2016 Canadian draft list
Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
LAKELAND, Fla. _ There is a market for Dioner Navarro.
The Arizona Diamondbacks for one team.
And the Detroit Tigers for two.
“My agent (Melvin Roman) told me both Arizona and Detroit have interest,” Navarro said Monday morning in the visiting clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium before the Jays lost to the Tigers.
Navarro was hitting clean-up against Anibal Sanchez. He lined out in his first at-bat and bounced out his other plate appearance. He was charged with a passed ball.
Arizona is in dire need of help behind the plate
General manager Dave Stewart has catchers Tuffy Gosewisch and Oscar Hernandez on the 40-man roster. Gosewisch has started 39 career major-league games while Hernandez was at class-A Bowling Green last year.
Non roster catchers include Gerald Laird, who has averaged 52 starts the last five seasons; Jordan Pacheco, 19 starts with the Colorado Rockies in 2014; Blake Lalli, triple-A Reno; Matt Pagnozzi, triple-A Nashville; Mark Thomas and Peter O’Brien, both were at double-A Mobile,
What does Arizona have to offer? Well, does a rebuilding team need a closer like Addison Reed, who earns $4.875 million US this year?
Reed, 26, avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal (he requested $5.6 million, while the club made a $4.7 million offer).
In his first year with Arizona after three seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Reed was 1-7 with a 4.25 ERA. He walked 15 and struck out 69 in 59 1/3 innings.
On the closing end he saved 32 of 38 chances (84%) and allowed 11 homers. As a point of reference departed closer Casey Janssen closed out 25 of 30 opportunities (83%).
Navarro for Reed probably won’t get the deal done.
Reliever Brad Ziegler, 36, earns $5 million this season after going 5-3, with a 3.49 ERA. He appeared in 68 games, walking 24 and striking out 54 in 67 innings.
Everyone in baseball knows that the Jays need relief help … just as everyone knows the Diamondbacks need someone to go behind the plate.
“I want to play every day,” Navarro said. “I don’t want to be a back-up. I know I can help this team.”
Navarro still may get the chance.
Edwin Encarnacion is sidelined with a minor back injury, but when he’s healthy the man had impressive numbers last year. He had 27 doubles, 34 homers, .268 average and an .901 OPS, despite playing only 128 games due to a quad injury.
Encarnacion will be in the Jays every day lineup. The question is will he be at first or DH.
The next question is do the Jays play Justin Smoak at first or Navarro as the every day DH?
Smoak would be best option defensively, but the switch hitter had 13 doubles, seven homers, 30 RBIs and a .614 OPS in 80 games with the Seattle Mariners.
Navarro had 22 doubles, 12 homers, 69 RBIs and a .712 OPS last year in 139 games, but lost his job when the Jays signed Russell Martin. It was a repeat of 2006 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That year Navarro was injured, Martin took over, LA won 22 of the next 24 games and kept the No. 1 job.
As the saying goes … it’s early.
Watching: When not keeping an eye on the Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has been scouting lefty Juan Hillman of Haines City, Fla. and right-hander Triston McKenzie of Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
Hillman, who is headed to Central Florida, is ranked ninth by Perfect Game Scouting Service, while McKenzie, a Vanderbilt commit, is 22nd.
Earlier, the Jays most trusted set of scouting eyes, Dana Brown, was in on UC-Santa Barbara right-hander Dillon Tate (18th) and Jays scout ChuckLaMarr has seen TCU Horned Frog right-hander Riley Ferrell (14th).
The Jays lost their first-round pick (16th) for signing free-agent Martin, but gain a pick at 29th as compensation for losing outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Chicago White Sox.
Then, the Jays pick 56th and 91st … so three picks in the first 100.