Napoli to Red Sox; where does that leave Mariners?

Mike Napoli, one of the Mariners potential offensive targets, is already off the table at the Winter Meetings as the Red Sox have signed the veteran catcher/first baseman to a three-year, $39 million deal according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Does that mean the Mariners are out the catching market? A couple of reporters happened to be talking to Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik moments before the Napoli news came out and I asked him whether he felt he needed to add a veteran catcher this offseason to his current returners, John Jaso and Jesus Montero.

Here’s his answer:

“Right now you’re going to have the two guys, Montero and Jaso catch. You’ve got your left-right combo, that’s nice. Both guys have their skill-set they bring to the table. Neither guy is what you’d call a defensive receiver. Both are offensive catchers.

“We’ll have our ears open certainly to see how the right type of catcher would fit. You don’t want to take away their ABs right now just for a defensive catcher because our needs are offense. But I do think we have to address a defensive possibility if it exists.”

My sense is that the Mariners would have been willing to add Napoli because of the bat he’d bring, but catcher really isn’t their priority — in part because of the looming addition of first-round Draft pick Mike Zunino as well.

They’ll drop back now and consider a low-priced veteran, but they’ll look at other positions now to add the bat they covet with Napoli off the market.

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