Dioner Navarro has agreed to a two-year, $8 million contract with the Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Navarro went from 24-year-old All-Star in 2008 to little-used, unproductive backup from 2010-2012, but the switch-hitting catcher put together a big season in a part-time role for the Cubs this year. He hit .300 with 13 homers and an .856 OPS in 89 games, compared to hitting a combined .215 with 16 homers and a .594 OPS in 251 games during the previous four seasons.
Rosenthal reports that Navarro “could grow into an everyday role” in Toronto, with Josh Thole backing him up and catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, which suggests 2013 starter J.P. Arencibia will be traded after a horrendous season in which he hit .194 with a ghastly .227 on-base percentage and .592 OPS despite 21 homers.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.