Free agent slugger Mike Napoli has drawn interest from several different organizations this winter. But we can probably already identify the frontrunner.
According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have made Napoli their top free agent pursuit and are considering all other potential free agent signings to be secondary. And Boston has enough room in its budget — courtesy of that late-July blockbuster with Los Angeles — to outbid any of the other teams currently vying for Napoli’s services.
Napoli batted .227/.343/.469 with 24 home runs and 56 RBI in 417 plate appearances this past season for the Rangers. He had a career-best .320/.414/.631 batting line, 30 home runs and 75 RBI in 432 plate appearances the season before.
The 31-year-old catcher and first baseman is thought to be seeking a four-year contract.
The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.
Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.
Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.