Sunday, December 12, 2010

Solving (most of) the Jays 2011 problems: Mike Napoli

As the fallout from the winter meetings continue, I find myself still wondering what the Toronto Blue Jays can do to improve the current roster, while preserving Alex Anthopoulos's vision of building a long-term competitor.

So, in the search to fill the current vacancies on the 2011 Blue Jays, without giving up the farm, I have come up with a great idea: Go get Mike Napoli.

Adam Lind is a huge question mark at first, and struggled mightily against left-handed pitchers last season. Mike Napoli plays a competent 1B, and MASHES lefties, posting an OPS over 1.000 last season, and having a .928 mark on his career.

JP Arencibia is a question mark as a catcher. Mike Napoli is below-average defensively as a catcher, but can spell the youngster and help ease his transition into the major leagues.

The team also needs a DH. When not filling in for either of the above, Napoli also has the profile to DH. He would provide solid middle-of-the-order production.

The real question is cost. What is Napoli still worth? His salary will go up through arbitration, and the Angels don't likely want to pay $4-6 Million for a backup catcher. I'm not sure what their needs are either. If they want to continue to solidify the 'pen, they could ask for Jason Frasor. He's another arbitration eligible player, and would add serious depth to the Angels bullpen.

What if they want prospects? They'd obviously need players that could contribute this season. Stewart? Thames? Mastroianni? maybe two of those three?

It's really hard to put a concrete value on Napoli, due to his role in LA. His value in Toronto would be enormously higher. He also fits for another reason: Nobody is reporting that the Jays are interested in him. Alex flies so far under the radar, that he could be working on this as you read this.

I'm on board. Doesn't mean that it will happen.

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