Cubs sign Dioner Navarro to one-year contract

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I started writing this post assuming the Cubs had signed catcher Dioner Navarro to a minor-league deal, but now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that it’s actually a major-league deal worth $1.75 million.

Navarro is a 28-year-old former All-Star, but not much else about him suggests $1.75 million is a worthwhile investment. He’s hit just .215 with a .594 OPS in 251 games since making that All-Star team in 2008 and spent most of this season at Triple-A.

Prior to signing Navarro the top two spots on the Cubs’ catching depth chart belonged to Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger, so presumably he’s now the favorite to back up Castillo.

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.