The Minnesota Twins were reported to have been in serious talks with Mike Napoli according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. While they do have interest, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com pumped the brakes by saying the talks weren’t as intense as was reported.
The Mets have also shown interest in the veteran first baseman. He was on the Cleveland Indians in 2016 when Mickey Callaway was the pitching coach. Callaway reached out to him earlier this month to gauge his interest with the Mets.
The Mets want to add some insurance at first base in the event Dominic Smith does not take hold of the position in 2018.
One of the drawbacks of signing Napoli is that the Mets would prefer a first baseman who can play the outfield as well. Napoli does have 50 innings in left field under his belt, but that came in 2015 and the experiment went poorly. He had -2 defensive runs saved and a -77.4 UZR/150.
Aside from the lack of outfield experience, Napoli fits the Mets’ other needs.
Throughout his major league career, he has brought his leadership abilities to and left a good impression on four different teams. With a young team and a young first baseman, his presence can help.
Most importantly for the Mets, he’ll come at a bargain. At 36-years-old and coming off a season where he hit .193/.285/.428/.713 with 60 runs, 29 home runs, and 66 RBI, he won’t break the bank. Heyman sees him signing a one-year, $6 million contract.
Still, while the talks between the Twins and Napoli aren’t extremely serious, it doesn’t bode well for the Mets’ chances at the first baseman.
Duke, 34, pitched to the tune of a 3.93 ERA, 5.29 FIP, and 1.036 WHIP with 12 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings and 27 games in 2017.