Shortstop Rey Navarro, a minor-league free agent, was signed by the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. The deal was a major-league contract. The speedy Puerto Rican drew interest from multiple teams, including the New York Yankees, but the Orioles beat out every single competitor.
Roch Kubatko of MASN was the first to report that Baltimore had secured the switch-hitter. However, the deal will be complete if Navarro passes his physical. The Orioles now have two open sports on their 40-man roster. Thursday night is the deadline to set the roster before the Rule 5 draft.
The Arizona Diamondbacks took Navarro in the third round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. However, the team traded him to the Kansas City Royals three years after the draft.
Navarro has speed and is a better than average defender with some range at the shortstop position. He is also a switch-hitter which makes him a valuable infielder.
The 24-year-old has played eight Minor League Baseball season. Including two with Rookie-A, one with Single-A, two with Single-A+, four with Double-A and two with Triple-A. In all those seasons, the speedster has slashed .265/.312/.375 and has hit 46 home runs and has 361 RBI’s. He played in 883 games to this point in his MiLB career. Navarro has a career .947 fielding percentage and obtained a .418 range factor per game, which measures putouts plus assists divided by games played.
Navarro is expected to serve as a backup to starting shortstop J.J. Hardy. He can also be used as a utility man. With his range and athleticism, he can play either third base, shortstop or second base. He has 320 games at second base and 100 games at third. However, most of the time he plays second base.