... dead and gone (I'm not still not sure why Justin Timberlake collaborated with T.I. on the below song, but, hey, whatever) ...
Mike Napoli saw the St. Louis Cardinals sign catcher Yadier Molina to a five-year deal worth a reported $75 million, but Napoli didn't read too much into the numbers. He doesn't know what his value will be when he becomes a free agent after this season.
Napoli had discussions with the Texas Rangers this winter about a long-term deal, but those talks stalled. Instead, Napoli and the Rangers reached a one-year, $9.4 million deal in his final year of arbitration.
Napoli said talks of a deal have been "squashed," and he's focused on the season rather than free agency.
"I'd love to be here, but I'll test the market," Napoli said. "Every player plays to get to free agency. But it's not something I'm going to worry about. That's why I have my agent."
There’s a very good chance @MikeNapoli25 will have an extension by Opening Day, based on what I’ve been hearing throughout the off-season.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 21, 2011
And, a little while before that (also from JPM):
I think with Napoli’s case, I would be surprised if he does not have an extension by Opening Day. I think it just makes too much sense. It would be a fascinating arbitration case because of the big jump that he had in production, but I think that will become moot. I think they’ll get together and say, “Look, he’s such a good fit for our club, for our ballpark, for our organization. He’s been a great fit in the clubhouse.” I think he’ll get an extension for three years, maybe even four before Opening Day to really buy out that last year of arbitration.
Assuming Napoli's words hold true, he'll hit the open market along with Josh Hamilton after the 2012 season, with Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz all being FA-eligible after the 2013 season.