The Yankees may not have David Ross to fall back on if they can’t re-sign Russell Martin, but they are interested in the Rangers free agent catcher Mike Napoli, according to Bob Nightengale of the USA Today.
This is a little bit curious. The Yankees are typically fans of defensive catchers and Napoli is not that. In fact, he isn’t much of an everyday catcher having only played even 96 games at the position as far back as 2009. He only played 72 games behind the plate this season as he split the rest of his time at first and DH.
Perhaps the Yankees see him as a possibility to ease Austin Romine in slowly next year giving each guy about 80 games as catcher with Napoli. Even that seems like a long shot though.
One of the other teams interested in Napoli is the Red Sox, who could still use him at first base after signing Ross. So this could just be a case where the Yankees are trying to drive his price tag up to hurt their rivals. Both teams tend to do that to each other quite often.
Napoli, 31, has had wild fluctuations in offensive production the last couple of years. His career line is .259/.343/.469, but he hit .320/.414/.631 in 2011. Coincidentally, he has done very well against the Red Sox in his career. In 38 games against them, he has hit .288/.379/.696 with 15 homers.