Astros interest in Napoli may show they’re still after Encarnacion

If Astros rumored interest in Mike Napoli is true, it’s only logical that Edwin Encarnacion is still a possibility.

One thing we know is that the Jeff Luhnow is very aggressive this offseason. He has already got the jump on his competition by trading for Brian McCann and Josh Reddick. Brian McTaggart came on Talking Stros last night and said the Astros are not done, looking for at least one more bat. On the show, we have said many times that the team most likely won’t trade for a big name starter.

McTaggart echoed that belief on the show last night. We suggested that the Astros could be happy with the current rotation as long as the offense produces. They have already beefed up the offense from the left side of the plate with Reddick and McCann. We talked a lot on the show last night about Carlos Beltran who is a very likely option. McTaggart thought that Beltran would be a great fit on this team.

Yesterday, after the show, there were reports from Ken Rosenthal that the Astros were interested in Mike Napoli. Rosenthal said the Astros preferred a LH hitter, but looking for team leadership. Napoli had a rebound season in 2016 with 34 homers and 101 RBIs leading the Indians to the World Series. He was on a young team, and his leadership was on display in front of the world.

Listen to Brian McTaggart on the podcast below.

Encarnacion still an option for the Stros?

As much as Napoli could help this team, this interest means that they are looking for a big bat to play first. A few weeks ago, I made a bold prediction that the Astros would trade for McCann and sign Edwin Encarnacion. I got one of them right, but did I totally whiff on the Encarnacion part of the prediction?

This makes me believe that the Stros are still in on Encarnacion as he waits for the new CBA details to be revealed. If the luxury tax threshold rises, maybe the Red Sox or Yankees could outbid the Astros. On today’s High Heat on the MLB Network, Luhnow said that he was after one or two more bats. Could he be waiting Encarnacion out?

Because of the Astros interest in Napoli, they may be looking for a baby EE backup plan in Napoli. We are not entirely sure what Jim Crane has raised the payroll to for the 2017 season. If the Astros do sign the 33-year-old slugger, who hit 42 homers and drove in a career-high 127 runs, they are all-in. Jon Heyman reported that the Blue Jays offered Encarnacion about $80 million before agreeing to sign Kendrys Morales.

There was not a time frame attached to that, but I would assume that was for maybe four or five seasons. That would be between $16 to $20 million per season. The Astros may have to give an extra year or so, but hopefully, they will not have to go too high to outbid the other teams. I was hoping Luhnow would have already had signed him, but it seems like the Stros could be going all-in.

I will stick to my bold prediction that Encarnacion comes to Houston, even after the recent activity. Glad I’m a season ticket holder, this is going to be a fun ride. Napoli could be Plan B.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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