Arizona needs catching help and Dioner Navarro wants to be traded away from Toronto after being pushed to the bench by Russell Martin, so why isn’t there a natural fit between the two teams?
Navarro is owed $5 million this season and Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com:
We can’t take on another $5 million, so that’s not going to work for us. The money doesn’t fit.
Tuffy Gosewisch is slated to be the Diamondbacks’ starting catcher, with either Gerald Laird or Blake Lalli backing him up. FanGraphs rated that group as the worst catching situation in all of baseball, so if the Diamondbacks aren’t willing to spend another $5 million to add a solid, readily available veteran like Navarro that says a lot about their expectations this year.
The Diamondbacks have a glaring need for a catcher as Tuffy Gosewich is slated to open the season as the everyday backstop. Oscar Hernandez, taken in the Rule 5 draft from the Rays, recently suffered a broken hamate bone and will miss six to eight weeks. As far as internal back-up options go, the D-Backs can choose from Gerald Laird, Peter O’Brien, and Blake Lalli.
GM Dave Stewart doesn’t sound like he’s going to make a deal to bring in a catcher. Per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Stewart said, “We’re not going to trade for a catcher. Some people think we are. We’re not.”
The D-Backs currently have a surfeit of starting pitching depth, as they’re auditioning Chase Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Allen Webster for the final two spots (as well as Daniel Hudson, potentially). Vidal Nuno was also in the running until today. It would seem like an obvious strategy to trade from surplus (specifically Cahill, who can become a free agent after the season) to address their catching problem.
Arizona has done little to address its catching depth since trading Miguel Montero, but Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Diamondbacks are bringing in journeyman catcher Gerald Laird on a minor-league deal.
Laird spent the past two seasons in Atlanta, hitting well in 2013 and poorly in 2014 while playing 2-3 times per week in both years. At age 35 he’d be stretched in a full-time job, but Laird has generally been productive in a backup role.
He’ll compete for a roster spot with the likes of Tuffy Gosewisch, Oscar Hernandez, and Matt Pagnozzi.