MLB Free Agents 2013: Could Mike Napoli Be a Fit for the Toronto Blue Jays?
Starting pitching. A left fielder. A leadoff man.
All three of those things were of the utmost importance for the Toronto Blue Jays heading into the 2012 offseason.
All three of those needs have since been filled by Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, and not in any small way. The Jays splurged in a blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins and then proceeded to sign left fielder Melky Cabrera to a two-year $16 million contract.
With those deals alone, the Jays are set to compete in baseball's toughest division.
Could there be something else in the works?
At the moment, there is still another position that could use a major upgrade: designated hitter.
As it stands now, the Jays, in all likelihood, would be using Adam Lind or Edwin Encarnacion as DH, with the other handling first base duties.
The move would make sense for the team, as it would solidify their batting order and add another power bat to a lineup that already includes Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie.
A Mike Napoli signing would give the Jays a formidable starting nine, with an exceptional balance of speed and power.
With the Jays clearly willing to spend money this offseason, would signing Mike Napoli be the right move?
Napoli's pretty much a lock to muscle out at least 20 home runs every year and can play catcher, first base or DH. What's even more reassuring, is that he recently told ESPN that he'd be willing to play any position as long as he could get into the lineup.
Furthermore, Napoli is is a rare power hitter who can also get on base at a respectable clip. In fact, in every one of his major league seasons, Napoli has had an on-base percentage of over .340 (h/t baseball reference), except 2010. Napoli would also add a veteran presence to the clubhouse.
The cherry on top of a Napoli signing would be the fact that the Jays would be taking the free agent slugger away from their division rivals, the Boston Red Sox, who also have shown interest in Napoli, according to the same ESPN report.
While it may not come cheap, the Jays picking up Mike Napoli would be the last piece to the puzzle and just about lock up the team's first playoff berth in two decades.
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