Sunday afternoon, we began constructing our free agent lineup. Catcher was a no-brainer. Despite Wilson Ramos’ injury near the end of the season, he is far and away option A. First base, on the other hand, is a little trickier. The majority of options at the position are aging. But also, can split time as a first baseman or designated hitter. Maybe even as corner outfielder as well.
So we wanted to do our best in picking a first baseman that wasn’t primarily going to be a DH in 2017. As you’ll see with our selection, there is no guarantee of that. Just as there’s no guarantee with the two names who will end up on our ‘honorable mention’ category. That’s just the way it is. So without further ado, here’s Mike Napoli.
- 2016 was a tremendous bounce-back seasona��on a prove-it deal, no lessa��for the 35-year-old.
- He registered a career-high in home runs (34) and plate appearances (645).
- At a salary of $7 million last season, Napoli could be a less expensive choice.
- He’s 35 years old.
- If the power goes away, Napoli offers very little else at this point in time.
- With a thin market, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where a team doesn’t overpay anyway.
For Napoli, his resurgence began during the second half of 2015. After an atrocious 80 games before the breaka��.193/.294/.353a��the corner infielder was shipped to Texas during the waiver deadline, where he shined. A .283/.381/.522 slash line (with eight home runs) in 53 games was enough of a sample for Cleveland to take a chance on him.
All in all, Napoli had a dandy of a seasona��batting average aside (because BA isn’t the end-all, you fiends!) His OBP (.335) was slightly above average, while his OPS (.800) was absolutely above average. When the player in question is a career .252 hitter, those numbers are exactly what you’re looking for. Napoli isn’t going to wow you defensively, but he’s going to get on base and hit for power (ideally).
Plus, he’s a relatively cost-effective option (who will hopefully remain effective) in a free agent market that is screaming out for some team to waltz in and drastically overpay.
Adam Lind: He’s 33 years old and is a career .271/.328/.462 hitter. And, from 2013 through 2015, slashed .291/.364/.478 (with an .842 OPS). Making just $8 million in a year which saw him hit a nearly career-worst .239/.286/.413 (.717 OPS), he figures to be even cheaper. Lind has a�?bounce-back candidatea�? written all over him.
Logan Morrison: We all keep waiting for 2010-11 Logan Morrison to come back. You know, the one who slashed .259/.351/.460 (.811 OPS) with 25 home runs over a 185-game sample. In his first full season (2011), Morrison slugged 23 home runs. He hasn’t topped 17 in a single year since. In fact, the 29-year-old has slashed .239/.314/.398 (.712 OPS) in 530 games from that point on. But he’s cheap; he’s younger. And that always makes him an option.
Hey, we never said they were going to be good ones.