Dioner Navarro Rumors

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.


Reactions To And Fallout From Russell Martin Signing

With the Blue Jays set to introduce new catcher Russell Martin and his five-year, $82MM deal tomorrow, let’s take a look at some of the reactions and reporting from around the game:

  • Regarding other teams that were in the mix for Martin, the Cubs were “close” runners-up, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Chicago was pushing past the four-year, $65MM mark and was willing to go to five years under some scenarios, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago tweets. The Pirates, meanwhile, were willing to go to four years, as Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, and were involved deep into the process. And we noted earlier today that the Mariners also made a run, per MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince.
  • The Blue Jays have drawn interest in backstop Dioner Navarro, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. But the club does not feel obligated to move him, as he can still function as a backup and part-time DH. Navarro is owed $5MM this season in the second and final year of his contract.
  • ESPN.com’s Keith Law is among the fans of the deal, via Insider link, writing that Martin is probably good enough by traditional measures to justify the deal, but also shines in areas like pitch framing, staff handling, and leadership. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca likewise highlighted Martin’s multi-faceted value. Navarro is likely more useful to Toronto as a trade piece than a part-timer, Law suggests.
  • Adding Martin likely takes the Jays out of the running for Melky Cabrera, tweets ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. It does bear noting that Martin’s backloaded deal structure still seems to leave the team space to add payroll this year, and Toronto still has plenty of open spending capacity after 2015.

Anthopoulos On Blue Jays: Starters, Navarro, Second Base

The Blue Jays look increasingly likely to end the offseason without making much noise, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto seemed primed to make some decisive changes, but has given out just one guaranteed MLB deal through free agency. Here are some notes on the club, featuring plenty of comments directly from GM Alex Anthopoulos:

  • As recent reports have indicated, Toronto is increasingly unlikely to add a new arm. "As we sit here today with what the current cost would be," Anthopoulos said today, "we feel better with what we have here internally." 
  • Anthopoulos had indicated that Toronto could be in the market for one or even two starters after a disappointing 2013. But, he said, the club gained confidence in the current slate of rotation options as time went on, reports MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm"As the offseason has progressed, we've felt better about the internal options, especially the young guys," explained Anthopoulos.
  • Though he has consistently stated that overpaying for a pitcher is not preferable, Anthopoulos acknowledges he did just that in addressing the team's catching situation, reports John Lott of the National Post. The Jays inked Dioner Navarro to a two-year, $8MM deal to become the club's new backstop. "I would have preferred to do one year and lower dollars," Anthopolous said, explaining that the club felt change was necessary at that position. But the GM feels that the pitching scenario is different: "We wanted to add to the rotation depth, but again, with where some of the prices were, whether it was years or dollars, or some of the acquisition costs in some of the trades, I wouldn't have felt good doing a scrum, sitting here saying, 'well, we did it, we don't believe in the acquisition costs, we just did it because we felt we had to do it, but we don't feel good about it.' You need to feel good about those moves if you make them."
  • Likewise, Anthopoulos said that the Jays are probably not going to make any moves at second, the other major area of apparent need, Chisholm reports on Twitter"I would think it's unlikely that we add someone there," said the GM, "but I would say that we'll still continue to have some dialogue trade-wise."

Blue Jays Sign Dioner Navarro

7:21pm: The Blue Jays have officially announced the signing via press release.

1:14pm: Navarro's contract will pay him $3MM in 2014 and $5MM in 2015, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

9:02am: Navarro's contract is pending a physical and will guarantee him $8MM over two years, according to Rosenthal (on Twitter).

8:32am: The Blue Jays have reached an agreement with catcher Dioner Navarro on a two-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Navarro is a client of Melvin Roman's MDR Sports Management.

Navarro-Dioner

After hitting .207/.267/.311 from 2009-11, Navarro put himself back on the map with a respectable showing with the Reds in 2012, but his .755 OPS that season came in a sample of just 74 plate appearances. It wasn't until this past season with the Cubs that Navarro proved he can still hit at the Major League level in a big way. In 266 plate appearances with the Cubs, Navarro slashed .300/.365/.492 with 13 home runs.

Catcher was a clear area of need for the Blue Jays this offseason after J.P. Arencibia, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas and Henry Blanco combined to bat .190/.235/.335 in 2013. No team received a lower batting average or on-base percentage from its group of catchers than Toronto in 2013.

Navarro will turn 30 in February, and his signing could cost Arencibia his job, as Rosenthal notes in a second tweet. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos recently said in a radio interview that Arencibia would not be with the club as a backup in 2014 (as chronicled by Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith). Navarro's two-year deal seems to indicate that he's in line for significant playing time, and the club would also like to use Thole to catch R.A. Dickey, says Rosenthal. As such, Arencibia, who projects to earn $2.1MM via arbitration this winter, could find himself on the move today, as tonight is the deadline to tender him a contract for the 2014 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Twins Among Teams Pursuing Dioner Navarro

The Twins are one of "about five teams" pursuing free agent catcher Dioner Navarro, a GM monitoring Navarro's market told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Yesterday, Peter Gammons reported that Navarro is "moving to resolution" with a team, but the Red Sox, who once showed preliminary interest, aren't in the mix at this point.

Navarro will turn 30 in February and batted .300/.365/.492 with 13 home runs in 89 games (266 plate appearances) in 2013 — the finest season of his big league career. As Berardino notes, Navarro could serve as a mentor for fellow Venezuelan backstop Josmil Pinto in Minnesota, who appears to be the team's catcher of the future. The Marlins have also expressed interest in Navarro.


Dioner Navarro Moving Toward Deal

Catcher Dioner Navarro is "moving to resolution" with a team, according to Peter Gammons of the MLB Network (on Twitter). Gammons doesn't have the name of the front-runner yet, but he adds that the Red Sox are not in pursuit.

Navarro, who turns 30 in February, enjoyed a strong rebound campaign with the Cubs in 2013, batting .300/.365/.492 with 13 home runs in 89 games (266 plate appearances). The Marlins are the main team to have expressed interest in Navarro so far, though the Red Sox did apparently express some interest as a fallback option should their top targets fall through.

The Blue Jays have been said to be in the market for a catcher, as have the Twins, in light of the news that Joe Mauer's days behind the plate are done and he will be a first baseman going forward. The Rays don't figure to be in the mix after reaching an agreement with Jose Molina over the weekend.


Marlins Interested In Phil Hughes, Dioner Navarro

The Marlins have called on free agent pitcher Phil Hughes and expressed interest in free agent catcher Dioner Navarro, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

It's not surprising that Miami called on Hughes, Jackson writes, because pursuing a player who had one bad year after a good one fits the club's profile.  Demand for Hughes is a fraction of what it could have been before his slide in the latter part of last season and if he can replicate his 2012, he'd likely prove to be a bargain.  The 27-year-old posted a 4.23 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in '12 but followed it up with a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in '13.  Some peripheral stats, including xFIP (4.39) would indicate that Hughes was partially the victim of bad luck.  The Royals, Mets, and Twins are also among the clubs that have expressed interest.

Navarro, 29, hit .300/.365/.492 with a career-high 13 homers in 89 games for the Cubs last season.  The Marlins would like to add an offensively-gifted catcher to complement defensively-skilled backup Jeff Mathis and the switch-hitting backstop offers just that.  The market for Navarro hasn't quite unfolded yet but with top catcher Brian McCann off the board, the dominos could start falling soon.  The Red Sox are said to have some interest in Navarro if Jarrod Saltalamacchia, now the No. 1 available backstop, goes elsewhere.