Tag: Dioner Navarro

Dioner Navarro to White Sox: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

The Chicago White Sox continued to make moves to improve their production behind the plate Thursday by signing veteran catcher Dioner Navarro to a one-year deal in free agency. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and ESPN.com news services, the signing will become official provided Navarro passes a physical.

The move caps a busy week for the White Sox in terms of catcher transactions. Per MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, Chicago recently signed former Detroit Tigers backstop Alex Avila. The Sox followed that up with the decision to not offer incumbent starter Tyler Flowers a tender, according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Flowers hit just .239 last season, and it is clear that the White Sox have made a concerted effort to improve in that regard.

That is why Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports believes the 31-year-old Navarro is a logical fit in the Windy City:

The switch-hitting Navarro served as a backup catcher to Russell Martin with the Toronto Blue Jays last season, although he also saw time as a designated hitter. While he hit just .246 with five home runs and 20 RBI, he enjoyed the best offensive season of his career in 2014 with the Jays.

Navarro hit .274 with 12 homers and a personal-best 69 RBI that year, and the White Sox are hoping they get something close to those numbers on a prorated basis in a timeshare with Avila.

As pointed out by ESPN’s Buster Olney, Navarro is a strong complement to Avila due to his proficiency against left-handed pitching in particular:

While Navarro isn’t viewed as an elite defensive catcher, the former All-Star did throw out 39 percent of attempted base stealers last season, so he can hold his own.

Navarro’s true value comes at the dish, though, and if he can regain the magic he had in 2014, then he has an opportunity to be an important part of a lineup in desperate need of some support for slugging first baseman Jose Abreu.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Blue Jays vs. Rangers ALDS Game 3: Live Score and Instant Reaction

FINAL SCORE: Blue Jays 5 – 1 Rangers

Troy Tulowitzki belted a three-run homer in the top of the sixth to help lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday night.

With the win, the Blue Jays forced a Game 4 on Monday and put the pressure on the Rangers to try and end the series before having to go back to Toronto.

Before the sixth inning, Texas managed to turn four double plays to end some Toronto rallies and lessen the damage. The Blue Jays got on the board in the top of the third when Dioner Navarro came around to score after starting the inning off with a double.

Toronto added another run in the top of the fourth when Martin Perez walked three-straight batters to force in a run with the bases loaded against Tulowitzki, who finished the game with four RBI after not having a postseason hit.

Texas scored in the seventh with its first run when Rougned Odor grounded out and scored Elvis Andrus from third.

Game 4 will be played Monday night when the Blue Jays try to keep momentum and the Rangers try to wake up their bats.

40-year-old R.A. Dickey (11-11, 3.91 ERA) is slated to start the game for the Blue Jays. The knuckleballer will be taking the mound in his first career postseason start.

Derek Holland (4-3, 4.91 ERA) will toe the rubber for Texas. The lefty could have potentially started in Game 3, but a history of giving up home runs pushed his start back to Monday night with the hopes that he might not have to face a tough Toronto lineup.

It will be interesting to see if Adrian Beltre will be healthy enough to come back to the Texas lineup after missing two games with a back injury. He would definitely provide a much needed spark to a batting order that looked a little out of sorts on Sunday.

David Price also could make an appearance in relief for the Jays. If he does, will he be protecting a lead or trying to prevent more damage? The lefty is 0-6 as a starter in the postseason.

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Changes the Arizona Diamondbacks Should Make Before Spring Training

Change is certainly on the wish list of Arizona Diamondbacks fans as the holiday season approaches. 

And with spring training and the regular season also approaching, change must happen now. The 2014 season was one to forget. The D-Backs finished 64-98worst in MLB.

Injuries to Patrick Corbin, Mark Trumbo, A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt all contributed to the struggle. It also likely led to the firing of Kirk Gibson and the hiring of new manager Chip Hale.

Corbin is projected to return to the rotation midway through the 2015 season. Goldschmidt should be fully healthy coming off a fractured left hand.

However, Arizona’s intriguing offseason moves to this point have already made headlines.

The most notable acquisition was Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas. He should provide much-needed power and protection for Goldschmidt in the lineup.

The D-Backs also acquired pitching depth in Jeremy Hellickson (from Tampa Bay) for prospects, and Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster (from Boston) for Wade Miley

Yet, there are still holes the organization needs to fill for a successful 2015 campaign. Here are some changes the D-Backs should make before spring training. 


Go After James Shields

D-Backs.com lists Josh Collmenter at the top of the rotation on the depth chart. Collmenter precedes De La Rosa, Hellickson and Webster.

With Corbin coming off Tommy John surgery, there are no guarantees regarding his return or performance. Arizona’s front office knows a top-of-the-rotation arm is needed to compete in the NL West.

Money is no longer the issue it once was now that the D-Backs sent Miguel Montero to the Cubs. Montero was scheduled to make $40 million over the next three years.

With some payroll flexibility, adding Shields would greatly bolster the rotation. Shields went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA last season with the Royals, helping them reach the World Series. His durability also makes him an attractive commodity. Shields has started 30-plus games in each of the past eight seasons. 

Expect Arizona to take a look at Shields knowing that pitching has been a recent problem. Here is how the starting rotation would look midway through the 2015 season with Shields and a healthy Corbin. 

1. Patrick Corbin

2. James Shields

3. Josh Collmenter

4. Rubby De La Rosa

5. Jeremy Hellickson


Replace Miguel Montero

Losing Montero leaves Arizona with Tuffy Gosewisch as the starting catcher on the depth chart. That will certainly not suffice, especially on the offensive end. 

There are several potential trade targets for general manager Dave Stewart to consider. One is Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila. He is not known for his offense, but he can be a solid defensive replacement for Montero. Avila led AL catchers in runners caught stealing with 36. 

Another option Stewart has reportedly considered is Toronto Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro. The latter is the more attractive offensive option. Navarro hit .300 with 13 home runs in only 89 games with the Cubs in 2013. Last season, he hit .274 with 12 home runs in Toronto.

Both stat lines were more impressive than Montero‘s past two seasons (.230, 11 HR in 2013 and .243, 13 HR in 2014).

Expect Stewart to explore both options as potential replacements at the catcher position in 2015.


Consider Trading Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill’s power-hitting days are behind him. With only 21 home runs in the last two seasons and several bites from the injury bug, it is time for Arizona to part ways with the veteran second baseman.

Hill is due $24 million over the next two yearseven more reason to cut ties. If the D-Backs can trade Hill, it would open up even more money to pursue quality starting pitching.

Arizona has plenty of young infield talent to replace HillChris Owings, Jake Lamb and Nick Ahmed, to name a few. Veteran Cliff Pennington can also play second base if needed.  

The D-Backs’ offseason plans involved adding a power bat, shedding salary and getting younger. Trading Hill would follow suit, and it also makes sense for the long term.

Competing against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants and the playoff-caliber Los Angeles Dodgers will make contending in the NL West difficult for the D-Backs in 2015.

But with these changes, expect Arizona to have a good chance at finishing over .500 for the first time since 2011.

Adding quality pitching while creating a more flexible payrollthe formula for success in Arizona. 

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2014 MLB Free Agency: Best Bargains Still Available on the Market

Of the free-agent signings thus far, there are certainly a couple that could turn out to be bargains. If Josh Johnson (San Diego Padres) and Chris Young (New York Mets) return to form, they’ll be well worth the one-year deals at the cost of $8 million and $7.25 million, respectively.

Same for David Murphy, who signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Cleveland Indians, and LaTroy Hawkins, who will cost the Colorado Rockies no more than $2.5 million to at least start the season as their closer.

Here are five more potential bargains still available on the free-agent market. 

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Updated Stock Watch for Upcoming MLB Free Agents, Week 23

With less than a month to go in the regular season, free agents-to-be are running out of time to leave a lasting impression on potential suitors. Some of the bigger names, including Robinson Cano, have remained near the top of the free-agent market with steady performance while several others have risen and fallen from month-to-month. 

Players who have disappointed up to this point can still boost their stock by having a big month in September. On the flip side, those who have been terrific for most of the season could see their value fall substantially with a poor finish. 

Here are 10 players who have gone in all different directions throughout the season, but find themselves in a similar position with a few weeks to go. Their value could rise or fall significantly based on their end-of-season performance.


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Chicago Cubs: Final Projection for the Cubs’ Opening Day 25-Man Roster

They say “hindsight is 20/20.”  But what about foresight?  Does that score somewhere around 20/1200 on the Snellen chart?

The evidence—an article of mine published last September—would suggest to the affirmative.  Granted, some of my predictions are correct, or will turn out to be correct, and deserved of a self-congratulatory pat on the back.

But, boy, some are outright swings and misses.

The September version of the predicted 25-man roster was riddled with terrible selections:  Bryan LaHair, Joe Mather, Ryan Dempster, Chris Rusin, and Josh Vitters along with then-predicted free agent acquisitions Humberto Quintero and Geoff Blum, to name a few.

And while foresight is of questionable clarity, now that we’re mere days away from the official start of spring training, the upcoming predicted roster is bestowed with the assistance of a proverbial pair of eyeglasses.

First, we must begin by eliminating the obvious inclusions to the 25-man roster.  The infielders are Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart, and Luis Valbuena; with Welington Castillo as the starting catcher.

Returning from the 2012 squad are David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano, and they will be joined by free-agents Scott Hairston and Nate Schierholtz, to make up four-fifths of the outfield component,

Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, and Scott Feldman will comprise the starting rotation—although hopeful, Scott Baker will not be ready by Opening Day due to Tommy John surgery last year. 

Bullpen sure-ins include Kyuji Fujikawa, James Russell, Carlos Marmol, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Villanueva.

That leaves five holes in the Opening Day roster.

Filling the first of these five spots is fairly easy.  There needs to be a backup catcher.

Given the options available are Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger, all signs point to Dioner Navarro being named to the 25-man roster over the abysmal Steve Clevenger.

Using the same roster structure the Cubs used last spring that leaves four spots available for two infielders, an outfielder, and one additional reliever.

The Cubs could kill two birds with one stone if Brent Lillibridge makes the roster.  He can play some outfield and short, but most importantly he could serve as Anthony Rizzo’s primary backup at first base in the event Rizzo needs a day off.

The Cubs do have an option, if the unforeseen happens and Rizzo is out for a lengthy period of time, in minor-leaguer Brad Nelson.

Nelson’s career has been similar to Bryan LaHair, and looks to begin the season in Triple-A.  However, if for some reason Anthony Rizzo were to be out of action for a few weeks, Nelson would serve as the first baseman in the interim.

But for him to break camp on the 25-man roster does not seem likely.

As for the other backup infielder, the Cubs have only two legitimate options going into camp:  Alberto Gonzalez and Edwin Maysonet.  But let’s put it this way:  If they were books, you wouldn’t consider them page turners.

It is for that reason the Cubs will break camp with six infielders in 2013, as opposed to the seven they did in 2012.  That extra spot will go to the bullpen; the area in which the Cubs need to see the greatest improvement.

The Cubs, with Lillibridge included, will then have three infielders who can play multiple positions in emergency situations which can allow them to add an extra arm to the much maligned bullpen and, hopefully, avoid the kind of start to the season the 2012 version experienced.

The team could use the extra spot, so both prospects, Dave Sappelt and Brett Jackson, could break camp with the big league club.  However, the outfield is already crowded as it is by having four veterans expecting to be on the roster. 

That will leave just one spot for Dave Sappelt or Brett Jackson to claim.

Offensively, in 2012, Brett Jackson was…well…offensive.  He did showcase his outstanding fielding instincts while in the MLB, but if he wants to begin the 2013 season on the 25-man roster, he will need to prove that his overhauled swing can translate from the batting cage to the diamond.

Brett Jackson is a strikeout machine, which would be good if he was a pitcher, but horrible since he’s a position player.  He will need to seriously limit his strikeouts in the Cactus League if he wants to break camp as a member of the 25-man roster.

Even so, it is more likely Dave Sappelt will begin the season in Chicago, while Brett Jackson continues to improve his plate discipline and work on his new swing in Triple-A.

That leaves two remaining spots for the bullpen:  The greatest concern that needed addressing this offseason.

The Cubs’ bullpen in 2012 was one of the worst in the league.  Last season, the club’s bullpen ranked in the bottom of the MLB in just about every team category, leaving much room for improvement.

Rule 5 draftee, Hector Rondon looks to be an obvious choice once you read the rules of the Rule 5 draft.

A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected for $25,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.

Once a player is selected, he is automatically assigned to his new organization’s 40-man roster. 

Now, with only one spot remaining on the 25-man roster, the competition among camp relievers is sure to be intense.

One of the bright spots from last year’s bullpen was Michael Bowden.

In 32 appearances he pitched 36.2 innings for the club earning a bullpen best 2.95 ERA and held opponents to a .225 average.  He was also ranked second in the bullpen in WHIP (1.25) and fourth in strikeouts (29).

Bowden pitched very well for the Cubs last season and, unless he flames out completely in Mesa or another candidate lights up the Cactus League, Michael Bowden will break camp as part of the Cubs’ Opening Day 25-man roster.


Infielders\Catchers:  Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart, Luis Valbuena, Brent Lillibridge, Welington Castillo, Dioner Navarro

Outfielders:  Alfonso Soriano, David De Jesus, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston, Dave Sappelt

Starting Pitchers:  Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Scott Feldman

Relievers:  Kyuji Fujikawa, James Russell, Shawn Camp, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Villanueva, Hector Rondon, Michael Bowden

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Cincinnati Reds: Should Mesoraco Have Been Dealt to Padres Instead of Grandal?

While everyone is waiting with baited breath to see who gets Michael Bourn, or what closer the Cincinnati Reds can sign, I would like to ask a very pointed question.

Did the Reds unload the right catcher when they traded the farm for Mat Latos? When the trade took place last year between seasons, I thought the Reds were crazy for giving up so much young talent.

While revisiting that trade a year later I wonder if perhaps the Reds should have traded Devin Mesoraco and held on to Yasmani Grandal.

Both were No. 1 draft picks, and most people figured that Mesoraco was more polished and ready for the big leagues. It didn’t quite pan out that way.

Mesoraco would up being sent to Louisville midway through the season while Grandal made his presence felt as soon as he showed up in San Diego.

The Reds only needed half-a-catcher as they already had Ryan Hanigan to do the lion’s share of the catching. It seemed also that the Padres only needed a backup to Nick Hundley (not to be confused with the two-generation catcher family, Randy and Todd).

Grandal got an opportunity to play because of the faltering Hundley, who was hitting only .169 at the end of May. Grandal showed his metal by hitting four home runs in his first 20 plate appearances; two in his first five.

Mesoraco was hitting .300 at the end of April, but from that point everything took a dive south. He ended up batting only .212 with five homers and 14 runs knocked in. Very disappointing to say the least.

Grandal ended the year batting .297 with eight HR and 37 RBI.

In comparison to the rest of the league, Grandal had a 142 OPS+ to a ridiculous 88 for Mesoraco.

After one year I would be inclined to say that the Reds made a boo-boo. To make matters worse, former All-Star Dioner Navarro was called up to replace Mesoraco and appeared in 28 games, batting .290 with a pair of homers.

Navarro became a free agent and has since been signed by the Chicago Cubs.

After that little band of musical chairs, the Reds still have Mesoraco, but what good will he be? He is only 24 (as is Grandal), and I am fairly certain he will have a big league career at some point.

But the crux of this article is still, “did the Reds unload the right catcher?” The answer is simple: no they did not.

You may counter that 200-250 plate appearances is too small of a sampling to cast aspersions on the Reds management.

That may be true, but it is the offseason and we must have something to chew on while we sit around the old pickle barrel.

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