With the recent news of designated hitter Victor Martinez tearing his medial meniscus in his left knee during an offseason workout, the Detroit Tigers have had internal discussions about the possibility of trading for Toronto Blue Jays’ catcher Dioner Navarro, according to a report by Jeff Blair of Sportsnet 590. Martinez is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, as he is projected to be out for one to two months. However, the only way that the Blue Jays would move Navarro is if they would get back a pitcher in return, Blair notes.
The 31-year-old backstop has been made quite expendable this offseason with the signing of Canadian-born catcher Russell Martin to a five-year, $82 million contract. The signing of Martin has made his name come up often in trade discussions this winter. Even though Navarro would provide the Tigers with much needed flexibility behind the plate, he would be better suited in the designated hitter role. This is supported by the fact that he was one of the worst pitch framers among all major-league catchers, as well, he only managed to gun down 28 percent of all base stealers.
In 520 plate appearances during the 2014 campaign for the Blue Jays, Navarro had a slash line of .274/.317/.395 (.712 OPS, 100 OPS+) along with 12 home runs and 69 runs batted in over 139 games played, starting 112 games at catcher and 21 games as the club’s designated hitter. Navarro, who is in the final year of his two-year deal, is set to be paid $5 million during the 2015 season. He could provide a Tigers’ lineup with some left-handed pop, as he is pretty balanced against both right-handers and left-handers. Last season, he slashed .280/.324/.402 against left-handed pitchers and .272/.315/.393 against left-handers.
Over his eleven-year big league career, Navarro has played for the New York Yankees (2004), Los Angeles Dodgers (2005-06, 2011), Tampa Bay Rays (2006-10), Cincinnati Reds (2012), Chicago Cubs (2013) and the Toronto Blue Jays (2014). In 3025 major-league plate appearances, he has hit .255/.313/.375 (.689 OPS, 85 OPS+) with 66 career home runs and 312 runs batted in over 854 games played.