First baseman Mike Napoli has attracted a number of suitors this offseason after mashing 34 home runs and an .800 OPS with the Indians in 2016. According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Mariners are the latest to inquire about the 35-year-old’s bat, which could give the Indians some stiff competition as they look to re-sign him for 2017.
Napoli entered free agency earlier this month after the Indians chose not to extend him a $17.2 million qualifying offer. He signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Cleveland prior to the 2016 season and slashed .239/.335/.465 with 101 RBI in 557 PA with the club, a career-high mark for the veteran infielder.
Napoli is no stranger to the AL West, where he spent the better part of eight seasons with the Angels and Rangers. In Seattle, he could give the Mariners another right-handed bat to work with, which has been something of a priority for Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto this offseason. Carving out a spot in the lineup might be challenging, however, with Nelson Cruz pegged for the DH spot and Dan Vogelbach sharing first base duties with Danny Valencia.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.