Hey, how’d this get here???

I don’t usually bother putting together a full post about every little rumour that doesn’t directly involve the Jays– though that’s quite possibly a lie, actually– which is why it’s fortunate tonight, I suppose, that MLBTR has done me the favour of throwing the Jays’ name into the mix in their post about this Peter Gammons tweet that you may have noticed I retweeted this afternoon:

MLBTR explains:

The Blue Jays have been said to be in the market for a catcher, as have the Twins, in light of the news that Joe Mauer’s days behind the plate are done and he will be a first baseman going forward. The Rays don’t figure to be in the mix after reaching an agreement with Jose Molina over the weekend.

We know that the Rockies have been looking for a catcher as well, and surely there are other clubs who could be in the market as well (what am I, Google?), but it certainly could be the Jays who are the club that’s closing in his signature. I mean… possibly? Right?

And if so, that’s pretty OK.

No, really! Here’s what I wrote back in early October, as I was learning to stop worrying and love the free agent market for catching:

How about, then, someone to pair with Josh Thole, who we know can catch Dickey and is also still under contract?

Pierzynski still technically works in that scenario, though it would mean always having his bat in the lineup against left-handers. On the other hand, Dioner Navarro has absolutely mashed left-handed pitching over the last three years, albeit in a small sample (.392 wOBA over 125 plate appearances), and has done well in the split in the minors over that time as well, and in his career as a big leaguer, though the bulk of those plate appearances are from 2009 and before.

Navarro is a switch hitter, too, so you wouldn’t necessarily be committing to Thole as the more active half of a lefty-righty platoon. However, in Navarro’s last 416 plate appearances against right-handed pitching his wOBA is just .305. His on-base is .311, though, which by the standard we’ve grown accustomed to around here is downright decent. The high OBP watermark for Arencibia in his three years is .282, and over that span against right-handers it’s a pitiful .257.

Holy shit, I think I actually just talked myself into Navarro– sad as it is to think that a .305 wOBA and .311 on-base against right-handers is, like, a vast improvement.

That, of course, says nothing of his defence, which… is probably for the best. In his final Fogging The Measure post for Getting Blanked, back at the end of August, Matt Klaassen’s catcher defence rankings (which don’t include pitch framing, at which Navarro doesn’t seem to rate particularly well at either) had him very near the bottom, at three runs below average– though he was only slightly behind Josh Thole, while clearly better than Arencibia.

And… uh… that is, after all, the whole point, isn’t it?

So… there’s that. (There’s also this tweet purportedly from a reporter in the Dominican that says the Jays have offered four prospects for Jeff Samardzija, but let’s not even bother with that one, OK?)

Comments (115)

  1. good news?

  2. It speaks only to how abjectly horrible JPA is that this is exciting

  3. 4 prospects should means Sanchez and Stroman aren’t part of it.

    Oh yeah. We’re not talking about that.


  4. I suppose if Navarro offers replacement-level catching or thereabouts, he’s a clear upgrade over last year’s catcher. So that’s an addition that likely doesn’t cost a lot but can be quite valuable.

    In addition, I think it’s possible that JP’s perceived power and cost certainty out of the C spot could move the needle on a deal, not by himself but as part of a package…

  5. I’m a little leery about Navarro. His 2013 numbers just feel a little too out of the blue for me. I fully believe that he can be a lefty masher, but if he’s not good enough to take a sizeable share of ABs against righties too, then what are we really chasing here? I don’t want to be left in a situation where Josh Thole is getting a ton of starts against righties because Navarro can’t hack it. But then again, I guess beggars can’t be choosers, and maybe Navarro is for real. Only one way to find out, I guess. If the Jays do ink him, my hope is that its a short “prove yourself” deal (one year with an option?)

    • I’d guess (hope) that Thole would be the left handed catcher off the bench in late innings. Neither one of them are going to be your “go-to” bats, but Navarro offers a chance to get a hit while JPA…was (is) a sure strike out.

  6. It seems like our catching options are either good bats with poor defense (Navarro, Iannetta) or strong defenders with questionable bats (Hanigan).

    Pick your poison, I suppose. Anthopoulos’ best move to date has been buying into a guy after a breakout year, so why not try it again with Navarro?

  7. It would be ugh but in a good way I guess. Which is sad.

  8. what makes me nervous about Navarro is the fact that after a few years in Tampa the Rays gave up on him and opted to go with Kelly Shoppach. they non-tendered him. and he signed with the Dodgers who then released him mid-season 2011, because of rumored work ethic problems.

    the Rays are usually the buy low masters but what does it say if they dump a guy like that?

  9. oh…shit.

  10. Navarro is probably the best FA catcher for the jays. Salty is going to get crazy overpaid for what he is and pierzynski is a douche that has no pop and not much obp. I would prefer ianneta though i think. Stronger track record and career obp which this lineup desperately needs.

    • But he would cost us a player or two, most likely a player off the 40 man roster. I’m all for them keeping the depth and adding a wild card like D.M., who might benefit from playing half his games in the dome. Worst case scenario, he’s still better than J.P.

  11. Still would love to see the jays flip JP and prospects for Lucroy.

    • Stop.

      • Why? He’s got the 4th highest WAR among catchers the last two years. Milwaukee has one of the worst farm systems to go along with a subpar team in a really tough division.

        • Stop.

        • Lucroy is on an amazing contract, and his WAR probably undervalues considering how is one of the best defensive catchers and pitcher framers (catchers defense isn’t really factored into WAR).

          He is also only 27.

          He is great, on one of the best contracts in the league, and will be apart of the Brewers long-term plans. They aren’t trading him, unless the Jays offer an incredible package.

          To even suggest JP and a prospect for him would be laughable. But hey, maybe the Jays can get him and Braun for JP and Melky…

          • Like I said, prospects as in plural. No different than your suggestion of Montero or Santana. I never once said that it would be cheap. I would rather the Jays spend the prospects on an important position player like catcher and use their cash on a free agent starter like Garza or Santana. A plus bat at catcher also grants you a little more leeway if you go with a plus defender at 2nd who doesn’t hit much.

            If the last few winters have shown us anything, everyone is available for the right price. The Brewers aren’t about to trade Braun, because even after the PED issue, he’s still the face of the franchise. Lucroy and Gallardo are easily their most marketable pieces. They aren’t a 90 win team even when healthy and now there’s 3 solid teams ahead of them in their own division. Unlike the Jays, they don’t exactly have the payroll flexibility to make a jump from where they are at now and have one of the worst farm systems.

      • Definitely don’t think Lucroy is going anywhere, but we do sort of match up with the Brewers needs for 1B and bullpen (per MLBTR offseason outlook)…Gallardo perhaps? 2014 salary of $11.25M with 2015 option for $13M. Some combination of Lind, Janssen, Drabek/Hutch, Happ, prospects? Hmm, seems far fetched once you write it down.

  12. For a guy like Navarro to be a clear upgrade you have to assume Aaron Cibia is what he was last year offensively, which I find a little ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike his game immensely and I absolutely think they need an upgrade, but bringing in a guy who’s just as shitty defensively (if not worse) who had 3 straight recent seasons under his belt as awful as JP’s 2013 doesn’t do it for me. A strict catch and throw guy from the lower tier of free agents makes more sense than Navarro.

    • Yup, I would rather see a top-notch pitch-framing game caller and deal with the bat than the other way around. Starting pitching and runs against is this teams issue, and if I were AA I would put all of my efforts into trying to rectify that. Goins at 2B, defense 1st catcher, and a couple of starters with Stroman the first guy up when needed.

      This team has plenty of offense.

      • Should clarify: more offense would always be nice, but not at the expense of preventing runs at this point.

      • I was with you until you suggested Goins. You can find good defenders that aren’t going to suck as hard as Goins.

        • Actually, I thought that too until just this second. With everybody healthy and hitting at their averages they really do have a fairly decent offence.

    • except navarro was worth like 2 wins last year

    • ” just as shitty defensively (if not worse) who had 3 straight recent seasons under his belt as awful as JP’s 2013 ”

      He’s not and he hasn’t.

      • The general feeling is that, yes, he’s not as bad as JPA defensively but, offensively, I wouldn’t wager a whole lot on him being much better than JPA. Steamer does project him to do better wRC+ 98 vs 79 but look at a comparison of their graphs and tell me you’re confident that he’ll do better.

        Add in the fact that Navarro last played over a 100 games in a season way back in 2009 and I really don’t see him as a solution.

        There are positives about being able to use him as a platoon but with needing to match up with Dickey and give off days, etc. I’m not sure how strictly they’d employ a platoon for the catchers.

      • JP ’13: 57 wRC+

        Navarro ’09-’11: 54, 51, 65

        He hit last year and in a handful of games in ’12, he was trash the three seasons prior.

      • Did you not just link to a post that has him 3.8 runs better than JP and concede that he’s poor in the framing department? Sure as hell would make ‘just as shitty defensively’ a not unfair assesment when you consider that JP’s a net positive with the framing (even if it doesn’t seem that way when you watch him).

    • Arencibia is what he is. An over aggressive guess hitter. The only problem with that, is that the rest of baseball knows it. Not to mention he can’t stop his swing, even when the ball is a foot outside and low. Then factor in just how many times he would watch pitches right down the center of the plate, and it isn’t a mystery. He has no disclipline and clearly makes up his mind whether he is swinging before the pitcher releases the ball. Last year was a result of every team in baseball getting the memo, and pitched him accordingly. Major league hitters that manage to stay in the majors do one thing that hitters who don’t stay in the majors, and it’s called…. making adjustments. Something J.P. hasn’t shown thus far.

    • +100 please god no. JPA will rebound somewhere else and Navarro will be same brown matter. Differnt smell

  13. didn’t meant to change my name there, got a little excited

  14. Here’s hoping, kinda.

    • Big upgrade. I hope this happens.

      • Yeah, the people turning up their nose at this really should take a look at the dog shit that’s out there at this position. None of it’s pretty. An upgrade defensively to slightly-below-average, and a lefty-masher who, over the last four years vs. RHP has got on base at a clip more than 50 points better than Arencibia? Sounds fine to me.

        • Yeah, but whats the cost of getting a guy like iannetta with a more proven track record? Probably not much. Wouldnt he be more desirable than likely overpaying a guy who had an outlier year? Opportunity cost component to this as well.

          • Iannetta, is, was a plan A, I think, maybe asking price was a bit much? Lot’s of teams need catchers, so someone will over pay with players going the other way. these rumors bring his asking price down, the Angels know thee Jays have options and will go with them. . Maybe it’s an A.A plan to suck the Angels out again and get Iannetta for Romero (jk) but really, a less important prospect or reliever that Anaheim wants. I’d be happy with either one. Can’t wait to let JPA know his job is gone via twitter.

  15. I’m not liking this catching situation one bit. Seems as though we’re going to have to hold our collective fucking noses about pretty much anyone we end up with.

    Then again in two weeks time (after the winter meetings), if we have Samard and Ubaldo to along with Dickey, Buerhle and Morrow in our fucking rotation I won’t feel quite as grumpy That’s a championship caliber fucking 5 fucking man rotation right there.

    And shit, while were at it let’s go after Infante.

  16. I want a catcher that can catch… Meaning, frame the shit out of a pitch. This is their most important task as a catcher in my opinion. We have a nibbler in Buehrle,Happ and Morrow had his most successful season with Molina stealing pitches for him. JP for all his faults was actually fairly decent in that regard. I’d be more than Ok with JP if he had even a smidge of plate discipline.

  17. Call me up fellas, I am ready!

  18. Someone’s gotta teach me that floating bat trick.

    • There was something else about Kemp being talked about by the Jays. Think I have it waiting to show up in a link dump I’ve been putting off for days. So… not necessarliy entirely made up– it says the same basic thing as that thing I’m thinking about. Cafardo maybe?

      • It was a Cafardo post I think, it was from a couple weeks ago maybe. This article was posted today. So either these guys got that news really late, or they perhaps heard something new.

      • I know the obvious risks with Kemp, and that it would require multiple moving parts, but of the rumours the Jays have been involved in this winter this is the one that gets me most tingly.

        Like butteflies in my dork bag.

        • Fat chance those particular creepy crawlies morph into butterflies Smasher.
          About the same odds that Kemp joins the Jays, I suspect.
          ‘Tis the season to dream big though.

  19. Yes, the jays “could” be involved.

    • You act like it can’t be done

      • Of course it can be done. The post is based on speculation you knob. That’s the whole point of it. They “could” be involved in Jiminez and Garza too. Which would be nice.

  20. The Jays “could be involved” in the moon landing hoax…

  21. With the move of Yan Gomes being the full-time catcher in Cleveland, maybe the Indians would listen to offers on Santana.

    Albeit it, the price would probably be really high for him, and I’m not so sure if he is good enough defensively to catch. The Indians are in desperate need of pitching help, and cheap help, this off-season. But the package for him may be too much, and something like that might cost both our top pitching prospects.

    • Another unlikely name would be Miguel Montero. Maybe the Diamondbacks have soured on his large contract after a down year, and would be willing to listen on offers for him. But I imagine they would want a replacement catcher for him, and the Jays don’t really have that to offer.

    • Sure. Or maybe they’d be dumb enough to trade Yan Gomes to us for one of our surplus relievers…say Esmil Rogers? Dare to dream…

  22. Christ, I know it’s been said a billion and one fucking times, but for the purposes of this grumpy post, it would be so much easier if Arencibia didn’t fuck up royally last year.

    I mean shit, we all make mistakes, but would it have hurt him not to fall off a god damn cliff? Then at least we could at least, you know, fucking…..not have our hands tied here.


  23. It would beat paying Salty a fuck-tonne for basically the same guy.

  24. Navarro is fine. I have no problem with this speculation.
    And again, he’ll only cost money.
    Don’t shit on AA for this potential move, his true test this winter is obviously the rotation.

    Anything with a warm pulse is an upgrade at C.

  25. But does his last name break into two smaller names that sound like one?

  26. Thole + Narvarro is an improvement

    You know you’re a piece of shit when…….

  27. Trade everyone ;) panic button engaged

  28. Who are the Jays giving up for Navarro?

    If they get Navarro,do they not tender JPA?

    Could they tender him and trade him?

    Can Navarro catch Dickey?

    It’s tough for the Jays to have to use a backup catcher for Dickey.

  29. Off topic but why not try and trade Romero and like 2M for Rickie Weeks? At his worst, he’s an upgrade on anyone else we throw out there. Doesn’t really cost any money. Weeks has no trade value and no position in Milwaukee, would either team really say no?

    • Because Romero has less than no trade value.

    • Yeah man I mean, I like the idea for fucks sakes, I just don’t know how high it is on the priority list. Especially since he’s been fuckin……terrible for what…two years now? Yeah..looking at it now…Been pretty fuckin shitty.

      I just dunno….I just want em to upgrade the pitching. Just get two fuckin guys in here that…… make the rotation solid….. and then I think all the other shit will fall into place.

    • Nobody wants Romero right now- at least with any price tag involved. All he is is a wasted roster spot. Most teams are currently putting at least one of their players up for adoption in the rule 5 draft. Why would you want to add Romero, and give up another player?

    • I could only read this proposal in the Droopy Dog voice. This would literally be the saddest trade in baseball history.

    • The Brewers say no to that, probably. I like the idea though,

    • this thought has crossed my mind, too… the catch is that weeks only has one more guaranteed year (vesting option for 2015) while romero has two years guaranteed + a club option.

      • THAT? THAT is the catch?

        • yup.

          if weeks 2nd year was guaranteed it would be a really good match for both teams… brewers would save $6-7M and get a lottery ticket in romero… jays get an upside play at 2nd for a minimal marginal cost.

          I suspect the brewers would love to unload weeks at any savings and figure out what they have in gennett.

    • Not liking the idea of Weeks. He seems to be getting worse at the plate every year and strikes out a ton.

      Not worth a 10M risk.

  30. “The Nats are well-situated to add Robinson Cano, says Kilgore, and the move makes some sense. But Kilgore explains that such a scenario remains largely unlikely. Meanwhile, fallen keystoner Danny Espinosa has relatively minimal trade value, Wagner offers. His value to the organization, in terms of upside and as a competitor/backup option to Anthony Rendon, probably outweighs what he’d return.” – MLBTR

    With Espinosa coming back off injury (he’s already been given the ok for baseball activities) he’d certainly be a nice fit at second base. Maybe AA could be creative and get Ramos out of them too.

    • I wouldn’t mind adding Espinosa to the system, but counting on a player who intends to play through a torn rotator cuff all next year seems quite unwise, especially if he is going to be the primary 2B.

      It’s too bad, because if healthy, Espinosa would seem like a great target.

  31. [...] to resolution” and that the Boston Red Sox were “not in pursuit”. This prompted Andrew Stoeten at DJF to wonder if the Jays were possibly a team courting his services. Navarro’s widely considered [...]

  32. To anyone saying rogers won’t have the money to increase payroll, but drops 5.2 billion for 12 years of nhl rights, I call bullshit.

    • Indeed. Just check out the National Post article about it. The pertinent line being:

      “Rogers said it expects the deal to be immediately accretive to its media division’s operating profit.”

      If anything, from what they say, there should be even more money in the kitty at the end of the day.

  33. Dean+Tirado+Drabek+ Nolin for Shark..

  34. As uninspiring as it is, I think a Navarro/Kotarras platoon would be my dream scenario at this point.

  35. Get ready to tell me how dumb I am, but one thing Salty brings to this mix is an acute knowledge of Boston pitchers and position players that might be quite valuable given how many times we play them. If there was a bunch of free-agent catchers out there that were decent choices I would never be saying this but if none of them are a huge upgrade, then maybe if he’s cheap enough Salty might come in useful.

    • Are you an NFL fan? I like the thinking, which is similar to NFL teams signing scrubs that have been cut by other teams (especially teams that are division rivals) in order to gain knowledge of that other teams’ playbook.

      • I’m not an NFL fan. But football seems to me to be strategic in the way baseball is. Get someone to come over who knows a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of one of your top 2 opponents. He can’t be worse than JPA and there isn’t a whole lot available that’s better than he is.

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