The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a one-year contract with switch-hitting catcher Dioner Navarro, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The White Sox quickly jumped on Navarro after the team made Tyler Flowers a surprise non-tender on Wednesday night.
“We’re looking to improve the club offensively at a number of positions, and this move was part of potentially doing that at catcher,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said of parting with Flowers on Wednesday night.
Flowers underwent right knee surgery in October and will have to get healthy and look for a new team. The 29-year-old slashed .236/.292/.356 with nine home runs and 39 RBI over 331 at-bats in 2015. His numbers were most likely affected because of the cartridge damage in his right knee. The right-handed hitter should not have a problem finding a team.
Navarro will join Alex Avila as the catchers who replace Flowers and Geovany Soto, who both spent time behind the dish in 2015 with Chicago. Avila signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal last week. Navarro, a switch-hitter, will be used in a platoon situation because Avila is only left-handed hitter.
As a 28-year-old, Avila slashed .191/.339/.287 with four home runs and 13 RBI over 67 games during an injury plagued 2015 season with the Detroit Tigers. Avila and Navarro will look to help lead the White Sox over the Tigers in the American League Central Division next season.
“Seven years is a long time in this game to be in one place, so there are a lot of relationships I have there,” Avila said. “It will actually be nice to be able to see everybody off the field.
“At the same time, I can’t wait to kick their ass.”
Since Avila can not do it on his own, the White Sox added Navarro. The 31-year-old native of Venezuela signed as an amateur free agent in 2000, playing for the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. The catcher will take his talents to the White Sox for the 2016 season.
With the Blue Jays last season, Navarro hit .246 with seven doubles, five home runs, 20 RBI and a .682 OPS over 54 games played. In 2014, he logged 12 home runs and 69 RBI over 139 games in Toronto with a starter role.