We have already seen Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz, Brayan Pena, and Geovany Soto sign free agent contracts, and now it appears that another catcher is about to go off the board.
While Navarro isn’t a big name, he’s coming off a career-best season in which he batted .300/.365/.492 with 13 homers over 266 plate appearances with the Cubs. He came into the year with a .663 career OPS, which makes him a bit of a risk, but he should do quite well for himself in free agency. He’ll turn 30 years old in February.
As for who could be the mystery team, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported over the weekend that the Marlins had expressed interest in Navarro. The Blue Jays, Twins, and Rockies are among the other teams believed to be in the market for catchers this winter. That the Red Sox aren’t involved for Navarro could be further indication of a Jarrod Saltalamacchia return.
Update (5:04 PM EST): The White Sox will receive pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning from the Nationals, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. MLB Pipeline rated them No. 1, 3, and 6 in the Nationals’ minor league system.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals are close to acquiring outfielder Adam Eaton from the White Sox. He notes that outfielder Victor Robles, the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is not included in the deal.
Eaton, 28, is signed to a very team-friendly contract. He’ll earn $4 million in 2017, $6 million in ’18, and $8.4 million in ’19. His controlling team then has a club option worth $9.5 million in 2020 with a $1.5 million buyout and a $10.5 million club option in ’21 with a $1.5 million buyout.
This past season, Eaton was worth 3.9 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference after playing significantly above-average defense while batting .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 706 plate appearances.
If the deal goes through, the Nationals would move Trea Turner from center field to shortstop. Meanwhile, the White Sox continue their teardown after trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox on Tuesday.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Marlins have signed veteran catcher A.J. Ellis to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
Ellis, 35, began the 2016 season with the Dodgers but went to the Phillies in the Carlos Ruiz trade near the end of August. Overall, he hit .216/.301/.298 in 196 plate appearances.
Ellis will back up J.T. Realmuto behind the dish.