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Rangers Hoping for Some Vintage Napoli

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 27: Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI single to score Nelson Cruz #17 in the fourth inning during Game Six of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    When thinking about the good times in Texas Rangers history, it's hard not to start with the 2011 team.

    A year after breaking through and not only winning their first playoff series in club history but winning an AL pennant, the Rangers returned to the World Series in 2011 as, at worst, a 50-50 team to win it all.

    A big reason for that was Mike Napoli, who arrived in 2011 to hit a career-high .320 with 30 homers. If the Rangers had indeed held on in Game 6 of the World Series, he would've been the World Series MVP. If you listen carefully, you can still hear the "Nap-o-li" chants ringing throughout what is now known as Globe Life Park.

    On Friday, the Rangers traded for Napoli, sending cash and/or players to be named later to Boston for an aging player who's a shell of his former self. But maybe they can catch lightning in a bottle for a couple of months.

    That's really all the Rangers are looking for from the free agent-to-be, who has made a career of mashing left-handed pitching. It's definitely not ironic, given the Rangers' troubles against lefties this year and their lack of right-handed bats.

    Napoli can give them a feared right-handed bat with power, and even though his numbers this year aren't good, he's seemingly turned things up a notch over the last couple of weeks.

    On July 22, he was batting only .198. But his 14 games leading up to the Texas reunion, he posted a .957 OPS with six doubles and three home runs to raise his average to .207.

    He's not going to be a full-time player, as he'll likely just platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base against lefties, but if they can get some production and just a presence in the lineup from him, it'll be a win, and it'll give the Rangers some more hope against southpaws.