New York Yankees: Could Mike Napoli Be Plan B If Texas Snags Russell Martin Away
*****UPDATE (4:00 p.m.)*************
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Yankees are now interested in Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli.
With Russell Martin no guarantee to return to the Bronx, it makes sense that the Yankees are looking at Napoli for their catching spot.
It'll be interesting to see where this goes.
The starting catcher spot of the New York Yankees is one of many holes that need to be addressed.
The Yankees catcher for the past two seasons, Russell Martin, is a free agent and of the free agent catchers available, is one of the better ones out there.
His offensive numbers don't jump out at you and make you want to give him a mega-deal, but because he is a solid defender who can manage a pitching staff well, it's what makes him a target to several teams.
One of those teams besides the Yankees interested in Martin is the Texas Rangers, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.
At a time when catchers' game of musical chairs is playing out, free agent Russell Martin is among those being considered by the Rangers.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 12, 2012
Before the season, Martin turned down a three-year, $20 million extension to stay with the Bombers, but rejected it because he thought he could get more on the market.
During the season when he wasn't even hitting .200, many people felt Martin made a tremendous mistake by rejecting that offer, but he still hit over 20 home runs and got his average to .211, while continuing to play solid defense behind the plate.
With their catcher on the market, it makes sense for the Rangers to be interested in Martin, and I could see the Rangers luring him to Arlington if the money is there.
So, what should the Yankees do if their starting catcher bolts to Texas?
What about going after their catcher; Mike Napoli, who is also a free agent this winter.
The 31-year old Napoli is probably the best catcher on the market and really made a name for himself playing for the Rangers the past two seasons.
Despite hitting just .227, he hit 24 home runs and 56 RBI last season and 30 home runs and 75 RBI while batting .320 in 2011.
Aside from being a catcher, Napoli can play first base as well, plus be a DH to keep his bat in the lineup while giving him a breather in the field.
They still have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway from last season, plus they just signed former Braves catcher David Ross to a two-year deal.
I think for the Yankees, they would like to go with Martin as their Plan A and bring him back on either a one or two-year deal.
But if Martin gets snagged by another team, the Yankees need options.
I don't see them going with Francisco Cervelli as an everyday starter and Austin Romine spent most of 2012 injured, so the minor leagues are a no go.
There is A.J. Pierzynski, and if the White Sox don't bring him back for 2013, he could be an intriguing option as well.
But I think Napoli could help the Yankees lineup. He's a career .259 hitter, so he won't be competing for a batting title anytime soon.
But his power production and flexibility to play other spots aside from catcher could be something that interests Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
After making $9.4 million in 2012, I'm not exactly sure as to what kind of yearly salary Napoli is looking for in a new deal, and if Boston does make him an offer, if Napoli will be interested in it or not.
But again, if Martin isn't back in the Bronx, I think Napoli has to be Plan B for the Yankees for their catcher spot.
Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.
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