Red Fever
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Decision Time On Napoli

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    NEWSLETTERS

    We've talked enough about Mike Napoli on these pages in recent weeks to know his situation.

    He's a free agent, he's coming off a disappointing season and yet he's still probably the top name in a weak free agent class of catchers in baseball. He'll be coveted this winter, but not as highly as the Rangers probably imagined heading into the 2012 season.

    If the Rangers make a qualifying offer to Napoli of $13.3 million by Friday, and Napoli elects to sign elsewhere, the Rangers will be compensated with a draft pick from the team that signs their catcher.

    After his poor 2012 season, there's no team out there — at least you wouldn't think so — that will offer Napoli a big multi-year deal like the one the Rangers offered him last winter that he turned down to test free agency. Bet he's regretting that decision now.

    The question is, do the Rangers want to make the qualifying offer to Napoli to ensure they get compensated if he goes elsewhere. That amount, $13.3 million, is a lot of money to give a catcher for one year after he hit .227 with some pop (24 home runs). He made just over $9 million last season, so you'd essentially be giving a 33 percent raise to a guy who was disappointing.

    Could the Rangers get Napoli back for a one-year deal to help him build some more value at less than $13.3 million? It's pretty likely, but not certain.

    If we're making a guess here, assume the Rangers probably won't make that qualifying offer. It's not worth the money if they're going to get what Napoli was last season, and has been for much of his career outside of his freakish half-season in 2011. That doesn't mean Napoli won't be in a Rangers uniform in 2013 (I don't think he will) but it won't be at that amount.