According to Richard Durrett, the Rangers are engaging in talks with Mike Napoli about a long-term contract extension. Jon Paul Morosi also tweeted that "there's a very good chance" an extension will be done by Opening Day.
Napoli, 30, was acquired by the Rangers last offseason from Toronto in exchange for Frank Francisco just a week after the Blue Jays had landed Napoli from Anaheim as part of the Vernon Wells trade.
Napoli came to Texas with a reputation for being a slugging catcher who wasn't good behind the plate, but his glovework and handling of pitchers got good reviews from the Rangers coaching staff and pitchers in 2011.
#25 / Catcher / Texas Rangers
Oct 31, 1981
Napoli had a career season in 2011, putting up a 1046 OPS in 113 games, despite spending several weeks on the disabled list.
Napoli is a free agent after the 2012 season, so it makes sense for the Rangers to try to lock him up on a multi-year deal now, particularly if they are willing to commit to him as their regular catcher going forward. The concern with Napoli is that he has spent most of his career as a part-time player...aside from 2010, when he logged 510 plate appearances (and had the lowest OPS of his career), he's never had more than last season's 432 plate appearances (a number he matched in 2009). In addition, his career high in games started at catcher is 84.
Napoli's offensive performance last season probably isn't sustainable, but if he puts up close to his career averages (.264/.359/.514) for the next few seasons, with decent defense behind the plate, he has significant value. I've suggested I'd be comfortable with three years, $25 million, but I suspect it would take a little more than that -- 3/$30, maybe -- to get a deal done.
|162 Game Avg.||162||585||502||83||133||27||1||32||85||7||4||68||143||.264||.359||.514||.873||129|
|LAA (5 yrs)||506||1804||1549||246||389||79||4||92||249||21||13||201||463||.251||.346||.485||.831||119|
|TEX (1 yr)||113||432||369||72||118||25||0||30||75||4||2||58||85||.320||.414||.631||1.046||171|