The Cleveland Indians signed catcher Mike Napoli to a Minor League deal on Tuesday.
Mike Napoli hit a meager .193/.285/.428 in 485 plate appearances for the Cleveland Indians in 2017. Despite this, Napoli somehow managed to hit 29 home runs and brings power to the table above all else.
Napoli’s decline has not necessarily been due to age, but more so due to injury. Napoli has suffered a line of injuries which include but is not limited to a lower back strain, a stress reaction in his right leg, and a torn ligament in his right hand which was not diagnosed until after the season came to a close, after which Napoli had surgery. It appears that time is catching up with him and at the brutal catching position, it is catching up with his really fast.
The Cleveland Indians essentially have their Opening Day roster set and will be the comfortable favorites to win the weak AL Central and will once again be a top pennant contender. The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the ALDS in 2017, before completely falling apart and losing to the New York Yankees in 5 games. While the Tribe has a young and promising roster, they do have seasoned veterans such as first baseman Yonder Alonso and DH Edwin Encarnacion.
This move was made by the Cleveland Indians for depth and depth alone. It is unsure where Napoli will fit into the powerhouse Cleveland Indians lineup (if he makes the team) and he will mainly be a backup if he manages to make the club. It was a smart move by the Indians to at least keep Napoli around and depth is depth.