It’s a bit too late to be undoing some of those lousy trades with Tampa, isn’t it? Tony Jackson with the news:
In a development that probably eliminates any chance two-time All-Star and former Gold Glove catcher Russell Martin will remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the club is close to a one-year agreement with the catcher Martin replaced more than four years ago, free agent Dioner Navarro, according to a source with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Navarro, who will turn 27 before spring training, will share time behind the plate with Rod Barajas, with Barajas probably getting about 60 percent of the starts, the source said. The move also means A.J. Ellis is almost certainly destined to once again begin the season at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Navarro, as you might remember, was the Dodgers’ prize from the Shawn Green/Randy Johnson three-team deal in early 2005. He was decent (.359 OBP, yay!) but not overwhelming (.378 SLG, boo!) in 75 games over two years with the 2005-06 Dodgers. Navarro’s injury in 2006 gave Martin his big break, and Dioner was sent to the Rays later that year.
Navarro was good with the Rays in 2008, putting up a 100 OPS+ and making the All-Star team, but his tenure there ended awfully. His OPS+ the last two years came in at 54 and 48, and he actually left the team after being left off the playoff roster this year.
Now he’s still only 26, I’ll grant (27 in February). But hey, why wouldn’t you want a guy with a .309 career OBP? This could be the worst group in terms of on-base percentage I can ever remember.
Update: Rays blog DRaysBay isn’t making me feel any better…
I think I speak for the entire Tampa Bay community when I say, “Thank goodness that’s over.” Dioner Navarro seemed like he had so much promise when the Rays acquired him from the Dodgers back in 2006, and four and a half seasons later, he hasn’t lived up to any of it. His plate discipline all but disappeared (he used to clock in around a 10% walk rate), his power never developed, his defense never improved, and his attitude got surly when the Rays demoted him to the minors this season. Especially with the unexpected emergence of John Jaso this season, I’m very, very glad to see Navarro head out the door.