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Dioner Navarro Rumors
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Curtis Granderson is "a serious part" of the Yankees' offseason plans, GM Brian Cashman told George A. King III of the New York Post. Cashman told King that the Yankees remain interested and don't consider Granderson to be a fallback option by any means. Signing Granderson would likely mean the team would look to move Ichiro Suzuki, King adds. Here's more on the American League East.
- The Red Sox and David Ortiz made an agreement at the time of his last signing that the two sides wouldn't negotiate an extension until the completion of his current deal, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets that the Red Sox consider Dioner Navarro to be a fallback option if the free agent market doesn't break their way, but not a primary target.
- The Yankees are a good fit for Omar Infante, opines MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (Twitter link). Tim wonders if the Yankees, who reportedly don't want to wait for Robinson Cano before pursuing other free agents, should just strike quickly and snatch Infante up.
- Matt Wieters and Chris Davis of the Orioles are both Scott Boras clients, and they're both two years away from free agency. That means the Orioles need to determine what they plan to do with each player, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski writes. What to do with Davis might be particularly tricky, since his 2013 season was so dramatically different from his past performances.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Here are a few items about the World Series champs…
- Dioner Navarro is thought to have "drawn initial interest from the Red Sox," Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports. The switch-hitting catcher hit a career-best .300/.365/.492 in 266 PA with the Cubs last season, doing most of his damage against left-handed pitching. Navarro is just one of several catching options the Sox are considering, from Brian McCann or A.J. Pierzynski to re-signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
- There doesn't seem to be much, if any, chance of a Kevin Youkilis return to Boston, MLB.com's Ian Browne writes as part of a reader mailbag. Browne also addresses such topics as the length of a possible Mike Napoli contract and the Sox acquiring a veteran backup for the left side of the infield.
- The Red Sox figure to have around $20-$25MM in spending room this offseason, CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam calculates, though the club could free up more space by trading a veteran starter like Jake Peavy, John Lackey or Ryan Dempster. As I wrote in my Offseason Outlook piece about the Red Sox, the team has lots of payroll flexibility both this winter and for future years.
5:55pm: Unable to work out a trade for a catcher, the Cardinals have made an offer to free agent Kelly Shoppach, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Shoppach opted out of his minor league deal with the Nationals earlier today.
2:52pm: The two sides have been unable to agree on a price, and the Cardinals' pursuit has slowed, tweets Rosenthal.
1:59pm: The Cardinals are in discussions with the Cubs to acquire Navarro, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
12:08pm: The Cardinals are looking for catching with starter Yadier Molina likely to hit the DL with a knee injury, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, contrary to previous info he received. The Cardinals are concerned that Molina could miss a significant stretch of time to heal up, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Cardinals are gauging their options and how they can proceed once they know how long Molina will be sidelined for, Goold writes. The Cardinals have spent the past few weeks exploring deals for starting pitchers, relievers, and shortstops, but they have yet to explore deals for catchers. The catching market could include the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz and the Cubs' Dioner Navarro and Goold points that Miguel Olivo is a free agent after walking away from the Marlins.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Trade rumors continue to swirl around the Cubs' Matt Garza, but his teammates would like to see the Cubs extend him, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. "It’s hard to find pitchers like that because he’s always there for us," left fielder Alfonso Soriano said. However, an AL GM told CSN Chicago's David Kaplan recently that there's probably not much to recent rumors that the Cubs are exploring an extension for Garza. "I'd be stunned if he is a Cub August 1," the executive told Kaplan. Some more North Siders notes..
- Soriano is the subject of a lot of trade talk himself, but he's not thinking about the rumors, according to Sullivan. "If they want me to stay here, I stay here. But if they don’t want me to, the door is open. I’ve had a good time. I just play one day at a time and enjoy my time," the former All-Star said.
- Soriano's recent surge, in which he's hit .381 with six homers and four doubles in 10 games, has drawn new attention from contending teams that are looking for offense, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Soriano, who has a full no-trade clause, turned down a potential trade to the Giants last year, but he indicated during the Cubs' recent road trip that he may be more open to more teams this summer. "For sure, if somebody asks for me, they have to be a contender for the playoffs," Soriano said. "A good city, I guess … But I don’t want to think about it. Just see what happens."
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum's decision to use James Russell for the third consecutive day in Monday's blowout win over the White Sox may have been to showcase the lefty to "the many" scouts in attendance, Sullivan also reports. Sullivan notes that the Red Sox are seeking to fill the void left by recently injured left-hander Andrew Miller. Though the Cubs aren't attempting to trade Russell, they aren't deeming any player untouchable in their summer sale, Sullivan says, citing an anonymous source.
- The Cubs could also move catcher Dioner Navarro, who's performed well above expectations since signing a one-year deal in the offseason, writes Sullivan. Navarro's already clubbed eight homers this year after never hitting more than nine in any previous season. Together, Garza and Navarro could be "a perfect package deal," Sullivan imagines. Navarro, who serves as a mentor to catcher Welington Castillo and has just 128 plate appearances, concedes that he'd like to return to a full-time role.
The Cubs announced that they have signed catcher Dioner Navarro to a one-year contract. Navarro will earn a base salary of $1.75MM, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). The deal includes $250K in performance bonuses, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports (on Twitter).
Navarro, 28, hit .290/.306/.449 with two homers in 73 plate appearances for the Reds this year. He also hit .319/.382/.449 in 240 Triple-A plate appearances before being recalled. Cincinnati had some interest in re-signing Navarro, who did not crack Tim Dierkes' Top 50 Free Agents List. Navarro's agency, MDR Sports Management, first announced the agreement (on Twitter).