Why? Because every game Mike Napoli doesn't catch, Angels fans and media have their imaginations run wild. For the time being, Mathis seems to be deserving of extra playing time. Mike Scioscia's insisting that Napoli will get enough PT to contribute.
But what about Bobby Wilson? What about Hank Conger in a year? It's clear we have 2 defensive specialist catchers and two dynamic offensive catchers. Whether we like to admit it or not, there's a GREAT chance at least one, probably two will be dealt before the beginning of next season. With the capable Ryan Budde and emerging prospect Carlos Ramirez, this may not be a huge hit to the Angels system. They've discussed Mike Napoli on MLBTR here and here, and in this discussion I'm hoping we'll hover around potential suitors and what we may get in return. Let's dive in.
(No particular order) (Prospects stats are available by clicking on name).
1. Tampa Bay Rays - Current catcher Dioner Navarro hit .231 last season with 8 HR's. He's a career .252. hitter. They have a huge hole at DH as well with Pat Burrell struggling to hit AL pitching. Their backup catcher Kelly Shoppach is on the 15 DL however early reports indicate he could miss extensive time. They're in a rough division with enough talent to over throw the evil empires.
2. Boston Red Sox - The ESPN or MLBTR article actually named them specifically as suitor because Martinez's defense at catcher seems to be lacking. Napoli would provide a level of familiarity with John Lackey and we all fondly remember Napoli's heroic performance at Fenway in 2008, and I'm guessing the Red Sox do too.
3. Detroit Tigers - The Tigers are looking to reclaim their division from the Twins and hold off the spending happy White Sox in all their managerial twittering glory. Current receiver Gerald Laird leaves something to be desired at the plate. Alex Avila, their backup had a great college career and his time in the minors was non-existent and Carlos Guillen is their DH, so there seems to be room for Naps.
5. Philadelphia Phillies - Phils are expected to win the division again and seemingly their only weak spots are at catcher and bullpen. Current catcher Carlos Ruiz opened some eyes last season but many believe this was a fluke.
- Possible players/prospects: Exciting OF prospect Dominic Brown.
6. New York Mets - They spent money to bring in Rod Barajas, which is unimpressive. But, if the Mets find themselves in the race for the playoffs in July, they would be more than willing to open their pocket books or deal for Mike Napoli. This doesn't play to Naps advantage as the Mets new stadium is the anti-Yankee stadium. It's where HR's go to die.
7. Milwaukee Brewers - They are willing to make moves in order to position themselves in the division race with the Cubs, Cardinals and Reds. They signed Gregg Zaun over the offseason, but if the race were the close, they'd gladly bring in Napo-Smash.