Jays Ink Dioner Navarro to a Two-Year Deal

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted this morning that the Toronto Blue Jays have signed catcher Dioner Navarro to a two year, $8MM deal, pending physical. Jon Heyman and Shi Davidi are now reporting the Jays are working hard to move JP Arencibia before tonight’s 11:00 PM non-tender deadline.

Navarro had a great 2013 in Chicago hitting .300/.365/.492, with an impressive 13 home runs in 266 at bats. A nice season, but with a combined -1.0 WAR in the four previous seasons, this isn’t the guy I want behind the plate on a supposed World Series caliber¬† team. In 827 plate appearances over that stretch, Navarro hit just .215/.270/.323 with 16 home runs (just three off his season total of last season). A likely upgrade over JP Arencibia, but how much? Are we going to see 2013 Navarro? Or the Navarro we’ve seen in previous years? My guess is we’re going to see the Navarro that is a slight upgrade over Arencibia. For his career Navarro has averaged 0.9 fWAR/150 games, though Steamer has him at 1.6 fWAR in 81 games in 2014, a seemingly optimistic projection.

Speaking of Arencibia, what do the Jays do with him now? There does seem to be some interest from other teams. Despite being a poor catcher, with a poor batting average, Arencibia is still relatively young, and does have a power bat. With the Navarro signing, and teams knowing Alex Anthopoulos wants to move JPA, I don’t see any teams giving up anything of value for him. Another option is to send Arencibia down to AAA, since he does have options. Arencibia’s ego wouldn’t take it lightly, but it’s not a bad idea… send him to Buffalo, and finally get someone to teach him to be a catcher.¬† That brings me to my next rant. When the Jays gave Arencibia the go ahead in 2011, they knew he was very poor defensively. In the three years he has been the Jays number one catcher, they have never once given him a catching coach. Why? Why would you not give one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball a proper catching coach, so he can improve? Arencibia was still only 25 years old in 2011, and he had room to improve. After three years as the main guy, he has shown very little improvement, and without a catching coach, you can’t even put the sole blame on him. There’s my rant for the day.

Stay tuned today, as it looks like it could be a busy day in Jays land.

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Author: Tyler Kane

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