Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
But here’s where Napoli supposedly comes up lacking — according to conventional wisdom, his production merits a big contract if he’s catching, but he falls to the middle of the pack when his numbers are ranked against those of other first basemen.
But does Napoli really fall short when measured against other first basemen? The answer is a resounding no.
Since 2010, Napoli owns the seventh-highest OPS (.875) among players with at least 125 games at first base, just ahead of Lance Berkman (.874), and well ahead of All-Stars Mark Teixeira (.831), Ryan Howard (.822) and Justin Morneau (.814).
Extend the sample back to 2008, and Napoli’s still in the top 10, with his .879 OPS ninth overall, just behind Teixeira’s .883, ahead of standouts like Paul Konerko (.877), Howard (.862) and Adam Dunn (.830), and within shouting distance of old friend Adrian Gonzalez (.899).
When one further considers that Napoli compiled those numbers while catching for 370 of the 553 games he played in that span, his totals become even more impressive and suggest a player whose ability to provide elite-level production at first base is being undersold.
And with each keystroke, John Tomase added hundreds of thousands of dollars to Napoli's price tag.
The argument for the Red Sox to sign Mike Napoli is a simple one. The Sox need a power-hitting right-handed batter, who thrives at Fenway and who can cover first base. Mike Napoli checks all of those boxes.
In 13 at-bats in Fenway last season, Napoli had 6 hits, 3 home runs, and 8 RBIs. Of course, most batters put up those types of numbers on Sox pitching, but that's besides the point. You want a guy who's comfortable hitting in Boston, and Napoli clearly is.
I'm very curious to see what type of salary Napoli is asking for. I don't think there's anyway he gets anything touching Teixeira's or Howard's deal. And when you look at his OPS, compared with some of those very over highly over paid first basemen, Napoli could be a bargain.
Assuming, of course, he continues to put up those types of numbers. I've said at least twenty or thirty days in a row now, but I'm fully on-board the Napoli train. I may regret it in a few years, but right now, I just want to see the guy smash some balls with a 'B' on his cap.
Rest of the links: