Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Rangers get right-handed bat, versatility
By Richard Durrett
The Rangers' trade for Mike Napoli today gives the club the right-handed power bat option off the bench they were seeking and someone who can provide some insurance at first base for Mitch Moreland.
Texas heads into spring with Moreland as the starting first baseman, but they now have someone who can play first when needed against tough left-handers. The most impressive stat from Napoli's resume in 2010 was that he was the Angels' best hitter against left-handed pitching (.305). So manager Ron Washington could choose to rest Moreland against certain lefties and play Napoli at first base.
He can also catch if needed. Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor are the club's catchers, but as we've seen the last few years, it never hurts to have some insurance there. Napoli would be available if needed behind the plate.
"He's a player that we know well after playing against him the last five years or so," said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, who is in the Dominican Republic this week. "He complements what we're doing. He can catch, play first base, is a power right-handed bat and gives Wash [manager Ron Washington] a lot of versatility. He's a big-time competitor who plays hard and plays to win."
So the Rangers get some versatility, a right-handed bat and one that can hit for some power (he had 26 homers in 140 games). They had to give up Frank Francisco, a reliable late-inning reliever to do it. Francisco was a critical component of that bullpen as the postseason showed. When he wasn't there, the Rangers had to try to mix and match the eighth inning to get the game to Feliz. But they now have Mark Lowe, who should be completely healthy, and Alexi Ogando as power right-handed arms in that pen.
We'll have more on the Napoli trade soon. But what do you think of the deal?