The list of free agent catchers this year is certainly a pretty formidable one. Names such as Russell Martin, AJ Pierzynski, Brian McCann, and Mike Napoli are just some of the “big-names” on the list. So why would anybody think of picking up a name like Cincinatti Reds free agent-to be, Dioner Navarro? Well to be perfectly honest, Navarro is the type of player who could provide a nice utility asset to any team. After being called up in August, and playing 24 games with the Reds, Navarro posted a .290 batting average with 2 homeruns and 12 RBIs. While the numbers certainly are not very threatening, they are actually pretty good for a utility catcher who only played in 24 games.
So why should the New York Yankees take a look at Navarro if they have a utility catcher in Chris Stewart? Well for one thing, Navarro does not have to be a major league catcher right away. Being only 28 years old, the Yankees could always opt to sign him to a minor league contract. It would be viewed as a low risk – medium reward type of signing. The fact that Navarro could most likely be had for under a million dollars would provide no significant burden to the Yankees “plans” of reducing the payroll to $189 million by 2014. Should Navarro prove himself faster than a Fransisco Cervelli or an Austin Romine, the Yankees could have a nice player to come off the bench.
However it should be noted that the Yankees must figure out who will be their everyday catcher for 2013 before going out and signing utility players.
The biggest problem would be the fact that the Yankees have a surplus of catchers in the minor league system. Therefore there would really be no room for Dioner Navarro as – depending on the level he plays in – he would have to compete with the likes of Cervelli and Romine. That would reduce the amount of playing time that he would receive, and would ultimately never really get a chance to prove himself to Yankees brass.
In the end, Navarro should not be a player that the Yankees turn their back away from immediately. They should at least have him in the back of their head because he is a young catcher who could possibly provide some offensive and defensive help as a utility catcher – and is ultimately a bit of an upgrade over Chris Stewart.
Could the former all-star catcher be a Yankee in 2013? It is probably unlikely, but it is not something that could be totally impossible.
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