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Indians sign Mike Napoli to minor league deal

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Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that the Indians have signed Mike Napoli to a minor league deal.

Napoli hit .193/.285/.428 in 485 plate appearances last year but somehow managed to hit 29 home runs. It’s not necessarily the case that time has caught up with him, though, as he suffered a slew of injuries last year including a lower back strain, a stress reaction in his right leg and a torn ligament in his right hand, which was not diagnosed until after the season, after which he had surgery. Which, sure, I suppose his suffering multiple injuries could mean time is catching up with him, but we don’t yet know for sure if his bat is toast.

It’s not clear where the 36-year-old would fit in the Indians’ roster plans — they have Yonder Alonso at first base and Edwin Encarnacion at DH — but depth is depth and injuries happen.

Tony Clark: Universal DH ‘gaining momentum’ among players

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.