ST. LOUIS — Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro, the man with the miraculously healing ankle, wouldn’t mind helping the Cubs pull off another minor miracle after the season and alleviate the catching shortage in the organization.
Navarro, who signed a one-year, $1.75-million deal with the Cubs last off-season, said he’d like to return for another season if they want him.
“Definitely. I’m really happy here,” he said. “I’m really happy with the group that we got, the organization. I think we’re doing all the right moves to turn the organization around, and I would love to be part of it.”
Navarro, who has been mentor to Welington Castillo, personal catcher to Matt Garza and a bigger-than-expected bat this season is “the perfect backup catcher,” said manager Dale Sveum, who’d like Navarro back, too.
Navarro was so perfect Saturday that he passed all pregame physical tests with ease just three days after getting crushed by Chase Utley in a home plate collision – then came off the bench in the eighth to double home the go-ahead run in a 6-5 victory over the Cardinals.
His return could come down to the price he can command as a free agent after a strong season and what else is available on the market. What’s almost certain is the Cubs should have more payroll flexibility to work with this winter.
“I can speak from experience,” Navarro said about the appeal of helping a rebuilding process. “I went to Tampa [in 2006] and then we turned the organization around. I would be more than happy to do it again. Let’s see what’s going to happen next year, but I’d definitely be more than happy to come back.”