Ken Rosenthal reports that the Milwaukee Brewers are close to acquiring catcher Omar Narváez from the Mariners in a trade. The deal is not yet done, but Rosenthal says that Seattle will receive at least one minor leaguer in exchange.
Narváez, who will turn 28 just before pitchers and catchers report, would fill the hole left by the departure of Yasmani Grandal. At least on offense, that is, as Narváez hit a pretty sweet .278/.353/.460 (120 OPS+) with 22 homers in 132 games last season. The year before, in 97 games, he posted an OPS+ of 119 and he has been an above average offensive catcher for his entire four-season big league career.
He is a pretty dang limited defensive catcher, however, and that may be putting it kindly. He’s below average in throwing out baserunners, allows a lot of passed balls and wild pitches — which, despite being charged to the pitcher are quite often the fault of the catcher as well — and he has poor pitch-blocking and pitch-framing numbers. There’s a reason he appeared as a DH in 22 games last year.
Still, given that the Brewers’ current catching depth chart is 1. Manny Piña; and 2. No one, it’s a pretty decent pickup for Milwaukee.