Theo Epstein and the Cubs continued their tweaking of the Cubs roster today, as they have reportedly signed veteran backstop Dioner Navarro. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has Tweeted that the deal will be worth $1.75 million. It figures to be a one year contract that sees the experienced Navarro backing up and mentoring the younger Welington Castillo.
Sep 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds catcher Dioner Navarro (30) catches a pop foul ball during the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
The transaction is an interesting one to note considering both Castillo and Steve Clevenger provided excellent Springs last year, resulting in a neck and neck race to back up then starter Geo Soto at the time. With Soto of course having been dealt last July, and the Cubs not in position to contend in 2013, it would not have been a surprise to keep the rookie back stop duo. Navarro is a switch hitting catcher, so he figures to bump Clevenger back down to the minors for more seasoning.
Navarro is best remembered for his break out season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. That year he saw career marks in batting average (.295) and RBI (54) while appearing in 120 games. His performance earned him an All Star nod, as well as being a part of the Rays team that made their way to the World Series that season. Overall, his career numbers fall more in line with that of a back up catcher at this point, with a slash line of .245 BA/.306 OBP and only 41 homers and 209 RBI in nine years of service. Navarro only appeared in 24 games for the Reds in 2012.