The Mariners, not surprisingly, are being linked on the rumor mill to a lot of hitters, from Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher to Cody Ross and Kevin Youkilis…
Here's another name to tuck away: Mike Napoli, the free agent most recently of the Texas Rangers. Napoli, who turned 31 in October, did not get a qualifying offer from the Rangers, so signing him would not cost the Mariners a draft pick (unlike Hamilton or Swisher, though that should not deter them from signing either).
My sources confirm the Jon Heyman tweet that the Mariners have made contact with Napoli's people.
With John Jaso, Jesus Montero and Mike Zunino set to battle for playing time behind the dish next season, the Mariners are not immediately in need of catching help, but they could view Napoli as a solution at first base – much like the Red Sox are doing.
The 31-year-old Napoli has played in one hundred thirty-three games at first over the past three seasons and could be open to making it his primary position if it means he will get the opportunity to play every day. The veteran slugger hit .227/.343/.469 with twenty-four home runs in one hundred eight games for the Rangers this season, down from his stellar 2011 numbers but still very productive.
SBN featured writer Cee Angi looked at the "best fits" for Napoli a few days ago, which is definitely worth a read if you haven’t already done so.