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November 26, 2012

Mike Napoli, Rangers to meet Tuesday

Mike Napoli and his agent, Brian Grieper, will meet with Rangers officials Tuesday, according to a source.

The meeting will provide each side with a better understanding of where things stand between the club and the catcher, who is believed to be seeking a four-year contract in his first crack at free agency.

Boston and Seattle are Napoli's other suitors.

Napoli spent the past two seasons with the Rangers after a January 2011 trade with Toronto, and is open to returning. The Rangers are also interested in re-signing Napoli, who has hit 54 home runs the past two seasons.

But the Rangers didn't want to make him a qualifying offer of one year at $13.3 million earlier this month. That's not too far away from annual average salaries being paid to Yadier Molina and Miguel Montero, who are considered everyday catchers. The Rangers thought the qualifying offer for Napoli was too high for a player who hit only .227 in 2012 and isn't viewed as someone who can catch 130 games.

It's possible that they have changed their thinking, though, based on what's available on the free-agent and trade markets.

Russell Martin and A.J. Pierzynski are also free agents, though Martin is expected to re-sign with the Yankees. The Blue Jays have an abundance of catching and are said to want at least a starting pitcher in return for J.P. Arencibia or top prospect Travis d'Arnaud, who is coming off a torn posterior cruciate ligament suffered in late June.

John Buck, part of the mega-deal with Miami, could be had for less, but the Rangers see him as a backup.

Geovany Soto is the only experienced catcher on the Rangers' roster.

-- Jeff Wilson



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