The Colorado Rockies may have a new target acquisition at first base after the Cleveland Indians did not make a qualifying offer to Mike Napoli.
We’ve detailed four potential fits for the Rockies at first base in this article. However, the recent addition of Napoli into the market is certainly something to consider.
Napoli was a key component to Cleveland’s recent run to the World Series after earning $7 million last season. The 35-year-old right-handed slugger saw action in 150 regular-season games in 2016, putting together a .239 average with 34 homers and 101 RBI.
He did struggle in the postseason, however, never hitting above .188 in the ALDS, ALCS or World Series last year. He also struck out 11 times in 26 at-bats in the World Series against Chicago Cubs pitching.
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Strikeouts were a problem for Napoli all of last season as he whiffed a career-high 194 times. Also, at the age of 35, Napoli could be a gamble for the Rockies because of his age.
So there are the bad points that might come with a Napoli signing in Denver. However, there are plenty of good points as well.
Napoli would give the Rockies a right-handed power hitter that they so desperately needed last season at times. He would also provide veteran leadership in a clubhouse that is young. Additionally, now with Bud Black named as the Rockies manager, Napoli would provide another name in the clubhouse with plenty of postseason experience.
Consider this … teams with Napoli have made the playoffs in eight of the past 10 seasons. His trip to the World Series with Cleveland was the third time he’s been in the Fall Classic in the past six seasons. Oh, and by the way, those three appearances have been with three different teams (Texas, Boston and Cleveland). As one article puts it, “Napoli rubs off on a team.”
Sometimes there are more parts of a player to look at than just batting averages and home run totals. Napoli seems to be one of those players, a guy who can bring a team together and provide a spark on the field and in the clubhouse. For a young team like the Rockies who many consider to be primed for a 2017 postseason run, something like that could prove extremely valuable.