Mike Napoli has been out for 4 straight games, but John Farrell told CSNNE that Napoli has in fact been cleared to play, but he wanted to start the left-handed hitting Mike Carp against Ryan Vogelsong. So, he'll play against the lefty Barry Zito in the rubber match against the San Francisco Giants, right? Maybe not, Farrell says. Farrell hinted to CSNNE that he might start David Ortiz at first despite the lefty-lefty match up. Farrell told CSNNE that he always planned on starting Ortiz 2 of 3 against San Fran. Maybe he did, but what does that say about his faith in Mike Napoli? He's currently hitting .245 with 15 home runs and 69 RBI's according to ESPN, but the flip side of that is that he has 158 strikeouts, and it seems like he manages to come up with a strikeout in a lot of big moments. And that is what worries me and probably the rest of Red Sox Nation.
So, let's take a moment to consider the future of Mike Napoli both for the rest of this season, and beyond. Should he play for the rest of the year, how much playing time should he get, and should we extend his contract beyond this season? I would vote for giving him limited playing time for the rest of the season and possibly playing him in the playoffs (assuming we get that far - knock on wood), because I think most of us forgive (but maybe not forget necessarily) if Napoli came up with one big hit in the postseason. Most of us would probably be clamoring for an extension if he heated up in the postseason. And he has shown the capability to get a big hit (walk-off against the New York Yankees anyone), but Napoli has been synonymous with killing rallies with a strikeout. But on the other hand, he's one of the people we brought in to change the chemistry in the locker room, and that is where he's hand the most success.
If I had to reach a verdict now, I would say let him play, but don't bring him back next year unless he stops swinging at everything. But he could break the habit and become a different player just in time for the postseason. Let me know what you think by Tweeting me @ConorJF1016 or leave a comment below.