Dioner Navarro’s deal with White Sox: One year, $4 million
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
The White Sox announced a one-year, $4 million deal with free-agent catcher Dioner Navarro.
Navarro’s signing with the Sox was reported Thursday and announced Friday.
“Adding a veteran catcher like Dioner to complement the skill set of Alex Avila provides our club with strong depth at the position for the 2016 season,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Dioner’s 12 seasons of experience at the major-league level and ability to switch-hit will provide [manager] Robin [Ventura] with additional roster and in-game flexibility throughout the season.”
The Sox also signed Alex Avila, a left-handed hitting catcher, last week, and parted ways with starting catcher Tyler Flowers by not tendering a contract Wednesday. Avila signed for one year, $2.5 million. Navarro will be paid about the same as Flowers would have received in the arbitration process, perhaps slightly more.
“Catcher was probably not high on people’s list as the area of need but that didn’t mean in an effort to improve ourselves anyway we can, that we wouldn’t pursue it,” Hahn said. “When the opportunity arose to add both Alex and Dioner, we feel like from a run-scoring standpoint we are stronger and frankly from a run prevention standpoint that there may well not be that significant of a difference from where we were in 2015.
Navarro, 31, appeared in 54 games (44 starts) with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, batting .246 with five home runs, 20 RBI and a .307 on-base percentage. He had signed a two-year, $8 million deal before the 2014 season and was the starter there in 2014 but became a backup in 2015 when Russell Martin joined the club.
“I’m really just looking forward to playing, that was one of my issues last year,” Navarro said. “I was really happy with the team I was on but I wasn’t playing much. I just wanted to play and I think this opportunity with the White Sox showed me it was going to be a great one and just to try take advantage.”
“Whoever stands out is going to get bulk of the playing time,” Hahn said. “It does line up at least on paper with Alex having more success against right-handed pitching and Navarro over the course of his career doing a lot of damage against left-handed pitching there is the opportunity for it to evolve into a straight platoon. But especially even Dioner’s ability to switch-hit, we are going to go into camp with an open mind and see how things evolve.
“We think there will complement each other very well.”
Navarro was a 2008 American League All-Star with Tampa Bay. Avila was a Tigers All-Star in 2011.