Quick Hits: Jewett, Ohka, Cubs

Dioner Navarro and Geovany Soto represent the best values available at catcher at the start of the free agent season, ESPN's Keith Law writes (Insider-only). Soto, of course, already re-signed with the Rangers for one year and $3.05MM. Navarro, Law writes, should get paid "backup money," but he might put up a starter-caliber performance. His .300/.365/.492 line in part-time duty with the Cubs in 2013 almost surely isn't sustainable, but his skill set could make him a valuable player anyway. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • The Nationals will allow the Mariners to interview Trent Jewett to be their third-base coach, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. Sherman, meanwhile, tweets that Jewett is "almost certain" to leave. Jewett was the Pirates' third-base coach for part of the time that new Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon managed in Pittsburgh. Jewett joined the Nationals' organization in 2009.
  • Former big-league pitcher Tomo Ohka is trying to make it back to the Majors as a knuckleballer, NikkanSports.com reports. Ohka began to rely on the pitch after having shoulder surgery in 2011. In 2013, he posted a 3.73 ERA in 21 games with the Toyama Thunderbirds in Japan's Baseball Challenge league. Ohka came to the U.S. in October to train in Arizona. "I threw a lot every day. I was able to confirm that I had been training properly on my own," Ohka says. "I want to give it another shot if given the chance, even if I have to start in the minors." Ohka last appeared in the Majors with the Indians in 2009.
  • Now that they've hired Rick Renteria to be their new manager, the Cubs might be done making big moves this offseason, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "We’re realistic about where we are and the need to get better," says team president Theo Epstein. "But we’re also realistic about where we are and about where the market is likely to go." That means the Cubs won't trade for David Price, or sign Brian McCann. The Cubs are keeping all their options open, but Epstein notes that they're unlikely to spend as wildly as some other teams: "[W]e’re playing against the big boys, too. And there’s a lot of money out there."

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.



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