Dioner Navarro was signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees in 2000. He played for the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays, Dodgers again, Reds and Cubs before signing as a free agent with the Blue Jays prior to the 2014 season. He had a rollercoaster career before arriving in Toronto. He was a backup, then a starter, an all-star, a backup again and barely used in 2012. Dioner turned things around as a backup in 2013 as a Cub which prompted the Jays to offer him a two year deal and a chance to be a starter again.
Navarro played the most he ever had in a season before with 520 ABs. He was a positive offensively and defensively. He slashed .274/.317/.395 and had a penchant for clutch hits. Navarro’s defence is a subject for debate, especially in regards to framing, but he did post a 0.9 dWAR in 2014.
Prior to 2015, Navarro found himself, once again, in a back up role after the Jays decided to bring in Russell Martin. He asked for trade but a suitable one could not be found. As it turned out, the situation was beneficial for both the team and Navarro. Navarro saw regular work catching Marco Estrada and often Mark Buehrle. He got to experience a thrilling playoff run as well. The team benefitted from his versatility and his good attitude after he wasn’t traded. He slashed .246/.307/.374 and put up a 0.4 dWAR.
The book is not yet officially closed on Navarro Jays’ career. He’ll be seeking a chance to start again certainly but such positions are hard to come by. Navarro may choose, or be forced, to remain with what he knows.
Among Jays’ catchers all-time he ranks 10th in WAR, 10th in RBI and 4th in batting average.
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