Rumors have started about teams being interested in Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli. Napoli would be a very good fit on teams that are looking to add a power bat in hopes of securing a spot in the postseason. Not only would Napoli help a team this season but he also has another year on his contract for the 2015 season for 16 million dollars. Some teams that I could see being interested in acquiring Napoli are Seattle, Milwaukee, and Toronto, although I could not see Boston trading Napoli within the division. It would take a nice package of young prospects for the Red Sox to even think about parting ways with their first baseman.
In my opinion, I think it would be unwise to trade a power bat, something that the Red Sox do not have on this year’s roster. The Sox are 13th in the American League in home runs with 68 and taking Napoli off the roster would be difficult to imagine. The Red Sox are having a disappointing season but with Napoli signed through next season he still is an important piece of Boston’s future. He was one of the most important pieces on the 2013 World Series champions and he is one of the most popular players in the Red Sox clubhouse. Not to mention he provides protection for David Ortiz, who has admitted that he feels more comfortable hitting when Napoli provides protection.
If the Red Sox were to trade Napoli, it would undoubtedly open the door for Will Middlebrooks at first base. The young prospect saw success in his rookie campaign before breaking his wrist but has struggled to find his swing and stay on the field. The Red Sox still believe that Middlebrooks can be a 30 homer guy but right now doesn’t have a spot on the roster. With the Sox signing Drew and moving Bogaerts to third base, Middlebrooks appears to be stuck in AAA for the time being.
I really cannot see Napoli being dealt before the trade deadline because of his contract situation. He is a valuable right handed power bat and there seems to be so few of them in today’s game. I expect the Red Sox to listen to offers as they should for many players on their roster but I do not expect Napoli to be leaving Boston before his contract is up.