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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hardball Talk: The Yankees are interested in Mike Napoli

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.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 473 410 75 115 24 2 32 77 6 0 64 106 7 9 .281 .400 .583 .423 89 48
65% 433 376 64 101 20 1 26 67 4 1 55 103 8 7 .268 .376 .540 .395 73 36
Baseline 394 342 55 87 16 1 22 57 3 1 47 98 9 6 .254 .353 .497 .368 59 24
35% 355 308 46 74 13 0 17 48 2 2 39 93 9 4 .240 .329 .455 .340 46 15
20% 315 274 38 62 10 0 14 39 1 2 32 86 10 3 .227 .306 .412 .312 34 7

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

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.

--Posted at 9:03 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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Negotiating with Crapoli may (1) give the Yankees leverage with Coltrane, (2) drive up the price for the Sux, who are reportedly interested as well, and/or (3) serve as Plan B if they fail to sign Coltrane.

I would love to get Napoli.  I think his defense has been unfairly tarnished by Mike Scioscia’s irrational love for Jeff Mathis.

This team won plenty of games and titles with a good bat, crappy D catcher in the last 20 years.

I agree that Napoli makes a nice morning-after pill.  Can anyone fill me in on Cervelli and Romine, as in, what the Yankees seem to really think of the former and where the latter is coming along from injury?  I stopped paying attention in order to run for president this summer.

[3]  How did you fare in your presidential bid?

I think the Yankees snapping up people like Chris Stewart and Eli Whiteside kind of tells us what they think of Cervelli.  As far as Romine, 2012 was a lost year and I don’t think the Yankees have any idea on him.  He’s hitting .228/.328/.298 in 68 PA in the Arizona Fall League, so I guess the good news is he’s healthy now.

[6] I fully support your platform, Professor Wagstaff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v3etuIw-aM

[5] Having a chronic bad back in your early 20’s is not a good omen for the future.

It’s just too bad we never got a chance to snap up a plus defense slugging catcher like Pudge Rodriguez.

[8] Romine should be talking to Chavez.

Guessing that Cashman is kicking the tires to see if he can get one of those good-value “guy had a down year” contracts.  Worth a shot.

Cashman snagged in inappropriate emails with borderline lunatic West Point party planner and push up champ!

If the price turned out to be right, I think there’s enough AB’s between catcher and DH that they could sign both Martin and Napoli.  With Swisher and Andruw Jones leaving, they’ll certainly need a right-handed bat in the lineup.

My fellow Americans, I axe you how can you run the CIA if you can’t effectively conceal one booty call?

Can we expect to have both Napoli and Martin?

Is trading Tex the best idea of the offseason? I am sure someone can pick up at least 85-90% of his contract.

Am I crazy for thinking the Yankees should be interested in Youkilis?  I assume he will get a 1yr deal and he seems like the ideal DH/backup 3b/backup 1b.  I realize he was really annoying as a Red Sock (sp?) and injuries may have sapped a lot of his ability but it seems like there is still a ton of upside there.

[14] Teixeira has a full no-trade and has vowed repeatedly to never allow a trade.

No man cannot be broken.

Mel you’re just chock full of constructive and pertinent comments today, aintcha?

Youkilis is a good fit, I agree. But I rather see the Yankees lose 162 games than seeing Youkilis in Pinstripes.

I felt that way about both Boggs and Clemens.  Youkilis is worse because he’s yuglier.  How’s that for an enlightened attitude?

I think Cashman is interested in EVERY FA at this point.  B/c, why not?  Maybe Napoli doesn’t get any interest and in January the Yankees still have a need, and already have the groundwork laid to get him cheap.

One possibility could be use Napoli as a C for 60 games and just through Romine to the wolves for 100 games.  They could probably end up about average at C/DH (Napoli’s offense covers for Romine’s, and Romine’s defense covers for Napoli’s) with Napoli, ARod, Jeter getting majority of DH bats and others filled by Teix, Granderson, etc.  If Napoli is cheap enough that could be good long term - solid RH bat who can fill 3 positions, figure out in 2013 whether Romine is part of the team’s future.

[19] I agree. I would appreciate him as a player, but I would still want to bunch him in his whiny, ogre face everytime I saw him.

[19 & 20] I wouldn’t mind kicking the tires on Youkilis.  He’s probably not as good as even 2011 (wRC+ of 126), but he’s probably better than last year (102).  Definitely wouldn’t sign him before mid-January though.  If they can get him on a 1 year deal for him to rebuild value and prove he’s still an above-average player that’s great.  Ideally the RH bat they get to be a part-time DH/part-time anything else, needs to be an OF.  Napoli fits because they also need a starting C and he can take a lot of those PA’s.  But they need a righty bat who can start against lefties in the OF.  So, wait until January and see how the team is composed, and Youkilis may make sense at that point.

[22] There are very few players I would be adverse to acquiring if they made the team better.  Youkilis, is not one of those players.

[24] Who are those players? Who is more annoyig than Youkilis?

[25] Watching most of the Yankees, other than Iguana and Ichiro, attempt to hit in October was more annoying than anything Youkilis has ever done.

[13]  And what does it say that her pet name for him was “Drone”?

[25] Yeah like Snuggles says.  I’m not overly concerned with players that annoyed us.  Especially - in part - because they were succeeding against us.  Guys who are likely to make the front page for assault and battery, making racist statements, etc.  Those I’d be adverse to acquring even if they made the team a half-win or so better.

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