The Guru
Contributing Writer

Mike Napoli has entered a slump of epic proportions. Perhaps epic is too strong a word for a game played in the sunshine. Let's just call it a slump of Rob Deer-like proportions.

The Red Sox have some decisions to make.

Since the All-Star break, Napoli has hit .204 with exactly 15 hits and 35 strikeouts. He added three more to his total in last nights 4-2, 11-inning win in Toronto.

Napoli currently leads the league with 158 K's this year. The Sox record for strikeouts in a season was set by Mark Bellhorn in 2004 with 177. The MLB record is 223 by Mark Reynolds in 2009. Napoli is on pace for 215.

As bad as the strikeouts are, it's Napoli's inability to drive in runs that is truly hurting the team.

Napoli was brought in to be the big bat in the middle of the Sox lineup, yet he's stranding guys all over the diamond. His batting average with runners in scoring position this year is .214. His average with runners in scoring position and two outs is down to.194. Not exactly clutch.

Since the beginning of August, Napoli has left 36 runners on base and has stranded 229 on the year, most in the league. If things keep going this way, Napoli will break the Sox single-season record of 294 runners stranded set by Jim Rice in 1984.

Breaking records for offensive ineptitude points to changes.

The Red Sox have tried everything to get him out of the funk. The Sox have given Napoli days off, dropped him in the order, sent him for MRI's on his hips and called in hitting coach Greg Colbrunn for extra time in the batting cage. Apart from angrily threatening the voodoo god Jo-bu, nothing seems to be working.

It is time to take some drastic measures. Here are four possible options:

1. Platoon Napoli with Carp. Mike Carp is hitting .333 since the All-Star break and .315 against right handed pitching on the season. A platoon situation would be the logical fix.

2. Call up Bogaerts. Xander Bogaerts could play third and Will Middlebrooks could shift over to first base. It would be a gutsy move for a team in playoff contention. There have been rumblings the Sox will try this next season. Perhaps the time is now.

3. Make a trade. MLB teams can still make trades up until August 31 and have those players eligible for the playoff roster. The Minnesota Twins have placed first baseman Justin Morneau on revocable waivers. If Morneau clears waivers, the Sox could make a run at him. Morneau, who is a free agent at the end of the season, is hitting .262 with 14 home runs and 67 RBI.

4. Do something crazy. If the Red Sox are truly desperate they could look outside the country and outside the human race and sign this guy:

Whatever the Red Sox decide to do, it appears it's time to deal with the Mike Napoli situation. What say you Red Sox Lifer's?

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The Guru 8/14/2013 09:00:00 AM Edit
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