Mike Napoli struck out in Monday’s 2-1 victory over the Oakland A’s. It was the final game at Angels Stadium in 2010.

And it might have been Napoli‘s final strikeout as an Angel.

Last month, Napoli was among a flock of Angels to be placed on waivers and was one of the few to be claimed. The Boston Red Sox were ultimately unable to win their claim, but the fact remains: Napoli is wanted, just not by the Angels.

As I pointed out in a previous article, the Angels are short on power but not on catchers or first basemen, and while Nap has shown surprising versatility in both positions, he is no sure thing at either.

What that versatility does do is add to his league-wide appeal, which has only increased this season along with his career highs in home runs (26) and RBI (68). Give him 500-600 at-bats and there is no reason he can’t hit 30 homers and 90-100 RBI.

Last winter, Napoli was rumored to be a key piece in a potential deal that would’ve landed Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays were in need of a power bat behind the plate, as well as a solid shortstop and a replacement starter in the rotation—allegedly Erick Aybar and Joe Saunders would’ve satisfied their needs.



For whatever reason, the Angels felt hamstrung by the deal and the Jays eventually found their backstop in 2010 All-Star John Buck. But power-hitting catchers are still a rare breed and Napoli should be a hot commodity on this year’s trade market.


The Red Sox were the first team to make their interest public by placing the claim back in August and their tastes likely haven’t changed. Victor Martinez is locked in negotiations for an extension with Boston, but the scuttlebutt around the league seems to be that V-Mart is on his way out, possibly to another AL or NL East team.

If so, the Angels’ worst postseason nemesis could become their newest trade partner.

L.A.’s farm system is somewhat depleted as a result of mid-season acquisitions between this year and last. This year alone, six minor leaguers switched uni’s in return for Alberto Callaspo and Dan Haren. Any deal for Napoli would likely net more Boston farmhands than major leauge-ready starters.

And if you’re going to deal present-day talent for the on-the-horizon variety, Boston is a good partner to have. Perennial all-star Hanley Ramirez began his career with the Sawks before being dealt to Florida for Josh Beckett.

Speaking of Florida, while all the focus will probably surround the Red Sox with regard to a Napoli deal this offseason, the Marlins are my sleeper team to snatch him off the market.


The fish have already made their desire for a new catcher known and several names, including Martinez, are rumored to have passed through the GM’s office more than once. But Napoli might just be a perfect fit in Miami.


A Hollywood, Florida native, Nap played high school ball just a stone’s throw away from both the Marlins’ current and future ballparks. His hometown hero status, along with his power and versatility, could go a long way toward filling those notoriously empty seats by pushing Florida back into NL East contention.

The deal I’d most like to see go down would include another Florida boy—second baseman Howard Kendrick.

The once-shining star of the Angels’ minor league system has yet to find consistency in the majors. He hit .322 in his rookie season before struggling with injuries the next two years. Last year, he started off so poorly he was sent back to Triple-A for a month before returning to hit .357 down the stretch.

This season has been a mixed bag for Kendrick, at times good and at others highly disappointing. The youngster still has plenty of room to grow though, whether in Anaheim or Miami.

Packaging his offensive potential and improved defense with Napoli‘s defensive potential and big bat could net an impressive return for the Angels.



I’m thinking Dan Uggla.

His negotiations with the Marlins aren’t progressing as quickly as some thought, and the teams’ attempts to shop him to contenders this season were no secret.

If Florida is still interested in moving the slugger, a young replacement with all the talent in the world and a power-hitting catcher would be a nice return for them as well. Meanwhile, the Angels still have three catchers on their roster without Nap, and more infielders than they know what to do with at this point.

Giving some of these youngsters like Hank Conger and Bobby Wilson room to grow, while adding a known quantity like Uggla to the middle of that lineup, would do as much to improving this ball club as inserting Carl Crawford in left field.

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