The Cleveland Indians have reunited with a fan favorite after signing the slugger Mike Napoli.
The first baseman and designated hitter Napoli agreed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
Mike Napoli will have a Minor League contract/spring invite with Indians after he passes a physical.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 27, 2018
The club has not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.
Napoli, 36, batted .239/.335/.465 with 34 home runs and 101 RBIs in 150 games for the Indians during their run to the World Series in 2016. He hit .193/.285/.428 with 29 homers and 66 RBIs in 124 games for the Rangers last season.
A 12-year MLB veteran, Napoli is a .246/.346/.475 hitter with 267 home runs and 744 RBIs over the course of his career. He was an American League All-Star in 2012 while with Texas.
According to Bastian, Indians manager Terry Francon met with Edwin Encarnación and Yonder Alonson to explain that Napoli "was not there to take their job."
Francona met with Encarnacion and Alonso to make sure they knew Napoli was not here "to take your job." Manager said the organization's respect for Napoli played a big role in the signing. Felt like he deserved to be in an MLB camp, even if it's to audition for another team.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 27, 2018
Bastian explains that Napoli is veteran depth and he is basically there to get Big League at-bats, instead of sitting unsigned.