Dioner Navarro Rumors

Dioner Navarro Leaves Rays

Before the playoffs began, it seemed unlikely that the Rays would need Dioner Navarro in 2011. The catcher’s chances of returning now appear even slimmer, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Navarro, who wasn’t on the postseason roster for the Division Series, told the Rays he was going home, even though the organization asked him to stay with the team and work out in case of an injury.

Navarro earned $2.1MM this year in his second season as an arbitration eligible player. He spent about a third of the year in the minors, partly because he hit just .194/.270/.258 and partly because of John Jaso’s emergence.

Jaso and Kelly Shoppach (already under contract for 2011) give the Rays two catchers, so they don’t need Navarro. The 26-year-old is just two seasons removed from an All-Star game selection, but he has shown little pop since. 

The Dodgers, Marlins, Reds, Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox and Padres are among the teams that could be looking for catching depth this winter. At this point, Navarro is coming off of a second consecutive disappointing season and appears to be at odds with the Rays, so his trade value has dropped substantially. It appears likely that the Rays will instead non-tender Navarro this offseason.

Odds & Ends: Rincon, Calero, Rangers, Encarnacion

Here are some links to kick off the weekend…

  • Troy Renck of The Denver Post provides the details on Juan Rincon's contract with the Rockies. He'll earn $800K plus incentives in the big leagues, or $20K per month in the minors.
  • Satchel Price at Beyond The Box Score wonders why we haven't heard more about Kiko Calero this offseason. The Cubs and Giants were interested in the righthander at various times this offseason.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reiterates what we heard yesterday: the Rangers are seeking a veteran catcher. He mentions that they've shown interest in both Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro.
  • Edwin Encarnacion suffered burns to his face in a fireworks accident according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas. He will not require surgery, and will be ready to go in Spring Training.
  • Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports lists ten players we should keep an on eye to see how their market develops during the remainder of the offseason. His list is led by Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman.
  • MLB.com's Matthew Leach notes that if the Cardinals felt they weren't in a good position to re-sign Holliday, they would have moved on to other targets by now. 
  • Dick Kaegel of MLB.com says that "it would take a calamitous showing" for Royals' manager Trey Hillman to lose his job this season given his relationship with GM Dayton Moore.
  • Steve Slowinski at DRaysBay goes back in time to evaluate the Danys Baez and Lance Carter for Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany trade.

Players Tendered Contracts

Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.

Sheets Seeking Big Money?

THURSDAY, 2:56pm: ESPN's Bruce Levine wrote last night that the Cubs had a conversation with Close about Sheets.  I'm guessing the Rangers are out now that they've signed Rich Harden, though the Yankees and Mets might still be in the mix.

WEDNESDAY, 3:02pm: Ben Sheets' agent Casey Close met with the Rangers yesterday, and according to ESPN's Richard Durrett, the pitcher "is apparently looking for money similar to what he made his last season in the majors — 2008, which was $12 million."  Sheets figures to be popular on the free agent market, but we'll have to see what kind of guarantee he requires after missing all of 2009.

Durrett also notes that the Rangers have interest in catchers Jason Kendall and Dioner Navarro, but have cooled on Rod Barajas due to his asking price.

Rays Shopping Dioner Navarro

The Rays, who recently acquired Kelly Shoppach, are shopping catcher Dioner Navarro, according to Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports. Navarro is a non-tender candidate, especially since the Rays have Shoppach around. It makes sense for the Rays to explore trade options if they expect to non-tender him this weekend.

The Giants, Mariners, Rockies, Mets and Blue Jays are among the teams with interest in adding a catcher, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Rays work out a deal with one of those clubs.

Four Teams Interested In Pudge?

3:32pm: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times says not to expect any interest in Rodriguez from the Rays.

11:56am: Yesterday we heard that the Royals were interested in free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez, and today SI.com's Jon Heyman adds the Rangers, Giants, and Rays to the mix.

Texas could be looking to bring Pudge back for depth after Jarrod Saltalamacchia left winter ball with a shoulder injury, while the Giants and Royals are looking to replace the departed Bengie Molina and Miguel Olivo, respectively. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, currently has both Kelly Shoppach and Dioner Navarro under contract, however both are prime non-tender candidates if the Rays don't like price tags.

The 38-year-old catcher hit .249/.280/.384 last year, and is a Type-B free agent. If he signs elsewhere, the Rangers will receive a supplemental first round draft pick, somewhere around 50th overall.

Odds & Ends: Holliday, Phillies, Marquis, Navarro

Some Saturday morning links…

Rays Rumors: Crawford, Upton, Zaun

Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times has the latest on the Rays' offseason plans. The highlights:

  • The Rays are said to be interested in discussing a long-term extension with Carl Crawford. If the team does decide to move him, however, the Mets and Braves have expressed interest.
  • The Rangers and White Sox are among the teams interested in acquiring B.J. Upton.
  • Executive VP Andrew Friedman on his team's offseason targets: "We have a list of guys on other teams we have an interest in, and a list of free agents as well. And depending on how the market evolves on both fronts, it will go a long way toward shaping our thought process…. We feel like there are a lot of talented names out there."
  • Smith notes that the Rays have a history of signing relievers who are coming off injuries or down years. He mentions Kevin Gregg and J.J. Putz as a couple of possibilities in that realm.
  • The club could be open to bringing back Gregg Zaun and giving last season's catching platoon of Zaun and Dioner Navarro another try.

Rays Unlikely To Acquire Closer

The Rays don't find adding a closer realistic this offseason, executive VP Andrew Friedman told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  Friedman's said the Rays are more likely to add two or three late-inning relievers who can handle high-leverage situations.  The plan is sure to please the stat-head crowd. 

J.P. Howell saved 17 games in 25 opportunities for the Rays this year, but the majority of his blown saves occurred before the ninth inning.  I'm not sure which free agent relievers the Rays will target this offseason, but Kiko Calero seems like their type.  Between free agents and trade candidates, the market for closers is deep this winter, but the Rays are right not to pay a premium for the closer tag (they did so with Troy Percival back in December of '07). 

Additionally, manager Joe Maddon and Friedman said they expected catcher Dioner Navarro and DH Pat Burrell to rebound in 2010.  Navarro is on our list of non-tender candidates, so we'll see whether the Rays cut him loose in mid-December.

Odds & Ends: Chen, Mets, White Sox

An action-packed set of links for Wednesday…

  • Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report about MLB teams, the Cubs included, watching Chunichi Dragons pitcher Wei-Yin Chen's last start.  It's possible Chen will be a free agent after the season.  The Taiwanese southpaw has a 1.45 ERA this year and would be in high demand.
  • MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone does not believe the team will non-tender starter John Maine after the season.  Maine, coming back from a shoulder injury, may start Sunday.
  • SNY's Ted Berg says this is a terrible time to trade Jose Reyes.
  • R.J. Anderson of DRays Bay sees a trade more likely than a non-tender for catcher Dioner Navarro.
  • Over at FanGraphs, Anderson notes that Kiko Calero (10.8 K/9) is a "nice sleeper candidate" among free agent relievers.  Calero's strikeout rate ranks behind only Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez, Rich Harden, and Octavio Dotel among free agent pitchers with at least 40 innings.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com's Jason Beck the Magglio Ordonez vesting option situation "speaks for itself."  23 more plate appearances for Maggs, and the Tigers have him at $18MM for 2010.
  • Among the topics in Mark Gonzales' Chicago Tribune White Sox mailbag: the Brandon Allen-Tony Pena swap and the possibility of the Sox pursuing Chone FigginsIn another article, Gonzales notes that Ozzie Guillen wants Freddy Garcia ($1MM club option) as his fifth starter next year.
  • Jack Curry of the New York Times has the story on the Newark Bears, and independent league club that has chosen to stock its roster with recognizable former big leaguers trying to claw their way back to the Show.
  • An AL scout told Tom Krasovic "Oakland got smoked" in the Scott Hairston trade.  The Padres received pitchers Sean Gallagher, Ryan Webb, and Craig Italiano in the July 5th trade (Gallagher was named later).
  • WEEI's Alex Speier says the Red Sox announced the signing of Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias to a four-year Major League deal beginning next year (it's worth $8.25MM).