No Qualifying Offer For Napoli, Davis; Potential Upgrades In Outfield

Cleveland Indians World Series Game 5 Watch Party

Cleveland Indians World Series Game 5 Watch Party

The 2016 Indians battled injuries left and right to the pitching staff and the lineup. First Michael Brantley and then Yan Gomes. The team was still fine. The rotation was solid and they were healthy. But then September came, and things looked bleak. They lost Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco within eight days of each other, and right in the middle of a tight division race, as well as the race for best record in the American League. Despite all of this, Terry Francona and company came just shy of winning a World Series title, pushing the heavily favored, 103-win Chicago Cubs to the limit. The reason they could stay atop the A.L. Central? Free agent bargains Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis. The 35-year old Napoli hit 34 home runs and drove in a career-high 101 RBI. Davis, 36, hit .249 but stole 43 bases. Davis was more or less brought in to bridge the gap until A.L. Rookie of the Year candidate Tyler Naquin is ready for full-time duty.

While Napoli or Davis were non-existent in the postseason, it was Davis that hit the biggest home run in Indians history. His 2-run homer off Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning of Game 7 tied the game at six. Despite his heroics….well, you know how it went.

So now here we are, a week removed from another heartbreaker, and we have decisions to make. It was originally reported that the club extended a $17.2 million qualifying offer to Napoli. However, it’s been recently reported that they won’t extend the offer, not only to Napoli, but also Davis. It’s my estimation that the team will try to sign Napoli to a 2-year deal worth somewhere between $24-$28million. They also could do another one year deal with a club-option for 2018. As for Davis, he’ll more than likely get a 1-year deal worth $7-$8.5 million. That is a lot for someone that’s pushing 40, but he was a large part of the improved offense, so it would be worth the money for another year.

Here is what the projected lineup would look like in 2017 IF Napoli and Davis return:

1)      Jason Kipnis-2B

2)      Francisco Lindor-SS

3)      Michael Brantley-LF

4)      Mike Napoli-DH

5)      Carlos Santana-1B

6)       Jose Ramirez-3B

7)      Lonnie Chisenhall-RF

8)      Roberto Perez/Yan Gomes-C

9)      Rajai Davis-CF

The biggest change I think anyone may have an issue with is Perez starting over Yan Gomes. Yes, I know Gomes was hurt. Yes, I know Gomes is has a great feel for the pitching staff, but you can’t deny that Perez didn’t earn a chance to start, if he didn’t have it locked down already. “Robo” has an okay bat, but his defense and command of the pitching staff is equal to, if not better than Gomes. Is Yan a trade chip? Maybe. Everything is dependent on how Gomes performs in the spring, and it also depends on what Tito wants to do. For now, I have Perez number one on the depth chart.

Now, if you want to maybe make some upgrades, we can, but where? I picked out two players that can make an impact, and upgrade the outfield. The first is Ian Desmond. The 31-year old hit .285 with 22 HR and 86 RBI with 21 stolen bases. Desmond could get a 4yr/$60 million deal. The second is Carlos Gomez. Despite hitting a mere .231 this year, the 30-year old put on a show when he was picked up by the Texas Rangers on August 20th, just two days after being released by the Houston Astros. Before he was released, Gomez hit just .210 with five home runs and 29 RBI, but he did swipe 13 bases. However, he hit .284 with eight homers and 24 RBI in just 33 games with the Rangers. His deal could be in the $36 million range over three years.

Here would be the lineup if the Indians did sign either one:

1)      Kipnis-2B

2)      Lindor-SS

3)      Brantley-LF

4)      Napoli-DH

5)      Santana1B

6)      Desmond/Gomez-CF

7)      Ramirez-3B

8)      Chisenhall-RF

9)      Perez/Gomes-C

Small change, I know, but it’s also a big change. Either one would add another 15-25 home runs, 60-90 RBI and 20-30 stolen bases per year. Desmond also has the versatility to play any of the outfield spots or either middle infield position when needed. Remember, these moves are just purely speculation. The Dolans have spent big time money before (Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn), so they may be a little gun shy when it comes to big time spending this offseason. There are some other targets in mind, but that will be another article.

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Raymond Bosak About Raymond Bosak

Hello everyone. My name is Raymond Bosak and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a die-hard Cleveland fan, and have been my entire life. I am looking forward to bringing you some excellent Browns, Buckeyes, and Indians coverage, and maybe some Cavs things too. Everything I write will be honest and upfront. I’ll aim to have a couple articles per week, including some game previews and reviews, 5 things to watch for, and game ball and game MVP(s).

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