Oakland Athletics Should Consider Signing Free Agent Mike Napoli

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Even though the Oakland Athletics are going to be rebuilding this offseason, there has been very few rumors as to who they may be targeting. However, Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area did note that the A’s will likely utilize the deep free agent market this offseason – probably due to the fact that they do not want to trade away any of their prized young prospects. While it is known that the Athletics need both starting and relief pitching, another area Oakland should target is first base.

Many believe it is unlikely that the Athletics are going to tender Ike Davis’ contract after a year riddled with injuries. Besides Davis, rookie Mark Canha is the only other true first baseman on the roster. So, if they do decide to let Davis go, they are going to need a veteran first baseman to help field in that position. One player they should consider is veteran Mike Napoli.

Some might say that this would be a foolish signing since it is similar to the Billy Butler deal – an older player whose numbers a projected to decline next year. However, if the Oakland Athletics can sign him to only a one year deal, Napoli would bring some qualities to the team that the A’s tend to like in their players.

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First off, Napoli would be a great platoon player. In 2015, he was much better against lefties, batting .278 compared to against righties where he only hit .192. The Oakland Athletics love their platoons and with the new addition of left handed hitter and sometimes first baseman Andrew Lambo, this could be a good combination.

Additionally, with nine years of experience, Napoli is known for being a leader in the clubhouse and bringing a team together. This was both true with the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers. If the Oakland Athletics are trying to boost their team chemistry, they are going to need someone who will bring positive energy and boost moral.

Lastly, Napoli is versatile. He originally started his MLB career as a catcher. But, because of a degenerate hip issue, he started playing first base. Even though Napoli has not played behind the plate since 2012, it has been reported that he is willing to catch for whichever team that signs him. The A’s have good catching, but for some reason, their catchers can never stay healthy for the entire season. Having Napoli as a backup could be a good option.

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It is actually quite common for former Red Sox players to put on a green and gold uniform later in their MLB career. Just take a look at Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie before he went to the Houston Astros, and Brandon Moss, who is now with the St. Louis Cardinals. Those players thrived with the Athletics once they left the Red Sox. Perhaps Napoli can find the same success as some of these former Sox players did in Oakland.

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