That party at Napoli’s may not be as raging as previously thought. There’s been a holdup in the joyous reunion between the veteran and the Rangers: Texas is only interested in signing Napoli to a one-year deal, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
While Napoli’s value isn’t of question, it is subject to hesitation. He slashed .239/.335/.465 last year, slugging 34 homers and striking out 194 times. However, when it comes to postseason numbers, Napoli has faltered in recent years. For Cleveland’s World Series run, he put up an anemic .167/.231/.167 and would make any team side-eye a contract with him when it comes down to the wire.
It also doesn’t come as a surprise that a 35-year old first baseman with limited defensive versatility wouldn’t inspire a long-term commitment from a team. Texas isn’t offering him anything less than what Cleveland was proposing before coming to terms with Edwin Encarnacion.
The market for aging power hitters is being played to the tune of a one-year contract. Sluggers like Adam Lind, Chris Carter and Brandon Moss have yet to secure themselves short-term contracts, so this isn’t a huge reflection on Napoli’s ability as much as it is in line with the temperature of the market. However, even with that in consideration, the World Series champion of yesteryear is still one of the best hitters left in the free agent pool and certainly worth the while of a year.