One of mine, and most baseball fans, favorite baseball websites is mlbtraderumors.com. The level of information they provide and organization is fantastic, a must for any baseball fan. They also help organize information such as the 2013 top 50 free agent list and which team they predict will sign each player. Well, the Astros actually showed up on the top 50 list at number 14 and the player they predict will be an Astro is Mike Napoli. That’s interesting and would be the exact match that fans should look toward in free agency over the winter.
The Astros free agent wish list includes a DH and some outfield help, both needs could be addressed in Mike Napoli. He could also fill in for Jason Castro from time to time behind the plate. Napoli provides the type of flexibility that would make new Astros’ manager Bo Porter’s job much easier and make him very happy. He can play so many positions and his offense is just so good. The Astros will make finding someone like Napoli a priority this offseason, given the change to the AL. Playing an AL style of ball will be important and something that fans will need to get used too. No longer will double switches be the dominant move but being able to move players around the diamond will now be even more important. Napoli would be the ideal fit for what Astros should be looking to do but what about the price tag?
So how much will Napoli cost? Really don’t know but it shouldn’t be an issue for the Astros. Outside of a ridiculous superstar contract, the Astros should be able to absorb quite a bit of salary. Jeff Luhnow was able to strip down a poor club and create a pretty big pool of funds to use on free agents this offseason. The Astros will have roughly 10 million in salary committments so a reasonable to slightly high salary for Napoli would be okay and given the Astros situation will probably need to overpay for free agents.
Mike Napoli is a great idea and certainly someone I can see in an Astros’ uniform next season but the party has just started. No need to rush home yet, let’s take our time to evaluate the crowd and make a logical choice. Having Jeff Luhnow make that choice isn’t a bad thing at all.