Red Sox, Angels fail to agree to Mike Napoli trade

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The Red Sox claimed Mike Napoli off waivers from the Angels last week, but a deal was unable to be agreed to prior to the Monday afternoon deadline, WEEI’s Alex Speier reports.
The only real surprise about the turn of events that gave Boston a chance to make an offer for Napoli was that the one of the game’s top offensive catchers made it past eight American League teams on waivers. Of course, it’s doubtful the Mariners could have made a deal for Napoli either, but it wouldn’t have hurt to try.
Napoli, 28, is hitting .249/.317/.478 with 21 homers in 370 at-bats this season. He has a career OPS of 837 since entering the league in 2006, which is nearly a match for Victor Martinez’s 838 mark over the same timeframe, and he’s not going to be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.
The Angels probably weren’t inclined to move Napoli now, but they’ll almost certainly deal one of their three catchers this winter and Napoli could be the favorite to go. He’s due a raise to $4.5 million-$5 million in arbitration, and that might be too rich for the Angels, considering how little Mike Scioscia thinks of his defense.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.