The end of Mike Napoli’s third stint with the Texas Rangers is over short of the finish line, a disappointing end to a disappointing season.
Napoli said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect to play again this season because of a stress reaction in his right fibula. He was on the club on a one-year deal and is a free agent, and the Rangers might not have the resources or desire to bring him back.
He finishes with 29 homers but a .193 average that has him scratching his head.
“I would do my work, and I would do great in the cage and my BPs,” Napoli said. “It was just hard for me to bring it into the game. I’d start feeling good, and the next day it would be like, ‘Where did it go?’
“I can look at myself in the mirror and know I came here prepared every day and worked to try to get better every day and everything I had. It was just one of those years.”
The Rangers covet Napoli’s veteran leadership and desire to win. He loves the Metroplex, to the point that he is considering making it his permanent home, and would be thrilled to return to the Rangers.
Napoli plays first base, which is where Joey Gallo could play next season. Napoli could also become the designated hitter, but the Rangers like to use that spot to rotate regular into for quasi-days off.
With the Rangers facing three vacancies in their rotation this off-season and questions in the bullpen, the bulk of their funds will go toward pitching.
Napoli is planning on playing next season.
“First is getting this healthy and then moving forward,” he said. “I love it here. I’m so comfortable. Just the way our clubhouse is, our team is, it’s family here.”