November 12, 2012
Monday, November 12
Korean southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu became a hotter-than-expected commodity last week, when the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization posted him for bidding. Ryu’s rights now belong to the Dodgers, who offered Hanwha about $25.74 million for the 25-year-old billed as a possible number-three starter, and general manager Ned Colletti has 30 days to work out a deal with Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras. For more on Ryu, see R.J. Anderson’s Transaction Analysis.
In the meantime, here’s a look at what’s brewing back in the States…
Mike Napoli would like to remain a catcher
Napoli, apparently, begs to differ. After serving as the Rangers’ catcher in 72 of his 100 games last season, Napoli believes that he has proven himself capable of handling those duties for his next team. Organizations and GMs that value offense over defense from their backstops might agree, but some analysts, such as ESPN’s Keith Law, are skeptical of Napoli’s ability to both successfully handle catching duties and maintain his performance and health while doing so.
In Mike Fast’s pitch-framing study published last September, Napoli ranked near the bottom of the league; his inability to persuade umpires to expand the corners of the strike zone cost his teams an estimated 24 runs over the timeframe of the study. He also gunned down just 20.8 percent of would-be base stealers in 2012—after hosing 36 percent of them in 2011—a mark that thoroughly impressed Rod Barajas but made Napoli a liability to the Rangers. Some of the blame likely rests with Texas’ pitching staff, because teammate Geovany Soto also threw out only 20 percent of runners after coming over from the Cubs, compared to 27 percent while with Chicago, but the poor showing reinforces concerns about Napoli’s ability to stay behind the plate full-time.
Aside from the Red Sox, the Mariners are Napoli’s only publicly known suitor, though his market should come along now that Ross has signed and the Rangers have decided not to extend him a qualifying offer.