Boston’s Mike Napoli Problem

The Red Sox have a decision to make regarding one Mike Napoli. Mike has been struggling pretty mightily at the plate all season long, posting a .192 average and a .294 OBP. He’s one of only 2 players (out of 116 qualifying players) to post a sub-.200 average and a sub-.300 on base percentage. The other? Our old friend, Stephen Drew. That’s some pretty elite company there. So, what do the Red Sox do with him? That’s a tough one to answer.

Short-term, the answer was put David Ortiz in for his first start at 1B at home sinceMike Napoli 2005. According to the Boston Globe John Farrell & co. still view that as a one-time thing, and not a long term solution, in spite of Nap’s struggles. Regardless, the team faces some tough decisions, especially regarding Mike Napoli. Right now, the Red Sox don’t have many good options.

As I see it, one option is that you could put David Ortiz in there on a regular basis, but I have some concerns about his age (39), and his lack of consistent time at first base over his career. That would mean Hanley Ramirez (at least in my mind) takes over at DH, which would be a good thing, but David Ortiz’s fielding ability long-term worries me.

Another option is putting Hanley at 1st, but his defense in left field has been so bad it’s scary at times, and I don’t think he’d be much better at 1st.

The last option, and my personal preference, would be to give Brock Holt some time at first. You can’t leave him out of the lineup—he’s way too valuable at the moment. That way, you don’t lose what David and Hanley can bring offensively, and you don’t have to worry so much about 1st being a defensive problem.

So, what about Mike himself? Maybe he just needs a few days to get his stuff together, but if the Red Sox do look at getting rid of him, the best option would be to DFA him because his trade value is at an all-time low.

If they get rid of him, it will definitely be hard to say goodbye, but it might be for the best at this point.

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