The Texas Rangers have reportedly become more aggressive their pursuit of free agent first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes.
Napoli, 35, was reportedly close to a deal with the Rangers last week, but nothing materialised over the holidays. Jon Morosi of MLB Network also reported today that interest in Napoli has intensified after Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Cleveland Indians.
Encarnacion's deal effectively ended Napoli's stint in Cleveland as he will assume the first base/designated hitter duties for the 2016 American League champions.
Entering the offseason, Napoli was reportedly seeking a three-year deal but FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported earlier today that he's willing to take a two-year deal.
The Rangers are short on power with Prince Fielder's health-related retirement last season and longtime first baseman Mitch Moreland departing for the Boston Red Sox. In 150 games last season, Napoli slashed .239/.335/.465 with 34 home runs and 101 runs batted in. He also comes with familiarity as he spent 2011-12 and part of 2015 with the Rangers.
With the aforementioned Encarnacion off the board, guys like Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, Brandon Moss, and Napoli figure to sign in the coming days/weeks.