GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The party is back on. According to the Associated Press, the Cleveland Indians will sign Mike Napoli to a minor league once the veteran first baseman passes a physical.
Napoli is expected to be in Goodyear, Ariz. on Tuesday to take his physical, after which he will sign his second contract with Tribe.
Napoli, 36, had previously spent the 2016 season in Cleveland, where he became a fan favorite due in equal part to his big bat as his care-free personality. 'Party at Napoli's' shirts littered Progressive Field throughout the Indians' run to the 2016 World Series, with Napoli hitting .239 to go along with 34 home runs.
But after the Indians signed Edwin Encarnacion to the biggest free agent contract in franchise history after the 2016 campaign, Napoli became expendable. He went on to sign with the Texas Rangers, who bought his contract out for $2.5 million after he hit 29 home runs and a career-worst .193 average in 2017.
Should he make the Indians' Opening Day roster, Napoli could provide a boost at both first base and designated hitter for Cleveland following the offseason departure of Carlos Santana, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Currently, free agent signee Yonder Alonso is slated to be the Indians' everyday first baseman, with Encarnacion also possessing the potential to take reps in the field.
WKYC.com is reporting live from Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz. this week. We'll have more on Napoli's signing and the Cleveland clubhouse's reaction to it later in the day.