Not Sure I Get the Texas Rangers' Latest Trade ... For Another Catcher

Categories: Texas Rangers
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Adios, Frankie
A week after Texas Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said he's happy with the team and that his roster is set for spring training, his franchise made a trade yesterday. One I don't quite grasp.

The Rangers sent reliever Frankie Francisco to the Toronto Blue Jays for veteran catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli.

If you've listened long enough to general manager Jon Daniels you've heard him covet the 29-year-old Napoli, who has pop in his bat (26 homers in 140 games last year) and experience behind the plate (though he's not a great defensive catcher by any means). And I know that the Rangers have Alexi Ogando as a set-up guy and that Francisco was frustrating at times in Texas, including blowing a couple of saves early last year.

But the trade means more moves, some of which don't make a lot of sense.

*I know Napoli started more games at first base than catcher last year for the Angels. But does that make him a platoon first baseman with Mitch Moreland?

*If he's also a platoon catcher, what do we make of the Rangers' earlier off-season acquisition of Yorvit Torrealba? We thought he was brought here to be the starter, right? And what of Matt Treanor, C.J. Wilson's personal catcher? Don't tell me the Rangers can keep three catchers on their roster.

*The biggest question surrounds Michael Young, whose role seems to get diminished with each passing transaction. With Napoli and Moreland, no way Young gets any time at first base. And with Napoli's bat, any at-bats he gets at DH would seemingly take time away from Young.

*Last but not least, I guess the Neftali Feliz stretch-him-out-in-spring-training-to-see-if-he-can-be-a-starter experiment is over before it started. Without Frankie, who would close if Feliz moves out of the bullpen?

Napoli is a good baseball player and a good hitter against left-handed pitching. I'm just not sure where he fits in. And, come to think of it, isn't that the same thing I said last summer about Jorge Cantu?

Trading a proven set-up guy in the bullpen for a bench player with no defined role just doesn't quite feel right. Does it?

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11 comments
Rooster
Rooster

"Last but not least, I guess the Neftali Feliz stretch-him-out-in-spring-training-to-see-if-he-can-be-a-starter experiment is over before it started. Without Frankie, who would close if Feliz moves out of the bullpen?"

I doubt if their plans are to move Feliz out of the bullpen.

They tried that in spring training last year and he got lit up like a Christmas tree. Evidently its one thing for someone to see your 102mph fastball for one at bat. It's another for them to see it for 5 innings. Eventually they catch on and you have to have mastery of other pitches to be an effective starter, which has been the knock on Feliz.

Nolan and JD may not think he's near mastering a second/third pitch yet. There's a very distinct possibility he could become our version of Mariano Rivera, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Chuck G.
Chuck G.

"Not Sure I Get the Texas Rangers' Latest Trade ... For Another Catcher."

Not sure why the Fan or DO would keep you employed either given your piss poor ratings and lack of anything remotely related to skillful or insightful writing. The Hammer got the short end of the stick having to put up with you each and every day.

Kergo
Kergo

Don't need a marginal fat catcher, or a power hitting/career .250 designated hitter......dumb move! Good pitching is always at a premium. I thought Nolan knew this?!

jerrahs rug
jerrahs rug

Fairly positive you were on board with Cantu a year ago. And at that time Cantu was a legitimate 1B possibility, his suckiness made it a worthless trade.

Seems like M Young could easily be traded. Though I'm not sure why everyone is assuming Moreland is going to be a great success (didn't Davis tease us when first called up? and scouts thought miles more of Davis then they ever did Moreland), so there is still a possibility Young could play some 1st vs righties. As mentioned, Napoli is not only good vs lefties but creamed them last year. Even though Greggo said Napoli was a great defensive catcher, as you point out in the post he actually sucks and was routinely benched for a much better behind the plate backstop Jeff Mathis in Anaheim, although he had nowhere near the pop of Napoli.

I say good trade. I don't think Treanor figures into much longterm and he's making breadcrumbs ($850,000) compared to Napoli likely getting ~$5.5-$6 million in arbitration. The Rangers saw an opportunity for a well above average bat who can catch and also platoon at 1st. They probably liked Napoli with the Angels but may never have been a good trading partner with a division rival. The Rangers have tons of reliever depth in the minors and Frankie wasn't going to be a realistic longterm fit with the raises in arbitration coming up.

Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett

I give up with you, little boy Richie Whitt.

"Without Frankie, who would close if Feliz moves out of the bullpen?"I'm sure that's something JD and Nolan never thought about. Glad you brought it up.

"And, come to think of it, isn't that the same thing I said last summer about Jorge Cantu?"There you go pounding your chest again with a "I was right, bitches" egotistical comment.

"Trading a proven set-up guy in the bullpen for a bench player with no defined role just doesn't quite feel right. Does it?"Taking a second job that causes your first job to suffer doesn't make sense. You not realizing it (or realizing and not giving a shit) doesn't make sense. The Observer still employing you doesn't make sense. You saying people who comment here don't matter doesn't make sense. This trade? It makes sense, midget.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Nice post, McDoom, but it will fall on deaf douchey ears as far as RW goes. Ken Rosenthal wrote an article yesterday about how he feels Young should be traded now. I'm not sure if that would happen, and I don't see a deal being made with the Angels like Ken suggested, but there's always the possibility this opened the door to a move with the Rockies being looked at again.

What Richie is failing to take into account is that the team went the second half of the season and the playoff run without getting squat out of Frankie. They already found a way to operate a bullpen without him. Even IF Feliz earns a rotation spot (big if), I'm sure Lowe or Ogando would get the chance to be the closer. Lowe has some minor experience getting saves, and the team seems to feel Ogando can get that done too as a backup plan.

I don't have a problem with this move. Counting on Frankie wasn't a key to success, and they got some real value for him.

McDoom
McDoom

You’re not sure where he fits? He fills a need (RH bat that kills LHPs) and provides all kinds of roster flexibility. Napoli and Young can split time between 1B and DH against lefties, with Moreland getting plenty of ABs against righties and Young/Napoli still getting their share. He’ll be a RH bench bat when Hamilton or Cruz get a day off from the field at DH. Need to plug in Young last minute at 2B because Kinsler has the flu? No problem with Napoli on the active roster. Want to let Chris Davis stay all year at AAA for his last chance, figure it out or you’re gone after this season try? Napoli allows that luxury. Still not sure where he fits? Napoli is NOT going to platoon at catcher. This is a really, really terrible point. Torrealba and Treanor are the team’s catchers. What Napoli does give you in the catcher role is the flexibility to pinch hit/pinch run for one in the later innings and still have essentially two catchers on the bench. Also, if one of Torreabla or Treanor gets hurt, you don’t have to make a catcher specific roster move. Have fun all year at Round Rock Taylor. I hope you learn to hit while down there.

Mike Young will get his ABs. I’m not really worried about that. In fact, he’s better off in a platoon role anyway. The trade makes the team better now, which is most important. Most importantly, Napoli will not be playing 140 games for the Rangers this year, barring any significant injuries. He’s a PLATOON player. He got a bit exposed by having to play nearly everyday last year for LAAAAAAAAAAAA. I highly doubt Jorge Cantu OPSed over 900 against LHPs last year. Another bad point. I retract my earlier comment asking you to post something about the trade. Your effort was misguided and misinformed.

Mishon
Mishon

I love how you have to point out something you might have been right about 6 months ago. Doesn't take away from everything you have been wrong about. i.e. Cowboys going to the Super Bowl and the Rangers winning the World Series in 5 games, just to name a couple. There are waaaaaaaaay more.

how the west was won
how the west was won

>RH bat that kills LHPs

This trade gives the Rangers a fighting chance against the A's next year.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

He couldn't even decide which opinion to have on Greinke. Captain Contrarian at it again.

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