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A Scouting Report on Dioner Navarro from Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue

Al Yellon provides us with a report on our new catcher.

I asked Al Yellon from Bleed Cubbie Blue for a scouting report on our new catcher. Here it is, you might want to pour yourself a drink before reading. And here is a link to the BCB story on the signing.

Dioner Navarro, wow.

Two years, $8 million. Talk about a guy who had a career year in a walk year and cashed in -- here's the definitive archetype for that.

Navarro's .300/.365/.492 (132 OPS+) season with 13 home runs in 240 at-bats really can't be explained at all. He had never done anything remotely close to that, ever. Was it Wrigley Field? Ah, there's the likely explanation: he hit .336/.414/.595 at home, .266/.316/.395 on the road, in almost equal numbers of PA in each place. Nine homers at Wrigley (including three in one game), four on the road. (It's not the day games at Wrigley, either; he hit about the same in day games and night games.)

So maybe Wrigley was perfect for him. The Cubs have Welington Castillo, who they like a lot and want to have as their primary starter, so they didn't have room for Navarro as a backup, and you can't blame him for wanting and taking the kind of money the Jays gave him.

You'll like him as a person -- seems like a good guy, works hard, helps out his fellow catchers -- and you'll have to like a LOT of his person, because he is a very large man. Despite this, he doesn't block pitches really well -- he had five passed balls last year (and Cubs pitchers seemed to throw a lot of dropped third strikes with him behind the plate, though there are no specific numbers on this, just my personal recollection). He's a tough, tough guy catching, though; he suffered an injury in Philadelphia last August (in a home-plate collision with Chase Utley) where he had to be driven off the field on a cart. The injury appeared season-ending, if not career-threatening. He was back in the starting lineup in three days.

The Jays could hide him at DH part of the year; he'll break down if he has to catch 120 games, I'd think. He's probably the slowest runner in the major leagues with that big body. He's got World Series experience (2008 Rays), if that counts for anything.

I see he's a .280/.323/.344 career hitter at Rogers Centre (small sample size of 101 PA), so that could be cause for concern to you.

Good luck to Dioner. I enjoyed his season in Chicago. Hope you have as much luck with him in Toronto.

Thanks Al.