The Miami Marlins are not expected to be major players in free agency this season, but after early rumors on smaller names like Phil Hughes and Dioner Navarro popped up, the Fish have been connected to one important offseason name. As per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, via Twitter, the Marlins may have some interest in first baseman Mike Napoli.
Source: #Marlins have discussed Napoli internally and could enter mix at right price. Napoli is South Florida native and good friends ...— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 26, 2013
This is certainly surprising news, not the least of which is the idea that Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis are somehow friends despite what most people considered an outright injustice at the catcher position in Los Angleles in the latter half of the decade. Rosenthal puts a disclaimer that Napoli, who was born in Hollywood, FL and went to Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, would only be interested if no suitors were present. The likelihood of Miami getting seriously involved with him is slim.
But while there are suitors for Napoli's services, they may not be so willing offer him years. The Seattle Mariners, according to Rosenthal, appear desperate to acquire a power bat and may be willing to overpay in both years and money. The Colorado Rockies have first base as their top priority. But the Boston Red Sox may not be willing to pay the large prices it might take to get Napoli, and that would remove a prime suitor for Napoli's services. The Texas Rangers have already filled their hole at first with Prince Fielder, and they were the only other big-market name in the running.
There are varying different expectations for Napoli's contract for next year, depending on what you think the dollar-per-win value is currently at. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors put him at three years and $42 million. Other sources suspect he could get upwards of $68 million on a four-year contract for the 32-year-old. The latter is a large figure, but the former is at least more doable for Miami, if a little daunting for the team. It can have the requisite budget space, but would the Marlins be willing to commit three years to Napoli when two of them are likely to be non-contender seasons? Would it be wise for Miami to put in the risk for an older player with a known chronic medical condition like Napoli's avascular hip necrosis?
Again, it is an unlikely move, but it is one we here at Fish Stripes will consider, especially if Napoli's options begin to dwindle in number. What do you Fish Stripers think? Would Mike Napoli be a good addition to Miami?