Free agent catcher Mike Napoli says that he is willing to play any position that will keep him in a team’s regular lineup everyday, even if it isn’t behind the plate. Although the former Texas Rangers All-Star catcher would love to remain behind the plate he is open to playing any position for which ever team he signs with during the offseason.
Napoli said “I just want to play. I feel most comfortable behind the plate because that’s where most of my reps have been. Do I think I can be good at first base if I had reps and practiced it all the time? Yes. But it’s not like I’m saying I have to be a catcher. I just want to be in the lineup and play. If it’s at catcher, I’ll catch or at first base. I’ll play there. But I like catching, I look at myself as a catcher.”
Napoli says that he is drawing interest from “a bunch of teams” but also said he does has some interest in returning to Texas even though they failed to extend a qualifying offer to him. Napoli wasn’t surprised that the Ranges didn’t make the one-year $13.3 million qualifying offer to him saying “It’s a business and that’s how they felt and I understand that” in regards to the lack of an offer.
Last season Napoli had an off year hitting .227 with 24 home runs and 56 runs batted-in as opposed to the .320 average 30 homers and 75 runs batted-in which he produced in 2011. Napoli says that the left quad strain that he suffered in the middle of last season truly had an effect on his performance.
Two of the teams that are reportedly interested in Napoli’s services are the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but the six-year pro wouldn’t disclose any of the teams that have shown interest in him.