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Free Agent Pass or Play: Dioner Navarro

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, October 30, 2013 11:00 AM | Comments: 8
Analysis, Features, Free Agency, Free Agent: Pass or Play 2013, Offseason, Transactions

http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/0jsVpqgMo9Fb0RGeaISwDA--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYwMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/person/Ysports/dioner-navarro-baseball-headshot-photo.jpgEach day until free agency begins, we at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will become a free agent five days from the conclusion of the World Series. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with switch-hitting catcher Dioner Navarro. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Navarro, 29, was an All-Star in 2008 at age 24 with the Rays, his second full season in the Majors after being involved as a piece in separate trades for Randy Johnson, Shawn Green, and Toby Hall. After such a promising start to his career, Navarro battled injuries and was a well-below average hitting catcher from 2009-2012, posting a triple-slash line of .215/.270/.323 in stints with the Rays, the Dodgers, and Reds. Navarro spent 2013 with the Cubs and had unpredictable and unprecedented success, posting career highs in all triple-slash categories (.300/.365/.492 with 13 HR in 266 PA).

Fit

Navarro’s switch-hitting ability makes him a nice fit with the Phillies. Navarro’s splits skew better hitting as a righty against lefties, getting on base by 30 points more from the right side and slugging at about 100 points higher. While Navarro likely has some upside at age 29, there are questions about his durability and ability to start for a full season, last attaining 400 or more plate appearances in a season in 2009 with the Rays.

Cost

Navarro was not among the 47 players listed by FanGraphs as a top free agent but in my estimation, he has likely earned a $2.5-3 million deal for 1-2 years.

Feasibility

Even with the tightest budget, the Phillies can afford to bring Navarro into the fold. The catching market is relatively top-heavy this year so Navarro may be coveted as a consolation for any teams that miss out on Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or Carlos Ruiz.

Verdict: Play, Play, Play

My highest rating, tied with outfielder Chris Young in terms of signability and affordability, the Phillies should sign Navarro for a two year deal. At age 29, Navarro may be able to be had at a discounted rate for a team willing to give him more than one year.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 821 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Navarro could be a fit in Philly as the youngsters develop further and get ready for the big time.
    It all depends if he can come cheap.

     
  • Posts: 0 frrank

    He’s a great fit. Handles pitching staffs well..has post season experience and is fairly young and inexpensive. We would save money for other areas of need.

     
  • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

    Interesting, I think I would play on this one… My only question is whether or not I would sign him as a number one and let rupp back him up, or sign Navarro as a number two and let him back up for Ruiz?
    Definitely interesting though

     
  • Posts: 120 Dave P

    Avatar of Dave P

    He hasn’t played in 100 games in a year since 2009. He had a career high in home runs, but his HR/FB% was an astronomical 18.8%, putting him at 26th out of 316 players with a minimum of 250 PA. In no other year has he topped 10.0%, with his career HR/FB being 7.5%. That number then will likely regress. So his power numbers will fall dramatically. Also note that his CAREER IFFB% is 12.6% (Comparison – Jimmy Rollins’s 2013 IFFB% was 13.8%). In 2013 Navarro posted a career low 7.2% IFFB rate, which will likely climb as well.

    That all said, his walk rate is solid and his strike out rate isn’t terrible. I’d just be worried that he can’t stay healthy, his batted ball profile will regress to what it was, which wouldn’t make the phillies much better.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff S

    Rather sign Kurt Suzuki, whose option Oakland won’t pick up.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    It would be a good fit. Of course theres risk theres almost always a risk w every player. They would probably save some money over Ruiz and Rupp can back him up. I still like Ruiz though guess finding it a little hard to not see him playing for us. I bet the Phils resign Ruiz an Rupp as the backup. Then theyll sign some AAAA catcher and stick him in the minors.

     
  • Posts: 0 Cory K

    I like your conservative approach to the offseason. Chris young and Navarro are good value plays who likely provide defensive value, hit right handed pitching, draw walks and are relatively young. While Navarro may regress some at the plate, I’m gonna point out that Chooch and Yadier became significantly better hitters later in their careers. Would then try for Nolasco as a 3rd starter and 1 or 2 relievers.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    I’m not sure on this one. For me, it depends heavily on what the Phils do with Ruiz.

    And “cheap” should never be the deciding factor; that’s Marlins strategy.

     
 
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