As first reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cleveland Indians have agreed to a one-year contract with veteran free agent first baseman Mike Napoli.
The contract, which goes for one year and $7 million, actually represents a major pay cut for Napoli, who earned $16 million in each of the last two seasons. Napoli’s value plummeted, relatively speaking, because of his very Jekyll-and-Hyde 2015 season. Napoli began the season with the Boston Red Sox and was quickly mired in a hitting slump that he couldn’t manage to get the better of. In 98 games with Boston, Napoli could only manage the impotent slash line of .207/.307/.386.
In August, the Red Sox dealt Napoli to the Rangers for very little in return — a player to be named later. Re-united with the Rangers, Napoli’s bat immediately awoke: in 35 regular-season games as a ranger, Napoli hit .295/.396/.513. Napoli’s timely hitting was a huge factor in the Rangers’ unexpected storm into the American League playoffs, where they lost in the Division Series to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Napoli has spent his career with the Rangers (two stints), Red Sox, and Angels — successful teams who regularly make the playoffs. Since Napoli’s debut in 2006, he has only missed the playoffs three times: with the 2006 Angels (89-73), 2010 Angels (80-82), and 2014 Red Sox (71-91). Napoli made the 2011 World Series with the Rangers and won the 2013 World Series with the Red Sox.