The Angels announced on Tuesday that they have designated first baseman/outfielder Efren Navarro for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Al Alburquerque, whose one-year deal has been formally announced.
Navarro, 29, has seen Major League action with the Angels in four of the past five seasons, totaling a .246/.303/.324 batting line in 280 plate appearances. Navarro has just one home run in that time, but he’s shown a bit more pop in the minors, where he is a .316/.378/.449 hitter with 32 home runs in 2344 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. While he hasn’t hit much in the Majors, Navarro has displayed solid walk and strikeout rates (7.5 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively). He’s also posted respectable marks in both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved at first base and in left field in his small samples of work at each position.
If Navarro isn’t traded to another club or claimed off waivers, he’ll still have the opportunity to elect free agency due to the fact that he was previously outrighted by the Halos back in 2011. At that point, the left-handed hitter could seek a landing spot that offers him a clearer path to Major League playing time. While some could argue that the Angels’ currently projected left field platoon of Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava presents an opportunity for Navarro to get a look with an impressive Spring Training showing, Navarro didn’t see much playing time last year even as Matt Joyce struggled, and the fact that he lost his roster spot today implies that the Halos are more comfortable with what Nava brings to the table as the left-handed component of said platoon. First base and DH also present some roadblocks in the form of Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron.