First baseman/outfielder Efren Navarro is now on his third team in three months, signing a minor-league deal with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.
Navarro spent nearly a decade in the Angels organization, including several brief stints in the majors, before being traded to the Orioles in January. He was then designated for assignment and opted for free agency, choosing to start fresh with the Mariners.
Navarro has had limited success in the majors through age 29, hitting .246 with one homer and a .627 OPS in 130 games. However, he’s a career .300 hitter in nine seasons as a minor leaguer, including .316 with an .832 OPS in more than 500 total games at Triple-A. If given a chance he could find a niche as a part-timer versus right-handed pitching.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”