Dioner Navarro re-iterates his desire to be traded
Dioner Navarro joined his Toronto Blue Jays teammates today for the first day of Spring Training, bringing an end to the long, baseball-free stretch that we all dread. This is the most exciting time of the year for baseball fans as the slate has been wiped clean and hope springs new with a roster full of fresh faces. Dioner Navarro isn’t sharing this excitement, though, and expressed to reporters today his displeasure regarding the Blue Jays’ catching situation.
The signing of C Russell Martin would have been a tough pill to swallow for Navarro, who played above expectations during his first season of a two-year contract. The Blue Jays had true holes elsewhere on the roster, but instead chose to upgrade at his. While I expected Navarro to take a quieter approach to the situation when meeting with the media, it’s hard to blame him for being this forthcoming with his feelings. Navarro is a starting-quality catcher on several MLB teams, but the clear issue here is that no sensible trades have become available to Alex Anthopoulos. In an ideal world, the Blue Jays would be able to deal Navarro for an impact arm out of the bullpen or starting rotation depth, but trade talks may need to be kickstarted by an injury elsewhere.
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There was a sense of defeat in Navarro’s comments as he continued to express how he was unsure about what had gone wrong. He made a point of saying that he is committed to the Blue Jays and will carry on professionally with the club, but at this point, it’s developing into a very awkward situation that will continue to draw a negative spotlight into the Jays clubhouse.
Navarro can be a valuable asset to this ball club, however, as a designated hitter and backup catcher. The Blue Jays 1B/DH situation still lacks clarity and Russell Martin won’t be starting 155 games, so a strong return would be needed in a trade to convince the Blue Jays to leave themselves with Josh Thole and A.J. Jimenez fighting for a roster spot.
The Blue Jays are in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” situation here, but it’s not an A-Rod-level scandal that they’re dealing with. Patience will still be the club’s best approach as roster needs open up through the league during March, but it would be wise to keep Navarro in the loop and encourage him that his desires are being worked on. A trade remains the hope here, but with the league knowing Toronto’s clear intention, the Jays lack leverage and may struggle to score much value in return.
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