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Tuesday January 25, 2011 7:40 pm

The Flip: Mike Napoli returns to the AL West

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB, Trades,

Mike NapoliFor the second time since Friday, Mike Napoli has been traded. Hopefully he hasn’t unpacked after being sent from Los Angeles to Toronto, as he is now heading back to the AL West. The Blue Jays and Rangers have completed a deal, sending the four-day old Blue Jay Napoli to Texas for reliever Frank Francisco and a little less than a million bucks. It’s just another player flipping deals that already seem to be common with Toronto’s new GM Alex Anthopoulos over his first year in the job.

Was the Napoli trade something that Texas and Toronto had planned before the Jays acquired him? Perhaps the Angels weren’t willing to send Napoli to a division rival and the Blue Jays were the perfect dupe to get the deal to happen. Of course it doesn’t hurt the Jays to be rid of Vernon Wells and the $75 million they still owed him over the next four seasons. Either way, Napoli can now get a long-term chance to play every day. He’s averaged only 101 games per season in his five-year career.

With three catchers in the mix, including Matt Treanor and Yorvit Torrealba, the Rangers are going to have to make some kind of move. Napoli will likely take over duties at first base while one of the catchers can act as DH if needed, but that doesn’t leave a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to other positions on the field. There’s still plenty of time for the Rangers to figure this out though.

In the end, all three of the Rangers, Angels and Blue Jays get stronger. Los Angeles now may have the best defensive outfield in baseball with Wells, Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter; the Rangers have options behind the plate and at first and the Blue Jays continue to strengthen what less than five years ago was the best bullpen in baseball with a fourth pitcher capable of closing. The value of each player is up and so does the competitiveness of each of their teams.



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