maybe.

Napoli had been struggling mightily with the Red Sox before Boston looked to dump his salary and his 40 man roster spot at the trade deadline this season. Napoli was sent to the Texas Rangers where the former catcher and Red Sox first baseman added some versatility to the second chance that is now his career. Napoli played in 78 games for the AL West Division winning Rangers batting .295 with five home runs and 10 RBI in a return to form. Napoli’s .908 OPS was a sight for sore and un-expecting eyes in Arlington and even managed to add left field to his repertoire before it was all said and done. For Napoli to interest the Yankees though he is going to have to return to a position rather than add a new position, and that position is catcher.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe there is at least some discussion about Napoli, albeit as a part time player, adding the catcher position back to his bag of goodies for the 2016 season. In the team’s constant search for right-handed power, check, and a right-handed backup and compliment to Mark Teixeira at first base, check, Napoli could intrigue the Yankees this offseason on a one-year deal in a bench role. Why catcher though you ask? Well, Gary Sanchez was immediately named the team’s backup catcher by many after John Ryan Murphy was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Aaron Hicks but that talk may be a bit premature.

Sanchez, although he has done well in Double-A, Triple-A and Arizona Fall League this season, is very inexperienced and young to be handed the reigns in the Bronx. Sanchez could undoubtedly handle the position, and in my opinion he could do well at the position, but the New York Yankees are going to want Sanchez to play in more than 35 games in Triple-A before giving him the job. New York is rarely aggressive with their prospects and for that reason alone either Austin Romine or a one-year stop gap that can be easily designated for assignment in July like Napoli will be backing up Brian McCann come Opening Day 2016 in my opinion. I have been wrong though, once. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)