MLB rumors are swirling around that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are interested in catcher Mike Napoli. Napoli, who hit .227 with 24 home runs and drove in 56 while striking out 125 times in only 352 at-bats, has recently said he would be open to a position change which means some teams might view him as a first baseman, the only other position he has played in the field.
The Red Sox are in need of a first baseman right now but the Yankees have Mark Teixeria under contract for a few more years making heaps of money. The Yankees don’t have a need at designated hitter either at the current moment given their desire to use the spot to rest some of their aging players while keeping their bats in the lineup.
The Yankees do have a need at catcher but Napoli hasn’t caught more than 80 games behind the plate since 2009 when he caught a career-high 96. However, Napoli’s defense is only mediocre on a good day and awful on a normal one so it wouldn’t make sense if the Yankees are pursuing him for their vacant catcher position.
Perhaps Yankees GM Brian Cashman sees Napoli as part of a platoon at DH, a guy who wouldn’t need to start all the time but surely they can find a more inexpensive option to fill that need. Or, perhaps the real reason the Yankees are suddenly rumored to be in on Napoli is to drive up the cost on the Boston Red Sox, a team that has a lot of money to burn after trading Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the Yankees and Red Sox have entered into a bidding war where one team just isn’t that interested. Even Yankee all-time greats Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera created bidding wars between the Red Sox and Yankees to secure the contracts they desired from the Yankees.
Perhaps the Yankees interest in Napoli is nothing more than an attempt to drive up the price on the Red Sox. After all, it isn’t like Napoli fits on the Yankees roster unless it is at catcher and I don’t think Yankees fans wish to see that disaster unfold.