Blue Jays Rumors: Detroit Tigers reportedly interested in Dioner Navarro
With Spring Training now just two weeks away (says the guy under multiple feet of snow), story lines are starting to come together for the Toronto Blue Jays. One of the most intriguing will be the fate of Dioner Navarro and who will be the back-up catcher.
Of course, that still leaves two weeks to determine if Dioner Navarro is still with the team. According to Jeff Blair of Sportsnet, who cites Major League Sources, the Detroit Tigers have had internal discussions about acquiring the Navarro from the Blue Jays.
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The thought of trading Dioner Navarro has been on the tongues of the Blue Jays front office and fans all winter long. Ever since the acquisition of Russell Martin, Navarro has made it known that he would prefer to find a starting role rather than serve as a back-up and part-time designated hitter, but thus far the Blue Jays have been unable to facilitate such a move.
While Detroit would appear to have a need for Navarro’s bat in their line-up, they present a similar situation to what the Blue Jays offer. Incumbent Alex Avila presents a more complete package for the Tigers, rating higher defensively (15.3 DEF v/s 6.0). However both a comparable offensively, with Avila putting up a wRC+ of 97 versus Navarro’s mark of 98 and an ISO of .141 versus .121, but Avila comes in nearly a quarter point higher in Win Probability Added (WPA) with a 1.07 mark versus Navarro’s rating of 0.75.
Additionally, the torn medical meniscus suffered by Victor Martinez, which is prompting this talk, isn’t expected to keep him out of the line-up much more than the first few weeks of the season. The recovery time is typically just 4-6 weeks from such an injury, which would just delay the start of his season momentarily. Once Martinez returns, the at-bats in the DH slot go away, especially with Martinez expected to split those with Miguel Cabrera in order to keep both lumbering sluggers healthy.
Toronto Blue Jays
If anything, that makes the situation in Detroit even more untenable for Dioner Navarro than is the one in Toronto. The best case for Navarro remains for the Blue Jays to move on from Josh Thole or find a way to get a team like the Arizona Diamondbacks back into the ring.
The other side of the struggle to make a deal here is the availability of pieces to help the Blue Jays in return. Detroit already struggles with a poor bullpen, so they aren’t likely to move a meaningful piece. Al Alburquerque would be the ideal return, but there is no way Detroit is parting with him at this late point in the winter.
So while it is interesting to hear of another team in the mix, it remains doubtful that the Blue Jays will find a likable deal for Dioner Navarro at this stage. The most likely scenario is the team holds on to him into the spring and waits for an opening to occur elsewhere that allows them to have some leverage for a deal.
In his first season of a two-year contract, Dioner Navarro was a 2-win player, hitting .274/.317/.395 with 12 home runs and 69 RBI for the Blue Jays.
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