Cubs sign veteran catcher Navarro for one year
Contract worth $1.75 million for former All-Star, who will back up Castillo
CHICAGO -- The Cubs added a veteran backup catcher on Friday, signing free agent Dioner Navarro to a one-year, $1.75 million contract that could pay him an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses.
Navarro, 28, has played for the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays and Reds, batting .290 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 24 games last season with Cincinnati. He split the year between the Reds and their Triple-A Louisville team.
The addition of Navarro gives the Cubs some experience at catcher behind Welington Castillo, who got his most extensive playing time last season, batting .265 in 52 games. Castillo is projected as the Cubs' regular catcher next season.
Steve Clevenger is another option for the Cubs at catcher after batting .201 in 69 big league games.
A switch-hitter, Navarro batted .327 against right-handed pitching last season and has averaged one extra-base hit per 11.3 at-bats against left-handed pitchers.
He was a 2008 American League All-Star with the Rays -- and also a teammate of Cubs pitcher Matt Garza in Tampa Bay. In '08, he batted .295 and was the youngest starting catcher on an AL pennant winner since the Orioles' Andy Etchebarren (23) in 1966.
Navarro has thrown out 25.7 percent of baserunners looking to steal in his career (112-for-435), the 11th-best percentage of any catcher in the big leagues starting in 2004.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.