GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Is there still a Party at Napoli's?
Of course there is.
"There always is," Mike Napoli said with a laugh when asked about his signature slogan upon re-signing with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. "Wherever I go. It ain't gonna change, but yeah, I guess so."
The 36-year-old, however, is well aware that the Cleveland portion of this party won't last long -- and likely won't even make it back from Goodyear, Ariz., where the Indians are currently holding Spring Training. Upon signing Napoli to a minor league contract, Indians manager Terry Francona made it clear that this opportunity is more likely to result in the veteran first baseman signing with another Major League team than it is for him to remain with the Tribe.
"Obviously, we had conversations about the roster and what's going on," Napoli said, alluding to the Indians being set at designated hitter and first base with Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso, respectively. "I'm very fortunate that this organization's giving me the opportunity to come here and get into shape and kind of showcase a little bit."
But even though the veteran first baseman's return to Cleveland likely won't be a long one, excitement regarding the reunion -- no matter how brief -- remains. In 2016, Napoli served as a central figure in both the Indians' lineup and locker room, batting .239 to go along with 34 home runs and 101 RBIs on a Cleveland team that wound up playing in Game 7 of the World Series.
But after the Tribe inked Encarnacion to the biggest free agent deal in team history the following offseason, Napoli wound up signing with the Texas Rangers. He proceeded to hit a career-worst .193 in 2017 before being bought out of his contract earlier this offseason for $2.5 million and remained un-signed until agreeing to a minor league deal with the Tribe on Tuesday.
"It's tough. You go through something we went through, you want to come back -- it's almost like unfinished business," Napoli said, referring to the team coming up short in the 2016 World Series. "But that's a part of the game -- part of the business."
Nevertheless, here Napoli is, back with the team he enjoyed one of his best seasons with -- albeit under much different circumstances. But while the majority of what's left of his spring will be spent attempting to showcase himself to other teams, both Francona and his once-former teammates believe he will still have a positive presence in the Cleveland clubhouse.
"He can do a lot. He can continue to help us grow," 2-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor told WKYC on Wednesday. "His experience in the postseason and in the big leagues is tremendous. He can contribute in that sense. And he can contribute on the field -- we all know that."
And off of it -- the party continues.