Rangers and Mike Napoli have discussed contract extension

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The Rangers may end up spending over $120 million in order to sign right-hander Yu Darvish, but that isn’t going to stop their efforts to lock up some of their core players.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the Rangers have had “several conversations” with Mike Napoli’s representatives about a multi-year contract. He earned $5.8 million in 2011 and is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter.

Napoli, who was acquired from the Blue Jays last January, batted .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs, 75 RBI and a 1.046 OPS over 432 plate appearances this past season. The 30-year-old was also a monster during the postseason, hitting .328 with a .414 on-base percentage, three home runs and 15 RBI.

It will likely cost a pretty penny to keep Napoli around for the long-term following his breakthrough season, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote this evening that “there’s a very good chance” he’ll have an extension by Opening Day based on what he’s heard this offseason.

Durrett reports that the Rangers have also discussed multi-year deals with Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland this winter, though no deals are believed to be imminent.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.