Boston Red Sox reportedly in discussions to make trade for Angels’ Mike Napoli
The Angels could factor into every American League pennant race except their own over the season’s final month.
Two days after division-leading Minnesota acquired closer Brian Fuentes on Friday from the Angels, the contending Boston Red Sox were reportedly in discussions to make a trade for Mike Napoli after making a waiver claim for the catcher-first baseman.
The teams reportedly would have to complete the deal by Monday, and the Red Sox are not believed to be offering a high-end prospect should they be asked to pick up the $720,000 or so remaining on Napoli’s one-year, $3.6-million contract.
The Angels can keep Napoli if the terms are not to their liking.
Napoli, who is hitting .249 with a team-leading 21 home runs and 60 runs batted in, was out of the Angels’ lineup Sunday at Angel Stadium during their 1-0 loss to Baltimore.
“It’s always nice to have other people want you to be a part of their club, but I’m an Angel now and it’s out of my control,” Napoli said after the game. “I like playing here, and I’m going to try to help this team win as long as I can.”
Napoli, 28, has value as a versatile power hitter who is under club control through at least the end of next season, but the Angels may be willing to part with him since Kendry Morales will return at first base next season and they have a pair of capable catchers in Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson.
General Manager Tony Reagins declined to comment on the report, citing the confidentiality of the waiver process.
Asked about the difficulty of assessing how to proceed with waiver claims, Manager Mike Scioscia said, “I don’t think there’s a situation of any tough decisions. You’re trying to move forward and make the club better.”
Already having wowed with his speed in center field, Peter Bourjos has also displayed a strong arm.
He recorded his fifth outfield assist in only 21 starts Sunday when he threw out Josh Bell attempting to score from second base in the sixth inning on Nick Markakis’ sharp single to center.
The Angels may have caught a break on the play, however. Though Bourjos’ throw beat Bell to the plate, Bell bowled over Mathis and appeared to touch home plate before the catcher could apply the tag.
But home plate umpire Brian Gorman called Bell out.
Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth inning in his debut as the new Angels’ closer, but there was no save at stake because his team trailed by a run.
“Hopefully we’re going to get some games he can save here down the line,” Scioscia said.
Torii Hunter has had a few misadventures in baserunning against the Orioles this month, but his attempted steal of second base in the ninth inning Saturday that resulted in a double play didn’t irk his manager.
“I’m the one who told him to go,” Scioscia said, noting that he wanted Hunter to run on the pitch to avoid a double play with sinkerball specialist Jim Johnson facing Hideki Matsui.
The Orioles got the double play anyway, when Matsui flied out to right field and Hunter was unable to get back to first base before outfielder Markakis’ throw reached the bag.
Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.