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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 23, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4308451)
What is Napolis defense at first base like? Since Youk moved over there in 2006 the Sox have been fortunate with solid defensive first basemen.

I think I'm with you that somewhere between 3/36 and 4/44 is about my upper limit. I'm a little torn, I feel like year three and four are going to be disappointments but right now we are so bad that I just want to see good players.
   2. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: November 23, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4308456)
What's the Marcel on this, MCOA? I'd imagine Napoli projects to 8-9 WAR over 4 years, without any of the positives referenced above. Paying market for Marcel and hoping for synergies sounds good to me.

EDIT: If he's a 3.5 WAR player today (avg of last 3 years) and declining by 1/2 win per year, he's worth 9 WAR over 4 years. If you want to call him a 3 WAR today, then he's 7 WAR over 4 years.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 23, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4308467)
Dumber-than-Marcel for Napoli:

+16 Bat - 1 Run + 15 Rep + 0 Pos - 2 Def = +28 RAR

That projects to something like a 3/40 or 4/50 contract assuming normalish aging. With Napoli's position, I think normalish aging isn't a very good assumption. For a part-time C/1B version of Napoli, I'd be very hesistant to go over 3/30.

The question with Napoli is what effects you'd see moving him to 1B full time. Obviously the first effect would be a major drop in his positional value, which would most likely not be offset by a corresponding increase in defensive value, like you'd see in the rest of the defensive spectrum. Would he be able to increase his playing time and his production enough to balance that out? Or more?

I tend to think "or more", so I head back up to the value projected by the Dumber-than-Marcel projection.
   4. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: November 23, 2012 at 08:07 PM (#4308502)
I wouldn't be hesitant to give him that 4th year, because they need a full time RH power hitter now. They can easily afford him. I'd worry about the 4th year in 4 years.
   5. Dan Posted: November 23, 2012 at 10:29 PM (#4308536)
The weird thing about Napoli's 2012 season is that he completely stopped hitting left-handed pitching, which he had ALWAYS crushed. His career line against LHP: .273/.381/.529 (.911 OPS). 2012 line against LHP: .179/.295/.411 (.706 OPS). If we drill a little deeper, we see he's walking at a pretty normal rate against LHP still: 17 walks in 132 PA is a reasonable number, and his OBP is .126 over his BA. His Isolated Power is still .231, which is only a tick below his career ISO against LHP. The bad year is entirely due to a ridiculously low .185 BABIP against LHP.

Another interesting split in his 2012 line is that he had just a .785 OPS in Arlington vs a .839 OPS on the road. His K rate was also much higher at home: 32.4% vs. 27.5% on the road. So most of the gain in strikeouts was at the Ballpark in Arlington. So if he's moving to Fenway for 81 games per year, the strikeout increase might not be an issue at all. (In 2011 his home/away strikeout rates were 20.0%/19.4%, respectively, so the big gulf between home and road strikeout rate appears to be a new phenomenon.)
   6. Dan Posted: November 23, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4308537)
I agree with Bivens in #4: the Red Sox would be foolish to lose 3 years of Napoli over hesitance to commit to a 4th year. If they need to eat the fourth year of the contract or if he's reduced to a platoon DH role by then, so what? The Red Sox desperately need patient hitters with power right now, and Napoli fits the bill. He's also an excellent fit for Fenway, and can play some C if one of the frontline catchers gets hurt.
   7. Dan Posted: November 23, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4308538)
What is Napolis defense at first base like? Since Youk moved over there in 2006 the Sox have been fortunate with solid defensive first basemen.


I'd guess Napoli's defense at first base is somewhere between -5 runs and 0 runs above average. He is a good receiver though as a former/part-time catcher, so he might make up a few runs there of what he lacks in defensive range. He also throws much better than most first basemen do (obviously).
   8. tfbg9 Posted: November 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4308543)
I'd guess Napoli's defense at first base is somewhere between -5 runs and 0 runs above average. He is a good receiver though as a former/part-time catcher, so he might make up a few runs there of what he lacks in defensive range. He also throws much better than most first basemen do (obviously).


Bingo. BBref has him at 0 in 1040 or so innings at 1B, and Fangraphs has him at -3.4 per 150.
   9. Textbook Editor Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:58 AM (#4308561)
One of my white whales... Get it done, Ben!
   10. Morton's Fork Posted: November 24, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4308686)
My sense, too, is that Napoli's only below-average defensive attribute at first base is range. If so, that's a good fit with a potential infield of Middlebrooks, Iglesius, and Pedroia. Beyeler could hand the guy a catcher's mitt and position him to hold the runner, whether or not there was a runner.
   11. BDC Posted: November 24, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4308697)
Just from watching him, Napoli is the kind of first baseman who stands around and catches the ball. Not as good as Mitch Moreland, not nearly as good as Chris Davis, at least as good as Michael Young. Will not embarrass his employers there.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 24, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4308746)
Now Napoli is traveling to Boston to meet with the club (per Heyman). This whole pursuit seems weirdly public at every step. Is it just life in the time of Twitter and MLBTR, or is this something Napoli's agent is using the drive interest?
   13. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 24, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4308753)
I think it's a little of both. Napoli is the type of free agent who probably can benefit from a fairly public negotiation. He seems like the type not to be bothered by the attention and I feel like he's someone who could have his price driven artificially high.
   14. Darren Posted: November 24, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4308785)
I kind of hate 4 years and I kind of hate that signing him means the Sox couldn't work a trade for a good 1B from St. Louis or somewhere. I'm also worried he'll age badly and quickly. I guess he'll be okay but it seems uninspired.
   15. Textbook Editor Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4308808)
#14--what if he's signed to C 60 games and 1B 80 games; does that change the feeling?

Why wouldn't they consider Ortiz at 1B for slightly more than just the interleague games in NL parks?
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4308815)
I kind of hate 4 years and I kind of hate that signing him means the Sox couldn't work a trade for a good 1B from St. Louis or somewhere.


I like the idea of trading for some of St. Louis' surplus, but the fact of the matter is that the Sox are currently cash-rich and in need of talent, so it makes a certain amount of sense for them to overpay in cash-for-talent (especially in cases where they don't lose a draft pick) instead of overpaying in talent-for-talent acquisitions. I don't know what the Cards would be asking for, but they have the leverage considering the Sox' need for players is more urgent than their need to solve logjams.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4308862)
#14--what if he's signed to C 60 games and 1B 80 games; does that change the feeling?
Napoli with the Rangers averaged 60 games at C and 40 games at 1B/DH. If he's catching, he's not a full-timer. I think that the only reasonable shot at meeting the goal of 140 games is for Napoli is to convert him to 1B basically full time.

Further, catching Napoli 60 games means ditching both Salty and Lavarnway. The Sox should be able to get reasonable use out of one of those two guys next year. It seems like a waste to spend $10M+ to replace major league talent the Sox already have, especially when they lack major league talent at so many other positions.
Why wouldn't they consider Ortiz at 1B for slightly more than just the interleague games in NL parks?
If they were going to do that, they could have done it any number of times in the last decade. The team's position has always been that Ortiz needs to stay off the field to stay healthy. Now that he's a significant injury risk even at DH, playing him more games at 1B doesn't make sense.
I kind of hate 4 years and I kind of hate that signing him means the Sox couldn't work a trade for a good 1B from St. Louis or somewhere.
I know I was being depressive on the Gomes thread, so this is really just an attitude change thing, but I think it's reasonable to remain hopeful that the Sox have some cool things planned even if one of those cool things isn't trading for a good 1B on the cheap. Even if they get Napoli, they'll still need a right fielder, a shortstop, and one or two starting pitchers. That's going to require some level of wheeler-dealing.

My guess, for what it's worth, on why the Sox have been overpaying a bit for bench talent is that the Sox have a crazy amount of work to do this offseason. Getting certainty in complementary roles they needed filled, early in the offseason, allows Ben and his team to focus on the bigger ticket items on the very long list of Red Sox needs. They still might end up choosing poorly on those, but I think it makes sense to check the minor items off the list now.
   18. Dan Posted: November 25, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4309153)
Cafardo claims that the Red Sox have been having "ongoing discussions" with Nick Swisher's agent. I really like Swisher as a fit for this team, though I like him more at first base than in Fenway's RF. My preferred option for RF is still Josh Hamilton.
   19. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 25, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4309155)
I have no interest on Swisher. I just can't see him settling for a 2-3 year desk that I think would make sense.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 25, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4309185)
I like Swisher in a position other than right field (but now LF is full), on a reasonable contract (maybe 4/50). I don't think he deserves any more than that, and I'll be surprised if he can be had for less than 5/70.
   21. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4309203)
Still like the idea of throwing less than $100 million at Napoli + Swisher on seven or fewer total contract years (getting both to three year deals would be great but seems unlikely). Play Swisher/Ellsbury/Kalish vs RHP, Gomes/Ellsbury/Swisher vs LHP.
   22. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 26, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4309786)
Yuck. I'm also worried Napoli is a prime candidate to age quickly. 2011 Napoli isn't coming back, and this guy hit .227 in Texas last year - obviously in one sense that's a silly stat to single out, but in another sense we're talking about a guy who was barely able to keep his batting average high enough to be a productive player even with all of the walks and power, while hitting in one of the friendliest environments in the league. He's an unathletic (for an MLBer) guy entering his 30s who is half a step of decline in his K rate from no longer hitting well enough to be anything a backup catcher/PH.

At most, I'd be offering 3 years, 30 million with some incentives and a 4th year option with a cheapish buyout. No way I'd guarantee him more than 3/36 or a fourth year.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: November 26, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4309836)
2011 Napoli isn't coming back, and this guy hit .227 in Texas last year


I see no reason not to include both 2011 and 2012 when evaluating Napoli.
   24. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: November 28, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4312012)
If he's 3/40 or 4/50, I don't have a huge problem with this given the other options, but people expecting him to be anything more than OK are asking to be disappointed.
   25. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4315175)
Speier has confirmed that it's a 3 year deal. Nothing on the money yet but I can't imagine a 3 year deal for Napoli that I wouldn't feel good about. The press conference will actually be interesting because I want to find out where he's playing.
   26. JJ1986 Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4315187)
$39 million according to Heyman.
   27. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4315190)
Sox have cornered market on catching. Who needs a C besides Mets?
   28. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4315202)
The press conference will actually be interesting because I want to find out where he's playing


Edes says he'll be playing 1B:

Napoli, who visited Boston late last month, is expected to play primarily at first base for the Red Sox.
   29. villageidiom Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4315234)
Done. Next?
   30. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4315236)
   31. karlmagnus Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4315241)
I'd be much more interested in them going after Anibal Sanchez. Here they should offer length, but less $$$, maybe 6/70.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4315243)
I'd be much more interested in them going after Anibal Sanchez. Here they should offer length, but less $$$, maybe 6/80.


I thought they were broke?
   33. jmurph Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4315247)
I'd be much more interested in them going after Anibal Sanchez. Here they should offer length, but less $$$, maybe 6/70.


There must be 10-12 teams that would give him 5/60, and I imagine at least a handful of those would go 5/75.
   34. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4315248)
6 years for Anibal Sanchez? Even when you make sense you're insane. (I like the idea of signing Anibal though).
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4315257)
6 years for Anibal Sanchez? Even when you make sense you're insane. (I like the idea of signing Anibal though).


If it's at less than $12m per season it is not that insane.
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4315276)
Does this mean that Texas miscalculated by not extending the qualifying offer?
   37. Danny Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4315329)
Third, and this one will take a little longer, Napoli’s bat might be even better than that. Tangotiger put together a study of “position effects” a month ago which showed a highly relevant result. Tango looked at all players between 1993-2010 who, between the ages of the 25-29, had played significantly at both catcher and at other positions. Over this period, these players had a .323 wOBA as catchers and a .342 wOBA at other positions in the field (1B, 3B, LF, RF combined).

This effect is even larger when you look at part-time catchers. That is, players who between 25-29, played under 90% of their games at catcher. As Tango says, most of these guys will be players who began as catchers but were moved off the position. These players show an even larger effect: .321 at C and .350 elsewhere. So, if the Sox sign Mike Napoli and install him at 1B, he may well be a better hitter than that 130 OPS+ he’s put up over the last three seasons.

I'd guess these guys were more likely than usual to have the platoon advantage when played at non-catcher positions. Napoli, for example, has faced LHP in 44% of his PA as a 1B compared to just 24% of his PA as a catcher.
   38. Textbook Editor Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:32 AM (#4322683)
...or perhaps we won't wind up signing Napoli...

Napoli's deal with Red Sox hits snag?

[sigh]
   39. Mattbert Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4323092)
Rumor is Napoli came down with a flu and couldn't fly to Boston for his physical and the presser.
   40. Textbook Editor Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4323106)
I really hope #39 is true.
   41. villageidiom Posted: December 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4323778)
They're at 39 on the 40-man roster, and they have to add both Napoli and Victorino. They have to make a move at some point.

Ostensibly they could just release someone low on the depth chart. Or they could complete one of the trades we've assumed they would make. (Salty, for one.) Given they're almost certain to do the latter eventually, there's no compelling need to rush to do the former.
   42. Darren Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4330730)
The reported hip issue is an even greater reason the Sox should not want him catching at all.
   43. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4330735)
OR, the "reported hip issue" is the Sox trying to gain leverage to write some protection into the contract and has little to nothing to do with his ability to play baseball.

Also, the Sox have 4 catchers and 0 first basemen. It is clear to me that Napoli doesn't see a game behind the plate.
   44. Darren Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4330742)
I'd be surprised if the Sox were doing something that shortsighted.

As to whether he'd catch, it may be clear to you that he's not going to be behind the plate, but Farrell's comments seem to indicate that they expect him to catch occasionally.
   45. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4330747)
I'd be surprised if the Sox were doing something that shortsighted.


If I recall correctly, they did the same thing with Crawford, Lackey and AGon. They come to an agreement, get full medical records, the docs find something that raises a red flag, not a big one, but one that should be addressed in the contract and they find a compromise that protects the player and the team.
   46. Darren Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4330749)
What were the compromises with AGon and Crawford? I thought they both got full, guaranteed contracts at top money. Lackey, of course, was an actual injury concern, as demonstrated by him actually getting injured.
   47. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:16 AM (#4330765)
Anybody know anything about when a drop in BABIP tends to be symptomatic of a hitter's decline, rather than random fluctuation?
   48. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 22, 2012 at 05:02 AM (#4330815)
The Red Sox desperately need patient hitters with power right now,...
Not sure what this means. Don't they need hitters who give them any productive combination of on base percentage and slugging?
   49. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4345567)
So the latest is a one year deal is the goal for the Sox with Napoli. At this point I really question the wisdom of continuing with this. I guess if you get the right vesting option that keeps him in town for year 2 and potentially 3 if he stays healthy it makes sense but if the Sox are truly this concerned about his health I'm just not a fan.

On the flip side it's not like he's blocking anyone. If he stays healthy great, if not it's Mauro Gomez getting a chance. The fear here would be he plays 145 games but at a .750 OPS kicking in a $13 million option for 2014.

What's the expected cost for Morse? Of course Morse isn't exactly Cal Ripken in the durability department either.
   50. villageidiom Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4346797)
So the latest is a one year deal is the goal for the Sox with Napoli. At this point I really question the wisdom of continuing with this. I guess if you get the right vesting option that keeps him in town for year 2 and potentially 3 if he stays healthy it makes sense but if the Sox are truly this concerned about his health I'm just not a fan.
This is already an improvement. If this were a couple of years ago and they were concerned about his health on a 3-year deal, they'd have added a 4th and 5th year that vest if he stays off the DL in year 1 and 2, and he'd play through an injury for two years, miss the 3rd for surgery, suck the 4th year because he's not fully healed, and eventually turn it on in the 5th year, once he'd been traded back to the Rangers, with Boston picking up his full salary. A one-year deal is infinitely better than that.

If they're going to continue with Napoli, this is the way to do it. If they're concerned about injury they should either walk away or they should push for a shorter deal. To your point, they don't have to continue with him; but if they do, a one-year deal would mitigate the risk.
   51. villageidiom Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4346802)
One thing to note... As bad as the medical staff has been in keeping players on the field, diagnosing injuries mid-season, etc., they have been very good at identifying injury risk during medical physicals at the time of signing. Both with the players they eventually signed and the players they walked away from, they have made some good calls.

How those calls translated into contracts wasn't that great... But that's another story.
   52. dave h Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4346844)
This is where converting the 3rd (or maybe even 2nd) year into a vesting option would be great, as long as it vests based on performance in addition to playing time (to avoid the problem VI identifies). As I recall though, that's no longer allowed for some reason that I do not understand at all. Alternatively though, why not just have a non-vesting option? Is it just that Napoli would never agree to that at a reasonable price?
   53. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4346868)
Alternatively though, why not just have a non-vesting option? Is it just that Napoli would never agree to that at a reasonable price?


I doubt he would. The problem for Napoli right now is that teams are likely to view him as damaged goods if this falls through. 13+13(vesting option)+13(vesting option) is going to be better than what he is probably going to get if he hits the market again. However, I imagine pride would make him tell the Sox to shove a 13+13(club option)+13(club option). At that point he'll go take 8-10 million for one year and go back at it next year is my guess.
   54. Nasty Nate Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4346879)
Seems like the hip woes explain why Texas didn't extend the qualifying offer, right?
   55. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 16, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4348332)
Jon Heyman has a maddeningly vague, if optimistic report on the Napoli talks. You could read the whole article, but I'm telling you, this is the extent of new information he provides:
There is a belief that there will be a resolution to the situation by next week at the latest.
It's good news, or from a different angle, it isn't news at all.
   56. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 16, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4348472)
And Jim Bowden is reporting they're working on a one-year deal. Napoli must basically have blood sausage where his hip bones should be.
   57. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 17, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4348713)
What's the expected cost for Morse? Of course Morse isn't exactly Cal Ripken in the durability department either.


Going to the Mariners.
   58. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 17, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4348991)
Signed Napoli for 1 year and LESS THAN $13MM. Great deal.

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