From the beginning, the Seattle Mariners didn't seem like a great fit for Mike Napoli as a free agent. The Mariners are in need of a bat, sure, but ideally they'd find a bat with better defense and some capability of playing the outfield. Still, the rumors had to be taken seriously, because the Mariners formally met with Napoli, and because Napoli was being pursued only by the Mariners, Red Sox, and Rangers. Now we don't have to think about it anymore. Now Napoli has signed with Boston for three years and $39 million.
Napoli supposedly wanted a four-year contract, but he didn't get it. Napoli supposedly wanted to remain a catcher, but he's not going to. It's almost as if players don't always get exactly what they want, and it's almost as if the offseason is a time for the spread of misinformation within baseball rumor circles. Presumably, if the Mariners truly wanted Napoli, they would've had to outbid the Red Sox, so I'm perfectly comfortable with them not exceeding these terms.
I would've had something on this up sooner, incidentally, but I'm currently sitting at the actual winter meetings, and it's way harder to get work done here than it is alone in the quiet bedroom of my quiet apartment. I don't understand how people think with so much background chatter. Maybe they don't. Maybe that's the whole problem with modern sportswriting. Maybe Miguel Cabrera won the American League MVP award over Mike Trout because the voting sportswriters couldn't properly collect their thoughts. "Triple Crown" is all they could think, because that was the first thought to occur.
With John Jaso around, Jesus Montero around, and Mike Zunino nearly around, the Mariners have long looked like they could use a part-time, defensive-minded, right-handed catcher. Someone easy to move out of the way. Napoli didn't fit that description, and Russell Martin didn't fit that description. The Mariners could conceivably do anything* but I expect that they'll get a low-profile catcher and that their high-profile acquisition -- should they make one -- will play somewhere else. A regular catcher is not something they need, and first base is a position without a lot of clarity.
* except sign Mike Napoli or Russell Martin
What are the Mariners going to do this week and beyond? I don't know yet. You don't know yet, and I bet the Mariners don't know yet. Several different paths are possible. The various Napoli paths are no longer among them. Oh no, or, thank goodness. Or, somewhere in between.