Out since mid-March with a strained oblique muscle, Dioner Navarro has returned from the disabled list and the Dodgers made room for him on the roster by optioning A.J. Ellis to Triple-A.
That means Navarro will replace Ellis as Rod Barajas’ backup behind the plate and … well, it sure seems like the Dodgers just got a little worse at catcher.
Ellis is a 30-year-old career minor leaguer with little power, so he hardly possesses superstar potential, but he’s gotten on base at a nice .346 clip in 160 plate appearances spread over various stints with the Dodgers, has a .398 OBP in the minors, and has thrown out 27 percent of steal attempts. In other words, he’s a very nice backup catcher.
Once upon a time Navarro was a top prospect and for a brief period he was actually a productive starting catcher for the Rays, but he’s been pretty terrible for quite a while now. Navarro hit .194 with a .528 OPS in 48 games last season and .218 with a .583 OPS in 115 games two seasons ago, and is a career .249 hitter with a .309 on-base percentage and .666 OPS.
Despite seemingly being around forever Navarro is actually still just 27 years old, so he might technically have more upside than the 30-year-old Ellis at this point, but neither of them are anyone’s idea of a long-term solution and right now Ellis seems like the better bet to provide some positive value playing a couple times per week in place of Barajas.
If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.
Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.
The weather in Cleveland is not that great at the moment. It’s cold, windy, there’s drizzle and the chance for heavier rain increases as the night wears on. At the moment Game 2 of the World Series is still scheduled to kick off at 7:08PM Eastern Time, however. So bundle up.
And maybe hunker down. Because this game is going to go nine innings no matter what. Maybe not tonight, but eventually.
That’s because, you may recall, ever since that rainy, snowy mix forced the suspension in the sixth inning of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series between the Phillies and the Rays, Major League Baseball has held that all playoff games will be played in their entirety. There will be no six-inning, rain-shortened affairs.
The last word from MLB was that they would reassess the weather just before starting pitchers began to warm up this evening. If things still look about the same then, the game will proceed as scheduled. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, they’ll suspend the game and pick it up where it leaves off tomorrow.