Mike Napoli: The Perfect Fit for the Yankees

As the Yankees head closer to the 2016 Winter Meetings, it is crucial that they lock up a reliable designated hitter to pad the middle of the lineup. With a lot of different options out there, the one that makes the most sense to me is Mike Napoli. In 2016, Napoli (35) had one of the best years of his career belting 34 home runs while driving in 101 runs and playing in 150 games. Not only did Napoli put up big time numbers, he did it in one of the least hitter-friendly ballparks in all of baseball. I can only imagine what kind of power numbers Napoli could put up in Yankee stadium.
Photo via Fansided

In 2016, Napoli played 98 games at first base and 51 in the DH role for the Cleveland Indians. Currently the Yankees are likely going to go with Greg Bird at first base, but adding Mike Napoli in the mix gives the Yankees more options and the flexibility to allow Napoli to DH regularly in hopes that he can play another 150+ games in 2017.

While there are other “more attractive” options out there like Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Beltran, or even Yoenis Cespedes, Mike Napoli would certainly come at the lowest price which would open up more financial flexibility for the Yankees to work on their abysmal pitching staff. Encarnacion, Beltran, and Cespedes would surely demand contracts of at least four or five years while Mike Napoli could almost certainly be signed for a short term two or three year deal. In signing Napoli over the other candidates, it would allow the Yankees to inch closer to trimming the payroll beneath the luxury tax threshold in 2017.

A lot of rumors have linked the Yankees to Carlos Beltran. As we saw in the first half of 2016, Carlos Beltran is more of a defensive liability and adding Napoli would allow for the defensive versatility which gives the Yankees more options to get creative with getting guys at bats.  One major league scout said, “I like the Yankees to add veteran Mike Napoli short term while Judge, Frazier and Greg Bird develop. It’s a no brainer.”

If Napoli’s production and versatility isn’t enough, look at his playoff track record. Mike Napoli has been to the World Series three different times since 2011 (Rangers, Red Sox, Indians), and he won it all in 2013 with Boston. He’s always somehow in the thick of things nearly every postseason and that experience would be a great benefit to the younger and unexperienced guys in the clubhouse.

Since July the Yankees have made it clear that they are focused on their youth movement by parting ways with Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Ivan Nova, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and A-Rod. If the Yankees are going to bring in a veteran power bat, it doesn’t make any sense to sign him for more than a few years. While Mike Napoli may not be the most attractive option, he’s certainly the right choice to fit the blueprint for the Yankees future plans.

Article by: Aaron Carroll
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