After a somewhat frigid couple of weeks, the hot stove may once again be beginning to burn. The Rangers and free agent Mike Napoli are actively discussing a two-year deal and are “highly motivated” to get it done, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
Despite the recent nostalgia that teams have been feeling (like Carlos Beltran heading back to the Astros and the Braves building a pitcher rotation excluding anyone under 30), a Napoli-to-Rangers reunion isn’t a done deal. Though Texas is considered the favorite, the Athletics and Orioles are both in hot pursuit of the veteran slugger as well.
All three teams are in need of some offensive support. The Rangers have lost some offensive output with the departures of Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland, and have not made major moves to replace those two so far this winter. The Athletics are currently leaning on Yonder Alonso at first base, but made an aggressive run at Edwin Encarnacion before he signed with the Indians.
In 2016, Napoli slashed a hearty .239/.335/.465, driving in a career-high 34 home runs, and was an integral part in Cleveland’s World Series run.