MLB free agency signings: Dioner Navarro returns to AL East

Brian Kersey

Signs two-year deal with Toronto Blue Jays.

Dioner Navarro has signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The deal will pay him $3 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The former Ray reinvigorated his career with the Cubs by slugging a higher number than he ever has before. Here is a quick rundown of Navarro's offensive career. All numbers are from FanGraphs.

Year PA wRC+ BB% K% ISO BABIP
2005 199 97 10.1% 10.6% 0.102 0.296
2006 302 78 10.3% 16.9% 0.101 0.292
2007 434 66 7.6% 15.4% 0.129 0.294
2008 470 105 7.2% 10.4% 0.112 0.318
2009 410 54 4.4% 12.4% 0.104 0.231
2010 142 51 8.5% 14.1% 0.065 0.223
2011 202 65 9.9% 17.3% 0.131 0.210
2012 73 96 2.7% 16.4% 0.159 0.321
2013 266 136 8.6% 13.5% 0.192 0.307

It's clear what Navarro was. He was a slap-hitting catcher with good control of his bat and a decent idea of the strike zone, but as with many weak-hitting players, pitchers were able to knock the bat out of his hands, leading to low BABIPs and poor ISOs. It's less clear what he is now. In 2012, it seemed like Navi was trading walks for power, but in 2013 the walks came back.

So is he the second coming of Ben Zobrist? A decent defender at a premium defensive position who at age 29 has finally learned that he can swing hard while still commanding the strike zone? Or is Navi a small sample size mirage poised for some hard lessons in the AL East? I'll go this far in terms of a bold prediction. Dioner Navarro will outproduce J. P. Arencibia in 2014.

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