Report: Orioles have interest in Napoli

Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles' quest for a middle-order bat may take them to a free-agent slugger - but not one who's familiar with the Charm City.

Baltimore is reportedly showing interest in free-agent first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli as a possible replacement for Mark Trumbo, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Should the Orioles move on from Trumbo, Napoli would appear to be a perfect fit in their lineup as a replacement. The 35-year-old experienced a power surge with the Cleveland Indians in 2016, hitting a career-high 34 homers while slashing .239/.335/.465 over 150 games for the AL champions; he also evenly split time between first base and DH with Carlos Santana. Napoli's familiarity with the AL East - having played in Boston from 2013-15 - would likely catch the Orioles' eye as well.

One drawback could potentially be Napoli's lack of positional versatility beyond first base. Unlike Trumbo, who played 95 games in right field for Baltimore last year, Napoli does not play the outfield. With first base occupied by Chris Davis, Napoli would become Baltimore's everyday DH by default, meaning the team would still need to find an additional outfielder.

The Orioles may already be searching for that player, as they were recently reported to be interested in speedy free-agent outfielder Rajai Davis - coincidentally, Napoli's teammate in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, a reunion with Trumbo - who led the majors with 47 homers during his first and perhaps only season in Baltimore last year - appears unlikely, as a report earlier this month suggested the team had pulled its latest offer off the table. Baltimore is reportedly warming to the idea of netting a compensatory pick when Trumbo signs elsewhere, according to Cafardo.

Other possible options for the Orioles in the DH slot could include free agents Chris Carter and Pedro Alvarez, along with rookie Trey Mancini, who hit the ball well during his September cameo. A free-agent option who could play the outfield like Trumbo might be Jose Bautista, though general manager Dan Duquette has refused to explore that option due to Bautista's unpopularity among Orioles fans.

The Texas Rangers, who employed Napoli from 2011-12 and again in 2015, have reportedly emerged as the front-runner for his services.

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Report: Orioles have interest in Napoli
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