The Rangers had a fantastic season - right up until the end. They lost the American League West on the final day of the season, so they were forced to play the one-game Wild Card playoff. And they lost. The Baltimore Orioles earned the right to move on into the Division Series. But looking back, the Rangers still had an impressive season considering some of the injuries. However, one of the key players these past two years for Texas, a player who battled through injuries this season, may not be back. Mike Napoli's status is uncertain in Texas as the catcher/DH heads into free agency.
According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers are in the market for a catcher. This does not necessarily mean they won't bring Napoli back, but the team has already considered what they would have to offer Napoli to get draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. Sullivan says the qualifying offer (as part of the new CBA) for Napoli would be $13.3 million for one year. Yet, the team is not even sure they will offer him that.
Texas is looking at a possible trade for the Toronto Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia to help bolster their backstop position. If the two teams did pull off a trade, it would seem even more likely that Napoli would not return.
Napoli had a down year this past season, but that may have been due to injuries. The most significant injury came in August when the Rangers had to place Napoli on the DL with a strained left quad. It took him some time to return to game action. In fact, Napolis missed over a month. He did not return until mid-September. His struggles continued after his return though.
Interestingly, Napoli was named to his first All-Star Game this season despite his struggles at the plate. And the truth is, even with the low batting average, he still provided some offensive power. If the Rangers choose not to bring him back because of money concerns, it could be a big mistake. Napoli is turns 31 on Halloween, but has a lot of offense left in him. He helped transform this Rangers team into a contender. The Rangers should consider a contract extension for Napoli unless they believe him to still be hampered by injuries.
var _gaq = _gaq || ;
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script'); s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);