Dioner Navarro Rumors

Dioner Navarro Still Hopes To Be Traded

FEB. 24: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos met with the media today and said he’d only consider trading Navarro into an everyday role, via Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi (Twitter link). Anthopoulos said he would consider deals that help the team now or down the line, as long as there’s good value in the return.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark adds that Anthopoulos would also consider in-season trades if nothing materializes in Spring Training (Twitter link).

FEB. 23: Earlier this offseason, Dioner Navarro reportedly expressed interest in a trade after watching his team sign Russell Martin to a five-year deal. Several months later as Spring Training gets underway, Navarro tells reporters, including Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi (Twitter link) that he still would like be moved, but he’s ready to help the Blue Jays in 2015 if that doesn’t happen. Via MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm (All Twitter links), here’s what Navarro had to say on the matter:

“I asked for a trade right away, and up to today that’s still my goal. I would like to go a place where I can play everyday. I signed a two-year deal here to catch every day, and unfortunately they felt like they needed to make a move. I was kind of frustrated throughout the whole offseason, a little disappointed that nothing has happened yet.”

Navarro’s frustration is understandable, but his market has likely been dampened by the fact that teams with a seeming need behind the plate have done little to address that weakness. The D-Backs appear content to use Gerald Laird and Tuffy Gosewisch at catcher until prospect Peter O’Brien is ready. The White Sox have added Geovany Soto on a minor league deal, and the Rangers traded for backup Carlos Corporan rather than pursuing an upgrade with more upside at the plate. The Pirates appear set with a defensive-minded tandem of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart. Perhaps the Rays could be considered a team with a need behind the plate, but they’re also prioritizing defense, deploying Rene Rivera as their primary receiver. The Tigers, who are concerned about Alex Avila’s ongoing concussion issues, have had internal discussions about Navarro.

MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently examined Navarro as a trade candidate, noting that while the 31-year-old is coming off a solid season with the bat (.274/.314/.395) and has a salary that isn’t exactly prohibitive ($5MM), Navarro ranked near the bottom of the league in both throwing out base-runners and pitch framing.

While there may not be an obvious fit for Navarro at the moment — at least not one that appears to be interested in upgrading at catcher — he could become a target for a team that incurs an injury to a starting catcher in Spring Training. Even then, however, there are multiple options on the market, as both Welington Castillo and Wilin Rosario could likely be had in trades as well (though the latter’s defense is particularly poorly regarded).


Quick Hits: Bochy, Navarro, Moncada, Profar

Giants manager Bruce Bochy underwent a medical procedure to insert two stents into his heart and is now resting comfortably in a Scottsdale hospital, according to a team press release.  “Following his physical yesterday, the Giants medical staff was monitoring Bruce Bochy’s heart after he experienced some discomfort,” according to the statement.  The skipper is scheduled to be released on Friday and he’s already sent texts to CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (both Twitter links) saying that he’ll be back in camp in a couple of days.  We at all MLBTR wish Bochy all the best in his recovery.

Here’s some news from around baseball…

  • The Blue Jays aren’t actively discussing a Dioner Navarro trade with any other teams, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports (via Twitter).  Earlier this week, I examined Navarro as a trade candidate since Russell Martin has taken over the starting catcher’s job in Toronto.
  • A rival executive believes the Yankees are the top contender to sign Yoan Moncada, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports in a roundup of the Moncada market.  The Yankees aren’t keen, however, on paying a bonus in the $40-$50MM range, which is what some sources say Moncada will probably receive.
  • With Jurickson Profar likely to miss another full season due to shoulder injuries, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wonders if this could spell the end of Profar’s time with the Rangers.  It’s hard to believe Texas would consider non-tendering a former top-ranked prospect Profar when he’s eligible for arbitration next winter, yet Grant is right in noting that the Rangers might just move on with Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor in the middle infield.
  • Left-hander Joe Beimel is reportedly hoping to land a multi-year contract, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets.  Beimel reportedly had three teams interested in him in late January, though one of those clubs (the Mariners) looks to be out of the running.  Though Beimel had a solid season with the M’s in 2014, it’s hard to see him landing more than a one-year deal at this stage of the offseason given his age (he turns 38 in April) and injury history (missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery).
  • Also from Dutton, the arbitration hearing between the Mariners and Tom Wilhelmsen will take place on Friday.  The reliever is one of just three remaining players with outstanding arb cases, as per the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker.  Wilhelmsen is looking for $2.2MM for his 2015 contract while Seattle has countered with a $1.4MM offer.

Trade Candidate: Dioner Navarro

Catcher didn’t seem to be an obvious area of upgrade for the Blue Jays heading into the offseason, yet the team made a big splash by signing Russell Martin to a five-year, $82MM free agent deal.  This immediately turned incumbent Jays catcher Dioner Navarro into a possible trade candidate, and indeed, at least three teams asked about Navarro in the wake of Martin’s signing.  Navarro himself even inquired about being dealt somewhere where he could receive everyday playing time.

This trade speculation was certainly not what Navarro was expecting coming off his solid 2014 campaign.  After signing a two-year, $8MM deal with the Jays in December 2013, the switch-hitting Navarro hit .274/.317/.395 with 12 homers last season, reaching new career highs in plate appearances (520) and games played (139).  Defense, however, was another story, as Navarro ranked near the bottom of the league in terms of pitch-framing and throwing out baserunners.MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

As he’s scheduled for free agency next winter, Navarro obviously wants a better platform than a backup catcher/part-time DH role to boost his value as he looks ahead to his next trip into the open market.  Keeping Navarro as a backup makes a lot of sense for Toronto despite the presence of another catcher (Josh Thole) on the roster.  If Martin can handle R. A. Dickey‘s knuckleball, then Thole’s role as Dickey’s personal catcher becomes redundant, and Navarro offers far more hitting value than Thole.

On the other hand, the Jays are looking to add relievers despite limited payroll space; moving Navarro and his $5MM 2015 salary seems like a logical way to free up some money for further transactions.  The Jays are reportedly asking for pitching in return in any Navarro trade, so they’re clearly exploring this strategy already.

The Diamondbacks and Tigers are two teams who have been linked to Navarro on the rumor mill this winter, though Detroit’s interest has been limited to internal discussions at this point.  Gerald Laird and Tuffy Gosewisch project as Arizona’s starting catching combo in the wake of Miguel Montero‘s departure, and while the team may think prospect Peter O’Brien is their future at the position, one year of Navarro would both give the D’Backs an upgrade now and still clear the path for O’Brien beyond 2015. The Tigers, meanwhile, look to have Alex Avila and one of Bryan Holaday or James McCann splitting time at catcher.  Avila is a question mark due to his concussion history while Navarro would certainly provide a more proven bat than Holaday or McCann.

Catching depth is thin enough around baseball that a number of teams could also be fits for Navarro’s services.  In my opinion, the White Sox and Pirates stand out as teams whose hopes of contending would be improved behind the plate by Navarro’s presence, though both clubs already have several catchers battling for those jobs.  (In Pittsburgh’s case, admittedly, their focus on catcher defense might keep Navarro off their radar.)  The Rangers could see Navarro as a more proven option than their current selection of Robinson Chirinos, Carlos Corporan, Tomas Telis and Chris Gimenez.  The Rays could platoon Navarro with the defensive specialist Rene Rivera, though the prospect of an inter-division trade and Tampa taking on a $5MM salary for a part-time player made this seem somewhat unlikely.

Photo courtesy of Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images



Tigers Have Discussed Dioner Navarro Internally

4:25pm: Whatever Detroit has done internally, it has not yet chatted with Toronto about a deal involving Navarro, Sportsnet broadcaster Mike Wilner tweets.

3:04pm: Following the news that Victor Martinez has a torn medial meniscus and will undergo surgery tomorrow that makes him highly unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair reports that the Tigers have had internal discussions about pursuing a trade for Dioner Navarro. According to Blair, Toronto won’t move Navarro without receiving pitching in return.

The fit is at least somewhat curious, as Martinez wasn’t expected to catch much anyhow — perhaps only in interleague series that take place in NL parks, manager Brad Ausmus told the Detroit Free Press in late January. Beyond that, Detroit and Toronto share perhaps the same Achilles Heel in the form of relief pitching. The Blue Jays have been eyeing bullpen help for the better part of a month, and the Tigers’ shaky bullpen was their downfall in last year’s ALDS. It seems unlikely that Detroit would willingly deplete its bullpen depth in order to facilitate a trade. Then again, the Blue Jays could theoretically move Navarro for minor league pitching and use the $5MM savings to increase their pursuit of a free agent such as Francisco Rodriguez or a trade target like Jonathan Papelbon, though that’s one hundred percent speculative.

Navarro, who turns 31 today, enjoyed a solid season at the plate in his first year with the Blue Jays, hitting .274/.317/.395 with 12 homers. He’s been an oft-mentioned trade candidate this winter following Toronto’s signing of Russell Martin to a five-year deal, but recent indications have been that he will open the season with Toronto. Navarro will earn $5MM in the second season of a two-year, $8MM contract in 2015.


Latest On Blue Jays’ Search For Relief Pitching

The Blue Jays are “in contact” with the representatives of multiple top free agent relievers, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. Among them are righties Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, and Burke Badenhop.

With former Jays closer Casey Janssen now headed to the Nationals, Toronto officially must look elsewhere to build out its pen. The three names listed above are arguably the top three arms remaining, though several other options remain as well.

GM Alex Anthopoulos said earlier today that he is looking for many different ways to add talent to the relief corps, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. As things stand, Brett Cecil and Aaron Sanchez are perhaps the top two candidates to hold down the ninth inning, and Toronto is not sending signals that it feels an established closer is a necessity.

Payroll may be the driving factor at this point, writes Nicholson-Smith. With perhaps $5MM to $6MM in 2015 spending capacity remaining, that makes trade candidate Jonathan Papelbon a questionable fit. “When you see us linked to a player for days and days and back and forth, I’d say 9.9 times out of 10 there probably isn’t anything to it,” Anthopoulos said. “I can say we’re not going to be in the market for relievers making $10-plus million or more.”

Otherwise, Anthopoulos indicated that the team was in an opportunistic mode after getting a lot of work done earlier in the winter. “Most times the later you get in to the winter there’s potential for the prices to change on some of these guys,” he noted. One internal wild card, catcher Dioner Navarro, remains available in trade but seems destined to remain with the Jays unless a suitable offer comes in.


West Notes: Dunn, A’s, D-Backs, Zobrist, Chavez, Alonso

Adam Dunn‘s agent, Brian Peters, tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link) that Dunn is indeed retiring, as was widely expected. Dunn himself said that he would retire following the season back in August, though he created a bit of doubt when he backed off slightly and said, “That’s it, probably,” following the Athletics’ loss to the Royals in the AL Wild Card game. Dunn’s career was unique, to say the least, as he epitomized the “three true outcomes” player, homering 462 times while striking out in 28.6 percent of his plate appearances and walking in  15.8 percent of them. Just under half (49.9 percent) of Dunn’s career plate appearances ended in a long ball, a walk or a whiff, and he will enter the record books with a .237/.364/.490 batting line. Dunn hit 40-plus homers in six separate seasons, including five consecutive years — four of which finished with 40 on the dot (2005-08). The “Big Donkey” will be fondly remembered by many for his light-tower power — a skill that earned him more than $112MM throughout his career, per Baseball-Reference.com. MLBTR wishes Dunn and his family happiness and the best of luck in his post-playing days.

Here are a few notes on some of the game’s Western division clubs, including the final team for which Dunn played…

  • Athletics right-handers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are doubtful for Opening Day, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. That’s not a huge shock, given that both underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, though Parker, whose surgery was on March 25, would have seemed to at least have a chance at being ready. Oakland still has plenty of pitching depth, however, with Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Hahn, Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz, Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman all in the fold. Once Griffin and Parker are healthy, Oakland will have a plethora of MLB-ready rotation options, and only Kazmir is set to depart following the 2015 campaign.
  • Morosi also tweets that the Diamondbacks have received calls from the Orioles regarding their outfield depth. Baltimore is known to be looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder, and both David Peralta and Ender Inciarte would fit that description, Morosi notes. Peralta’s name has surfaced in trade talks already this offseason, as the Reds were said to be interested in him prior to acquiring Marlon Byrd. Moving Peralta would allow Arizona to shift Yasmany Tomas to the outfield rather than trying him at third base, as is the current plan, although first-year GM Dave Stewart specifically mentioned Peralta when discussing the club’s strengths shortly after his hiring.
  • Also from Morosi, the D-Backs have called the Blue Jays about Dioner Navarro, but talks haven’t advanced much to this point. Morosi noted last night that Arizona is working hard to acquire a catcher, as Tuffy Gosewich is the lone player on their 40-man roster with big league experience. Navarro is known to be available after the Jays inked Russell Martin to a huge five-year deal earlier this offseason.
  • The Giants tried to work out a deal to acquire Ben Zobrist from the Rays before he was dealt to Oakland, but San Francisco deemed Tampa’s asking price to be too high, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The Mariners are one option for veteran outfielder Endy Chavez, tweets Heyman. Soon to be 37, Chavez remains on the free agent market on the heels of a season in which he batted .276/.317/.371 (99 OPS+, 97 wRC+). While Chavez has never brought much to the table in terms of offense, he’s graded out well from a defensive standpoint throughout his career (though defensive metrics have soured on him over the past two seasons).
  • Yonder Alonso tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he is 100 percent healthy after undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right wrist. Alonso says that he hasn’t been pain-free in his hands since he broke a metacarpal bone in his right hand when he was hit by a pitch on May 31, 2013. Padres GM A.J. Preller has indicated that first base is likely to be handled by some combination of Alonso, Tommy Medica and Will Middlebrooks, and Lin notes that perhaps a lower-pressure environment with more offensive threats throughout the lineup will help Alonso. Still, he notes, Alonso’s tenure with the Padres has been a disappointment to many. “I really thought he’d unleash some power,” a scout from another club tells Lin. “It’s been disappointing.”

NL West Notes: Shields, Stewart, Dickerson

It’s been a wild day of major moves in the NL West, and here are a few more news items from around the division…

  • The Giants don’t intend to pursue Max Scherzer, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link).
  • The Giants “will go hard on” signing James Shields, Peter Gammons tweets.
  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters (including Zach Buchanan of azcentral.com)  that Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro or Tigers catcher Alex Avila could be fits for his team in their search for help behind the plate, while the Snakes have no interest in Geovany Soto.  Stewart said his team doesn’t intend to trade relief pitching to obtain a catcher, however.
  • Also from Stewart, he said the D’Backs aren’t looking into extending any players at the present time, though he named Mark Trumbo, Addison Reed, Oliver Perez, Chris Owings, Chase Anderson and A.J. Pollock as possible extension candidates.
  • The Rockies are receiving “massive interest” in Corey Dickerson, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  Despite all this interest, Colorado would have to get an overwhelming offer to deal the outfielder.
  • Also from Rosenthal, it’s been nothing but “crickets” for the Rockies on interest in Troy Tulowitzki.

Blue Jays Notes: Anthopoulos, Navarro, Gibbons

Earlier today, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos addressed reporters in San Diego.  Here’s a look at some of the highlights from that plus more..

  • When asked about how much trade interest there has been in catcher Dioner Navarro, AA said: “I’ve had clubs ask, that’s probably as far as I would go with it,” according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com (via Twitter).  The GM went on to say (link) that the Blue Jays are a “better team with Dioner Navarro…There’s no doubt about it.”  While AA wouldn’t rule out trading the catcher over the weekend, he says that he won’t be going anywhere unless he gets a fair return (link).
  • Anthopoulos says the Blue Jays still do not currently have any offers out to free agents, Chisholm tweets.
  • There was, however, one free agent the Blue Jays wanted, but he signed elsewhere.  “There was someone that signed that we really liked that we wanted to get,” the GM said, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter).  However, the Jays never got to the point where they would make an offer, AA said, because that player really wanted to play in a certain place, Chisholm tweets.
  • Money may be tight for the Blue Jays, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. After adding Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, payroll projects to about $103MM with another $14MM via arbitration. The team spent $137MM so if money’s tight, it might mean the club’s budget has decreased.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan also crossed the Blue Jays radar in their search for a new team president. Scott Miller of Bleacher Report tweets that Ryan is “staying put” in Minnesota.
  • Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons told reporters, including BN-S (via Twitter), that he wants to see a couple of relievers added to the team.  He added that he likes the team’s current lineup and he isn’t sure if there’s a real second base upgrade out there.

Brad Johnson contributed to this post.


Anthopoulos On Rotation, Relief Market, Robertson

Here’s the latest from Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays, courtesy of a series of tweets from Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, plus a full piece from Davidi…

  • Rumors that the Jays could be shopping Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey are untrue, as Anthopoulos said the club is counting on the two veterans to provide innings.  “I’ve read at various times that they’re available in trades or being shopped – completely false. They’ve never come up at any point in time, their names have never come up once, and we need them to be on this team,” the GM said.
  • The Jays could still be looking to add more outfield depth, particularly one who could provide a stolen base threat.  “In a perfect world we’d like to add some speed, obviously a guy that can play centre field but we don’t need that…Ever since we lost [Anthony] Gose, that speed element, we’ve been trying to find that guy,” Anthopoulos said.  Davidi opines that Eric Young could be a possible fit for this role.
  • Several teams have shown interest in Dioner Navarro, who wants a starting catching job that obviously is no longer available in Toronto thanks to Russell Martin‘s presence.  “If we can find the right deal for Navarro we’ll do that, we find him an everyday job, we’ll do that, but there are scenarios he can still get playing time,” Anthopoulos said, noting that Navarro could see some time at DH with the Jays.
  • Anthopoulos would “ideally…like to add more than one” reliever to the bullpen, with two new relief arms seemingly the aim.  They figure to target relief help, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll find it immediately. Anthopoulos says it’s “telling” that the Blue Jays don’t have any offers out to relievers right now.
  • Anthopoulos says that the Jays, who have already added Martin, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders this offseason, feel good about their position players.
  • The Jays do notloveDavid Robertson or any other player, Anthopoulos says, denying a recent report.  Anthopoulos’ comments sound mostly theoretical, however, and perhaps shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the Jays aren’t interested in Robertson.
  • Anthopoulos would not comment on reports about the future of president and CEO Paul Beeston, but said the situation would not impact the Jays’ ability to sign free agents.

Dioner Navarro Seeks Trade; Three Teams Interested

1:31pm: GM Alex Anthopoulos says that, while a deal is not a fait accompli, he “wouldn’t be surprised if [a trade] were to occur,” as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter.

11:05am: Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro expressed interest in being dealt after the club inked free agent Russell Martin, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While the club informed him that it believes he’ll receive plenty of time in a reserve and DH capacity, Heyman writes that Navarro prefers an everyday catching role.

Three teams have shown interest already in the 30-year-old Navarro, who has been a solid producer over each of the last two years. His relatively meager $5MM salary in 2015 would make him interesting to plenty of clubs, and the catching market is lacking in supply.

Navarro’s concerns are not unfounded, it should be noted. It took some time for him to work his way back into a starter’s role, which he last held in 2009 with the Rays, and he no doubt hopes to set himself up for another run at free agency after this year.