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UPDATE: Mike Napoli and the Rangers “have a deal in place”

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UPDATE: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers and Mike Napoli have a deal in place. No specifics on terms have been provided.

12:42PM: Mike Napoli and the Rangers have been rumored to be close to a deal since December. Beginning around that time all rumors connecting him to other teams have basically dried up. It has seemed like the Rangers and Napoli getting together has long been a manner of “when,” not “if.”

Today Jon Heyman sheds some light on the when. Soon, he thinks, reporting that the Rangers and Napoli are progressing towards a deal. It could very well be a situation in which both sides know a deal is happening but that they can’t make it official until camp opens and Texas can place Prince Fielder and Jake Diekman on the 60-day disabled list, making room on the roster for Napoli. Not that reaching a deal before such moves can be made hasn’t happened before.

As it is, Napoli and the Rangers make a lot of sense. While he’s 35, he hit .239/.335/.465 with a career-high 34 home runs and 101 RBI in 2016. The Rangers can’t necessarily expect that again, but he still appears to have a good deal left in the tank and would fill a need for them.

Report: 11 umpires have opted out of the 2020 season

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Jon Heyman reports that 11 MLB umpires have opted out of the 2020 season or have otherwise declined to participate. He says “some are said to have family members who are ill.” The umpires’ identities are not yet known.

Umpires, like players, have the right to opt-out with full pay if they are in a high risk group due to preexisting health conditions. Umpires can, obviously, be older as well, so age factors into it for some as well. Also like players, umpires who are themselves not high risk can opt-out if they have concern for the health of family members, though they will forego paychecks.

Recently, one umpire who is high risk — Joe West — made headlines for not only choosing not to opt-out but for also giving voice to COVID-19 denialism, questioning official statistics about infections and deaths.

The latest on West: