The Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball announced today that they have signed first baseman Efren Navarro.
Navarro had most recently been in the Cubs system, having played four games at the big league level but primarily working down in Iowa, where he has a line of .310/.386/.440 with four homers in 2018. He’s 32, and hasn’t done much to impress in 157 big league games scattered over six seasons, but he has shown a decent amount of success across 12 minor league seasons, with a combined line of .295/.364/.411. There was a time when a first baseman with good on-base ability but only doubles power could make a living in major league baseball, but this is not one of those times.
Originally an Angels prospect, he has spent time in the systems of the Angels, Mariners, Cardinals, Tigers and Cubs.
Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.
Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).
Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.
Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.