White Sox sign Dioner Navarro

The Chicago White Sox have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal of unknown value with catcher Dioner Navarro, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

After the White Sox non-tendered Tyler Flowers, the addition of another catcher was not a complete surprise. Navarro will be 32 years old next season, and will likely backup behind Alex Avila, another addition to the White Sox for 2016. Navarro is no stranger to being a backup, as he played the entirety of the 2015 season behind Russell Martin.

Navarro’s season last year was below his personal average (the last three years, his batting average hasn’t been lower than .274) but still decent, as he posted a .246/.307/.374 (88 OPS+) clip with 5 home runs and 20 RBI over 192 plate appearances in 54 games.  Over the entirety of his 12-year career, the Venezuelan has hit .255/.313/.375 (86 OPS+) with 71 home runs and 332 RBI in 908 games.

This is a move that further weakens the market for catchers, with Matt Wieters taking the qualifying offer of the Baltimore Orioles, and Alex Avila already signing a one-year deal with the White Sox. It appears that if any team wants to upgrade at catcher, it’ll be via trade or by calling up a prospect.

Here’s what you need to know about the deal: The White Sox get a veteran backup catcher with a decent history.

For a more in-depth look, check out Cover Those Bases’ full story here.

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Spring Training Notes from March 6th

Here are today’s notes from Spring Training.

San Francisco Giants OF Hunter Pence broke his forearm yesterday after being hit on the arm by a pitch thrown by Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Corey Black. Pence spoke to the media on Friday, and told them that “You control what you can control. These things happen. It’s part of the game.” (per ESPN) The injury will end his streak of 383 consecutive games played in. Continue reading

Hello, goodbye: Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar sent to Oakland Athletics for John Jaso, prospects

The Rays look confident that the Asdrubal Cabrera era will end well for them. That, or they’re completely out of their minds.

The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly completed a trade with the Oakland Athletics sending infielders Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the Oakland Athletics for catcher John Jaso and two prospects.

The hot stove had surrounded Zobrist for the past few weeks after the Rays signed Cabrera, leaving Tampa with a surplus of one of this offseason’s hottest commodities: infielders.

Last season, the multi-talented Zobrist (who has recorded time at FIVE positions) batted .272/.354/.395 (116 OPS+) with 10 home runs and 52 RBI. Escobar hit .258/.324/.340 (92 OPS+) with 7 home runs and 39 RBI.

The Athletics had recently completed an essential firesale of their infield, sending off Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss, and losing Jed Lowrie to free-agency. With Zobrist and Escobar sliding in, they now have a revamped middle infield, and/or outfield (depending on where the Athletics choose to put Zobrist.)

Potential suitors for the duo had included the Nationals, Mets, Giants and a few others. (According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Mets and Nats were actually close to a three team trade that would’ve involved Escobar and Zobrist.)

Over his 9-year career, Zobrist has hit .264/.354/.429 (117 OPS+) with 114 home runs and 511 RBI. Over Escobar’s 8-year career, he has hit .276/.347/.381 (98 OPS+) with 69 home runs and 393 RBI.

In return, the Athletics sent catcher John Jaso and prospects Boog Powell (OF) and Daniel Robertson (SS/3B) to the Rays.

Jaso, who batted .264/.337/.430 (117 OPS+) with 9 home runs and 40 RBI over 307 ABs will become the backup catcher for Tampa Bay. Powell and Robertson were unranked and 4th by Baseball Prospectus heading into 2014, respectively.

Over his 6-year career, Jaso has batted .259/.359/.399 (114 OPS+) with 32 home runs and 182 RBI.