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Report: Blue Jays sign catcher Dioner Navarro

dioner navarro

Chicago Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro hits a home run in the 8th inning of their game against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Toronto Blue Jays have come to an agreement with catcher Dioner Navarro on a two-year deal, which according to Rosenthal is pending a physical.

Where does this leaves current Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia you may ask. Rosenthal has an answer for that one too.

It sounds like Josh Thole will be kept around to catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey at least every fifth day while Navarro will be given the opportunity to take over the everyday role. I’m not sure how much interest there would be in Arencibia across baseball but if the Blue Jays can get anything in return for him it makes more sense than non-tendering him and allowing him to walk for nothing.

Personally I’m not that high on Navarro and depending on terms may not be as much of an upgrade as some people may think behind the plate. He had a near career year in a back-up role this year with the Chicago Cubs and is an offensive-minded catcher but I’m concerned if his production will hold up over a larger sample size.

However the Blue Jays couldn’t go into 2014 hoping to compete with Arencibia behind the plate and it’s very doubtful Navarro could ever be as bad as JPA was in 2013. We’ll keep you posted with further analysis as more details including contract terms are confirmed.

Update:

John Heyman at CBS Sports has tweeted that the deal is worth $8 million over two years.

Topics: Dioner Navarro, Toronto Blue Jays

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  • Erik Trenouth

    The thing is, though, a healthy JP at $2.1 mil is a lot better deal than Navarro at $4 mil. JP is a better game caller and framer, whereas Navarro is the better blocker. They are both average at throwing out runners, but JP has the durability. If Navarro can reproduce his offensive numbers from last year (about the same odds as JP reproducing his), then it is ok. But I highly doubt that, seeing as how his career year coincidentally came on a contract year.

    • Andrew van Laar

      We can’t really comment on game calling because there is no way to measure that. In terms of framing its actually funny because I read somewhere (either here or on Blue Bird Banter) that he got the most balls called for strikes last year of all catchers but at the same time, had the most strikes called for balls. So really, he isn’t all that great at framing pitches.

      I think Arencibia needs a change of scenery and we need to break off with him. I said this earlier today in another post that if he hadn’t been such a jerk off the field and manned up and took some pride in his work, I would have been more open to keeping him.

      • Erik Trenouth

        His situation with with Zaun and Hayhurst absolutely drew a bad picture of him, and he is the one to blame for that. I am not a fan of them either, but he definitely needed to stay quiet. But I also think that he does take a lot pride in his job, especially in his daily workings with the pitchers.

        • Andrew van Laar

          Sorry I shouldn’t say he doesn’t take pride because I am sure he does. What I meant to say was that when you are called out by people for a legitimate reason (and I am sure Gibby or AA privately called him out too so that is also his bosses), that should light a fire under you and spark you to prove them that they are wrong, not get worse as the season progresses.

          I have no doubt he wants to get better but I think he’s either suffering from Romero syndrome and can’t fix what is broke with the Jays or he thinks he is fine with the way he is and doesn’t need to change which there is evidence of in his responses on twitter and interviews. I would REALLY like to see him resigned at $2.8 million and sent back to NH to work his stuff out (Buffalo is Jimenez’s town now) and get back some trade value or just be able to perform how we all think he has the talent to. I just don’t know if $2.8 million makes financial sense for a team like the Jays who are near the limit of their payroll.

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      It appears cheaper on the surface but if they tender him now and then again the following year it would most likely be identical to the $8M they are paying Navarro over two years.

  • brad

    I think it’s important to keep things in context here. 2 years/$8 mil is a pretty damn good contract for a starting catcher. 3 years ago he was really bad for the dodgers, 2 years ago he was a pretty good backup in a very limited role and last year he was maybe the best backup in the MLB. From what I remember of him in Tampa and New York he was a pretty solid game caller and pitch receiver but nothing spectacular. Does that inspire confidence in a future starting catcher? Not really. Why am I happy with the signing? CONTEXT!!!!

    JP Arencebia was pretty much undoubtedly the worst defensive starting catcher in baseball last year. I do not agree with Erik about him being a better game caller than Navarro (or pretty much anyone for that matter). He had the most passed balls in the MLB, threw out a below average amount of runners and made a ton of mental mistakes. BUT all of that was forgotten because it got overshadowed by the fact that he was 4 ABs short of being arguably the worst hitter of all time….. let that sink in for a second…. 4 at bats away from being the worst….ever. EVER!!!!

    So really, arguing that JP shouldn’t be the starter next year is a bit like challenging a fish to a spelling bee. The real argument is whether or not they could have done better than Navarro. The answer is yes. BUT, not while still being able to afford to sign the SP they need in free agency… or without giving up more of the farm.

    Great signing

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      You have a better eye for the catching position than I do however… Arencibia was ranked the 7th best “pitch-framing” catcher in 2013 while Navarro was near the bottom. He was also only marginally better at not allowing past balls (5 in 470 innings vs. 13 in 1058.2 innings for JPA). The -0.3 rWAR Navarro put up between 2009 and 2012 is a bit concerning to me as well. But he’s hit well the past two years so will most likely be an upgrade at the plate but not much of one behind it.

      • brad

        Navarro is by no means a great defensive catcher but JP is worse. The PB stat is an interesting one. JP has had 12, 9 and 13 the last 3 years while Navarro has never in his career had more than 6. I wonder about the 5 last year….. seems like a bit of an outlier…. or a disturbing sign of things to come.

        Don’t get me started on the pitch framing. I think that’s the most cockamamie stat ever created. Some pitches are much easier to frame than others…. namely the pitch at the knees on non glove side corner…. which JP calls every pitch(see: bad game calling).

        Maybe I’m just abnormally low on the guy’s defense but I see this as a pretty big offensive and defensive upgrade…

        • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

          I haven’t seen Navarro much but I’ve heard he’s a bit sloppy (aka “lazy”) behind the plate.

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