UPDATE: Two reports have downplayed the link between Minnesota and Napoli, with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press both noting that nothing is imminent. Berardino reports that the Twins are focused on pitching upgrades at present.
ORIGINAL: The Twins are in serious talks to sign free-agent slugger Mike Napoli, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Napoli, 36, has drawn interest from the Mets and Rays this winter after undergoing surgery to repair a torn hand ligament in early December. If he completes a deal with Minnesota, he’d give the club a right-handed bat off the bench, serving as a complement to Joe Mauer at first base.
Minnesota had strong interest in signing Napoli last winter before he agreed to return for a third stint with Texas. The slugger appeared in 124 games with the Rangers, hitting just .193/.285/.428 but slugging 29 homers on the year.
The Twins are expected to be active in free agency this winter in their effort to augment a roster that surprisingly reached the postseason last season. In addition to signing Fernando Rodney to a one-year deal, the club has been linked to top arms like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta as well as reliever Zach Duke in recent rumors.