A reliable Major League Baseball source has said that the Texas Rangers are working on a possible deal for free agent slugger Mike Napoli who played with the Rangers in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Texas and the free agent slugger Napoli have a mutual desire that is quite strong for the two to reunite again, and both sides continue having active talks about that happening, said the same source.
Even though a deal does not look like it will happen immediately, signs are suggesting that the negotiations are now headed in the right direction for a deal to be done if both sides are able to come to an agreement related to the length of a deal and its overall value.
Texas needs to find another strong bat for the middle of its batting order. The Rangers lost Carlos Beltran, Mitch Moreland and Ian Desmond to free agency.
On the other side, Napoli would be welcome a return to Texas after playing for three seasons. He is a favorite amongst Arlington fans after he played a huge role in the World Series run of the Rangers back in 2011.
In addition, he is a strong leader in the clubhouse, which the team needs.
Napoli, who is 35, spent the 2016 season with the Cleveland Indians. He hit .239 but belted 34 homers and knocked in 101 runs thanks to a slugging percentage of .465.
However, the probability of Napoli returning to Cleveland completely ended Thursday when news surfaced that the Indians had agreed with free agent Edwin Encarnacion on a 3-year deal.
Texas at this time has Joey Gallo, Ryan Rua and Jurickon Profar as the top candidates for playing at first base or to fill the role of designated hitter. There is also the possibility that Shin-Soo Choo would see substantial time as the team’s DH.
However, Texas, who had also being trying to sign Encarnacion, still wants one other slugger for the middle of its lineup and they are diligently working to sign the veteran Napoli.
The signing of Encarnacion by Cleveland might be a catalyst that intensifies the talks between the Rangers and Napoli, but both sides have been talking since the start of free agency following the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.