Monday, January 14, 2013

The Many (Potential) Injuries of Mike Napoli

I've made a conscious effort to not make the primary topic of this blog "How Much I Want To Cockpunch the Mike Napoli Deal", but some news items I just can't ignore.  This info about Napoli's hip is one of those items:
A major league source said this about Mike Napoli’s hip condition: “It’s one of those things where it could go anytime or five years from now. Nobody really knows..."
To fully digest this news, let's go over a brief history of Napoli being a walking, talking injury:

  • 2003 - He injured his right shoulder in the minors.
  • 2007 -  Two injuries this year, as Napoli sprained his ankle before straining his hamstring.
  • 2008 - Napoli had shoulder issues, not sure if it's related to 2003 but I'm gonna take a wild guess and say yes, it is.
  • 2012 - Napoli's hamstring acted up again. This injury occurred after he played full time and injury free in 2011, but he broke down in August.

So, before hearing about Napoli's hip issues, we already knew that he had recurring issues with his hamstring and shoulder.  Napoli's hip hasn't even caused him to go on the disabled list during his career, yet the potential for his hip to "go at anytime" is what's holding up his contract talks.  We're looking at a player who has three big injury issues that would cause him to lose a significant amount of playing time.

As far as I know, Michael Morse on the Nationals had lower back issues at the beginning of last season, but that's the only injury that has nagged him during his whole career.

Why, again, is Napoli supposedly the best option out there?  Because of his overrated statistics at Fenway Park, which no one has mentioned that poor Red Sox pitching may have caused?  Because of his high OPS, since the Sox want to pay millions more to a guy that has 18 more walks than Salty last year while posting the same power numbers?

What happens if any of Napoli's injury issues flair up in April?  Or Spring Training?  And if the Sox are looking at a hole at first base that just cost them $11-12 million in 2013?  What happens then?

There's a reason why Texas didn't give Napoli a competing offer so they could be awarded a draft pick when Napoli signed with another team -- they were afraid that Napoli would take that competing offer. Then they would be stuck with him.  Indeed, given how contract negotiations with the Sox have gone, Napoli probably would have accepted a competing offer from Texas by now if they had placed one on the table.  And it's not like Texas doesn't need power in their lineup, after letting Hamilton walk.  But Texas considered even one more year with Mike Napoli to be too risky.  If that doesn't make a statement about Napoli, than I don't know what will.

Red Sox need to step away from Napoli and focus on acquiring Michael Morse, if they want to make a splash in the headlines; or use Mauro Gomez.  Hell, Gomez is a better option than Napoli at this point, because you can't depend on a player this risky.

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