Mike Napoli still hasn’t anchored himself to a major league team for the upcoming season, but FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman speculates that the Twins might be just what he’s looking for.
While it’s all conjecture at this point, Heyman cites comments made by Twins’ GM Thad Levine, who told press on Friday that the team is actively searching for a veteran clubhouse leader. Napoli fits the bill off and on the field, where he batted a career-high 34 home runs for the Indians in 2016 (never mind the .239/.335/.465 slash line or the career-high 194 strikeouts).
Despite some early inquires from the Orioles and Astros, the 35-year-old infielder has received the most substantial interest from the Rangers this offseason. The club is reportedly only interested in offering a one-year deal, however, and it’s unclear whether or not Napoli is interested in a short-term situation moving forward. Should the Twins come knocking, Heyman notes that they’ll likely have to consider a platoon at first base/DH with Joe Mauer in order to accommodate Napoli in the lineup.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.