Blue Jays 2015: Dioner Navarro

When the Jays signed Russell Martin to a free agent contract before the 2015 season, the incumbent catcher, Dioner Navarro, was quoted as saying that he wanted a trade. And you can’t really blame him – he’s a good enough hitter and catcher to start for a number of teams in the American League.

Here is a list of the American League starting catchers in 2015, ranked by on-base percentage. Navarro is included in the list for comparison.

Vogt Oak .341
Martin Tor .329
Chirinos Tex .325
B McCann NYY .320
Wieters Bal .319
Swihart Bos .319
Navarro .307
J McCann Det .297
Suzuki Min .296
Flowers ChW .295
Iannetta LAA .293
Castro Hou .283
Perez KC .280
Gomes Cle .267
Zunino Sea .230
Rivera TB .213

I can conclude two things from this list: (1) Navarro has a better on-base percentage than many starting catchers; (2) Tampa Bay needs a catcher that can get on base, pronto.

To his credit, when he realized that the Jays weren’t going to trade him, Navarro buckled down and accepted his role. He took the at-bats that were given to him, and developed an exceptional working relationship with Marco Estrada, to the point where he was the catcher for all of Estrada’s starts. His patience has paid off: he signed a free-agent deal with the Chicago White Sox in the off-season. Unfortunately, he might not be the starter there, either: the Sox also signed Alex Avila from Detroit, who had been the backup to James McCann, and the MLB depth charts I’ve seen list Avila as the #1 guy.

It’s probably easier to be the backup catcher, anyway. It’s less demanding, and you still get to live the major-league life. So it might all be for the best.

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About davetill

I'm a writer and occasional web designer. I live in Toronto.
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