11/16 Cubs officially add Navarro

The Cubs officially announced the signing of free agent catcher Dioner Navarro on Friday. He agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract that could pay him an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses. Navarro, 28, has played for the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays and Reds, batting .290 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 24 games last season with Cincinnati. He split the year between the Reds and their Triple-A Louisville team. The addition of Navarro gives the Cubs some experience at catcher behind Welington Castillo, who got his most extensive playing time last season, batting .265 in 52 games. Castillo is projected as the Cubs regular catcher next season.

A switch-hitter, Navarro batted .327 against right-handed pitching last season, and has averaged one extra-base hit per 11.3 at-bats against left-handed pitchers. He was a 2008 American League All-Star with the Rays — and also a teammate of Cubs pitcher Matt Garza in Tampa Bay. In ’08, he batted .295 and was the youngest starting catcher on an American League pennant winner since the Orioles’ Andy Etchebarren (23) in 1966. Navarro has thrown out 25.7 percent of baserunners looking to steal in his career (112-for-435), the 11th-best percentage of any catcher in the big leagues starting in 2004.

– Carrie Muskat

1 Comment

Good news. Looking forward to the tandem of Castillo and Navarro. I don’t think either one of these catchers will be an automatic out like Koyie Hill. It will be nice to count on SOME offense from the cather’s spot for a change. I had high hopes for Clevenger but like Vitters and Jackson….he just couldn’t prove himself.

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