Navarro_Dioner

Dodgers activate Dioner Navarro from DL, option A.J. Ellis to Triple-A

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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.

Coco Crisp traded to the Indians for a minor league reliever

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 27:  Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics rounds third base to score against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the seventh inning at AT&T Park on June 27, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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UPDATE: (11:36 AM EDT, Wednesday): The deal has been announced by both clubs. The A’s will be receiving left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes. Hynes is 31. He’s pitches seven games in the big leagues and has spent ten years in the minors with a 3.62 ERA in 456 games, almost all in relief.

Update (7:49 AM EDT, Wednesday): Susan Slusser hears word that, yes, the deal is official.

Update (7:20 PM EDT): John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports that Crisp has indeed been traded, but there won’t be an official announcement until Wednesday. Crisp has already left the Athletics’ clubhouse.

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Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Athletics and Indians are making progress on a trade that would send outfielder Coco Crisp to Cleveland. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports confirms Adams’ report. Crisp, who has 10-and-5 rights, has waived them in order to facilitate a deal.

Crisp, 36, is owed the remainder of his $11 million salary for the 2016 season and has a $13 million option for the 2017 season that vests if he reaches 550 plate appearances or plays in 130 games this season. He has already played in 102 games and logged 434 PA, batting .234/.299/.399 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI.

The Indians are still looking to bolster the outfield. Michael Brantley is expected to miss the rest of the season, Bradley Zimmer may not yet be ready for the majors, and Abraham Almonte is not eligible to play in the postseason after testing positive for boldenone in February.

Wow! Zach McAllister kicks a line drive into the air, catches it

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MLB.com
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I met some guy on a hike a couple of months ago who used to be married to a close friend or a cousin or something of Indians pitcher Zach McAllister. I forget the details but it was some tenuous relationship like that. No different than a lot of brush-with-fame stories you get from Triple-A towns like Columbus, where McAllister spent some time.

Anyway, the guy met McAllister a couple of times. They didn’t really talk about much but the guy said he remembers McAllister talking about just how hard baseball was. In terms of the skills required and the mastery of it even if you are blessed with those skills. And, of course, the mental strain of it all when you’re at that place, as McAllister was at the time, when your career can either be made or broken by what the big club thinks of you. He was 22 or 23 then, and if he hadn’t been called up soon, he might’ve gone from prospect to organizational guy and that’s a lot of money left on the table.

Anyway, the point of it all was that this guy I was hiking with — not a big baseball fan — was super impressed with McAllister and said he hadn’t thought about just how hard professional sports were to even the guys who are insanely gifted at playing professional sports. I don’t think most of us think about that as much as we probably should.

Then again, sometimes players make it look easy. Like McAllister did last night when he threw a pitch to Kurt Suzuki, kicked the line drive that was hit back to him into the air and caught it on the fly: