Astros Hot Stove Rumor: Interest in Mike Napoli This Offseason?
Once again, the Astros are expressing interest in a hitter with years of experience.
Among hitters in whom #Astros have shown interest, per sources: Mike Napoli. Team prefers LHH, but Nap could be 1B/DH and offer leadership.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2016
That’s right, Mike Napoli could be a potential target for Houston.
And it is easy to see why the Astros would be interested in his services as he brings a left handed bat and veteran presence.
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Even though he isn’t a young hitter any longer, Napoli has been a consistent force in the lineup when needed. He just in fact hit 34 home runs to go with an 104 OPS+ for the AL champions, Cleveland Indians.
That level of production would fit in nicely in Houston as the lineup is still right handed heavy. Brining Napoli onboard to this young team could provide a similar spark like it did in Cleveland this year.
With the addition of McCann, the Astros are unlikely to play Napoli at catcher. First base and designated hitter remains the two likely assignments.
However, it would unrealistic to expect a repeat performance in 2017. Napoli is in fact 35-years old, and his past season was his best since 2013. Odds are that he will likely produce around those levels. And then there is the concern of a further drop off in the near future.
Napoli still holds some value though. Especially for a team like the Astros who are lacking a productive first baseman at the moment. A short two-year contract makes the most sense for both sides. The veteran infielder gets another shot at contention and Houston’s roster improves while maintaining long term flexibility.
Signing Napoli wouldn’t qualify as a major acquisition for the Astros. We still have to wait and see about the “big” splash. But if this rumor materializes then this is a solid baseball move.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**