Mike Napoli Rumors: Boston Red Sox in Trouble If Catcher Is No. 1 Target

Pete SchauerCorrespondent INovember 27, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 16:  Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers reacts after a strikeout against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 16, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

If acquiring a catcher is the Boston Red Sox's main offseason priority, they might as well hire back Bobby Valentine and replace the Bazooka bubble gum bucket with a 30 pack of Bud Light.

But that's the plan according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber, who reports that the Red Sox have made Mike Napoli their No. 1 priority this winter:

Source: Napoli appears to be #RedSox' No. 1 free-agent pursuit; everyone else "1A." Meeting with Texas tomorrow, could decide before next wk

— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) November 27, 2012

This is a fantastic idea. And by that I mean it's the stupidest thing I've heard since Rex Ryan claimed the New York Jets could still make the playoffs after losing a handful of games and still starting Mark Sanchez at quarterback.

Only the Red Sox would make their offseason priority a catcher/first baseman/designated hitter who's coming off a season in which he hit .227 with 24 home runs and 56 RBI, and this is before we've even heard how much Napoli is looking to make.

At this rate, I'm not even sure if you can consider Napoli as a full-time catcher, considering he spent a considerable amount of time at first base due to his inability to keep balls in front of him (eight passed balls) and poor effort throwing runners out (.208 caught stealing percentage).

You could make a case for Napoli being more productive than current Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but even at that, it's a far stretch to declare a mediocre catcher and strikeout machine as the No. 1 offseason priority after the pitching staff ranked No. 27 in the MLB in quality starts and sported a team ERA of 4.70.

Ben Cherington must have one strong case of amnesia to forget the way his starters pitched last season, especially "ace" Jon Lester (9-14, 4.82 ERA, 1.38 WHIP).

I'm all for Napoli leaving Texas in favor of Boston—I think he's a good player who had a down year—but to anoint him the golden nugget of the winter is a complete and utter mistake by the Red Sox.

What they need to be doing is nailing down starting pitching, a closer, corner outfielders and then address the idea of turning Napoli into a full-time first baseman, which is something that Lauber touches on here

To each his own, but if the Red Sox are trying to mirror their past two seasons, they're sure doing a good job of it in the early going of the free-agency period this winter.

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