Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Mike Napoli, the Texas #Rangers free-agent catcher, is drawing interest from the New York #Yankees
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 12, 2012
For a team that values catcher defense, I’m a bit surprised they’d be considering Napoli. He’s not a full-time catcher, having averaged 74 games at catcher since 2009. His defensive projection for SB/CS is -3 but according to the catcher framing work I’ve seen he’s just a shade below average, maybe one run a year or so. But you have to assume that there’s a reason he’s not catching more than half his team’s games and it’s probably a safe bet that wouldn’t change as he moves into his mid 30s.
Napoli had a down year in 2012, but he projects well for 2013. Here are his CAIRO percentile forecasts as a Yankee.
BRAR are as a catcher. As a DH with the same projections it looks more like 28 for his 80% forecast, 17 for his 65% forecast, 8 for his baseline, 0 for his 35% and -7 for his 20%. So we probably need to split the difference. I don’t see him playing much 1B with Mark Teixeira around, but 500 PA between catcher and DH seems reasonable. How much is that worth? Probably something like 23 runs on offense and -4 runs on defense, about two wins. A three-year deal with the typical 0.5 win decline per year puts his estimated value at 4.5 wins, which is probably worth around $27-30M. So I’d be fine with something like 3 yrs/$27M.
The Yankees will need to figure out who they want as the co-starting catcher to really make it work though, and I don’t think it can be Chris Stewart or Eli Whiteside.