January 25th, 2011: Blue Jays trade Mike Napoli for Frank Francisco
The Mike Napoli trade may not be the absolute worst trade the Toronto Blue Jays have ever made but boy was it a stinker.
Let’s take a trip back to 2011 where the Blue Jays offloaded Vernon Wells to the Anaheim Angels for Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera. The Blue Jays decided to keep Rivera on board but then almost immediately sent Napoli to the Texas Rangers for Frank Francisco.
This came across as a curious move to most Blue Jays fans, I mean sure Napoli at the time may not have been viewed as a starter, but he could have added some much-needed depth behind J.P. Arencibia as well as first basemen Adam Lind. There was even an option to put Napoli in the DH role, seeing that it was pretty open with Lind moving to first.
Needless to say, this wasn’t the smartest move during the Alex Anthopoulos era. Francisco only lasted a season in Toronto, because the Blue Jays were only able to sign him to a one-year contract. He pitched an astounding 3.76 ERA in 54 appearances for the Jays, as well as managing to save 17 games.
Napoli, on the other hand, became a franchise catcher for the Rangers. Having a career slash line of .246/.346/.475 well surpassing either Arencibia or Lind. Furthermore, Napoli’s best season came in the year that Toronto received him and then gave him away. He hit .320/.414/631 with 30 home runs and 75 RBI’s and earning a WAR of 5.5.
In the later seasons, Napoli was instrumental in Texas’ 2011 World Series attempt as well as the Boston Red Sox World Series victory in 2013.
And Francisco? He re-signed with Toronto in 2014 under a minor-league deal but was eventually released.
Jays Journal Contributor: Josh Giles