Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's search for a backup catcher ended today with signing free agent Dioner Navarro.
According to reports from his agent, via MLB Trade Rumors, the Cubs have inked nine-year veteran catcher Dioner Navarro. Terms of the deal are not yet available, but it is likely to be a one-year deal. (UPDATE: Jon Heyman reports it's a one-year deal for $1.75 million)
Navarro is pretty much the definition of a journeyman, as he's played for the Yankees, Dodgers (twice), Rays and Reds. He has a .245/.306/.357 lifetime batting line, with 41 home runs over nine seasons. He was once considered the top prospect in Yankee organization back in 2003, but he was shipped out to the Dodgers in a three-way deal in the 2004-2005 off-season that included Randy Johnson and Shawn Green.
From 2007 to 2009, he was the starting catcher for the Rays, catching over 115 games in each season. He was a 2008 American League All-Star.
Last season, the 28 year old Navarro played 24 games with the Reds and hit .290/.306/.449 in 73 at bats. He also played 62 games for Cincinnati's Triple-A farm team in Louisville where he hit .319 with five home runs.
The Venezuelan will likely serve as Welington Castillo's backup, although he could end up as the starter if Castillo stumbles. In the past Navarro has been considered an average to below average defensive catcher, although his skills seem to have been improving over the past couple of years. That's common with catchers as they get more experience behind the plate.