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Heyman: Mike Napoli’s former teams all interested in reunion

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01: Cleveland Indians First base Mike Napoli (26) singles to center to drive in a run during the fourth inning of the 2016 World Series Game 6 between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians on November 01, 2016, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. Chicago defeated Cleveland 9-3. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Mike Napoli is coming off one of the finer seasons of his career, and as a result, the free agent first baseman is drawing interest from several teams. Indications are that the three most serious in their pursuits of the 35-year-old slugger are all former teams of Napoli’s — the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Texas Rangers. Both the New York Yankees and Houston Astros remain longer-shot possibilities for him as well.

Napoli is coming off his first and only season in Cleveland, one in which he hit a career-high 34 home runs and drove in 101 runs, the first time he’s eclipsed the century mark in a season. He hit just .239, a 56-point drop from his 2015 average, but was one of Cleveland’s best power options en route to an American League pennant and near World Series win.

Winning is nothing new for Napoli. Over his 11-year career with the Angels, Rangers (twice), Red Sox, and Indians, he’s made the postseason eight times, playing in 15 total series, including three World Series appearances and a win with Boston in 2013. In his postseason career, he’s hit .228/.322/.396 in 66 games with eight home runs and 30 RBI.

Boston could easily move first baseman Hanley Ramirez into its now-vacant DH spot to make room at first for Napoli. The Indians obviously could plug him back into the spot he occupied last season, while the Rangers are expected to move on from their own free agent first baseman, Mitch Moreland. Napoli has spent two stints in Arlington with the Rangers, from 2011-12 and again in 2015. It was in 2012 that he made his lone All-Star appearance.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Michael

    Dec 1, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Check your stats and/or math. While you write “He hit just .239, a 56-point drop from his 2015 average”, his 2015 average was .224. So actually, he improved his BA by 15 points while upping his RBIs. Definitely fell off in the post-season, though.

  2. John

    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Napoli can go elsewhere. His post season was putrid and he probably cost Cleveland the series.

    • Sue

      Dec 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      His post season may have been putrid, but without his bat during the season, there may *not* have been a post season . . .

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