By: Josh Clark
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Texas Rangers have agreed to a one-year deal with fan favorite, Mike Napoli.
According to Sullivan, an official announcement is pending until Napoli passes a physical and the club can make room on their 40-man roster. The club has not confirmed the deal.
Ken Rosenthal said the deal is worth one-year and $8.5 million guaranteed. Texas also will get a club option on the first baseman for $11 million in 2018, or they can buy him out for $2.5 million.
Texas can create two spots on the 40-man roster by moving LHP Jake Diekman and Prince Fielder to the 60-day DL when spring training begins for some clubs on February 14.
This is the third time Napoli will be a Texas Ranger in his career. He previously played with Texas in 2011 and 2012, where he was voted as the starting catcher in the all-star game. Napoli returned for the second time when he was traded by the Boston Red Sox to Texas for the stretch run in 2015.
Napoli became a fan favorite during his first stint with the club. Fans would chant NAP-O-LI every time he came to the plate and would continue to do so even when he came as a visitor.
Napoli hit a career-high 34 home runs and knocked in 101 runners for Cleveland in 2016 as he led the Indians to the American League Championship and the World Series, where the Chicago Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit to capture the crown.
Despite the big numbers, Napoli only hit .239 in 557 AB’s, but he’s never been a guy that hit for a high average (career .252).
What Texas desperately needed to address this offseason was their gaping hole in the middle of the order.
With the departures of Ian Desmond, Carlos Beltran, Prince Fielder (retired) and Mitch Moreland in the off-season, adding Napoli’s bat will significantly help beef up the lineup.
Napoli is expected to play a major role at first base and DH in 2017.
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