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Rays claim outfielder Daniel Nava off waivers

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The outfielder will be under team control for two more years.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have claimed outfielder Daniel Nava off waivers from the Boston Red Soxaccording to Jon Heyman on twitter, and confirmed by Tampa Bay times beat reporter Marc Topkin, who added that Nava would likely join the team on Friday..

Nava, who turned 32 this year, has spent time on the disabled list with a strained thumb, and has struggled in the 78 plate appearances that he has received. Over that time he has produced an average/on-base/slugging slash line of .152/.260/.182. He's been hurt by a very low .200 BABIP and a .030 isolated power, both of which are bad, but it should also be noted that Nava's strikeout and walk numbers—the statistics most likely to be truthful in a small sample size—are in line with his career norms. He's walked 10.3% of the time and has struck out 21.8% of the time.

More worrying is Nava's 2014 campaign where his isolated power was .091 over 408 plate appearances.

There's no word yet on who Nava will replace on the roster, according to Topkin.

However, the player currently on the team to which Nava is most similar is left-handed outfielder and pinch hitter Grady Sizemore, who is also 32 years old. While Nava is a switch hitter in theory, he's had dramatically better results from the left-hand side of the plate, facing right-handed pitching

PA wRC+
vs. LHP 348 59
vs. RHP 1179 120

He's been 40% below average against lefties, and 20% above average against righties. That qualifies him for a very specific role.

Nava's speed is likely declining as he ages, but according to UZR he's been about an average corner outfielder defensively, and he's also gotten some time at first base where he's graded as above average.

That versatility will give Kevin Cash the ability to get his bat into the lineup against righties when needed, which will make Nava a nifty pickup if he actually has anything left in his bat. If so, the Rays will have him under team control for two more years. If not, they'll have paid around $600K for an experiment, and won't feel to bad about it.