When Victor Martinez injured his left knee in 2012, Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski moved quickly to find his replacement. Less than two weeks after Martinez was diagnosed with a torn ACL, the Tigers signed then-free agent Prince Fielder to a nine year, $214 million contract.
This year, Dombrowski may be moving quickly again. According to Jeff Blair of SportsNet, the Tigers have expressed interest in trading for Dioner Navarro, a 31-year-old catcher from the Toronto Blue Jays. Navarro, who turned 31 today, hit .274/.317/.395 with 12 home runs and 69 RBI in 520 plate appearances for the Jays last season. However, the club signed Russell Martin to a five year, $82 million contract earlier this offseason, making Navarro an expendable trade asset.
Navarro started 102 games at catcher for the Blue Jays last season, and also made 19 appearances as the team's designated hitter. A career .255/.313/.375 batter, the switch-hitting Navarro has a .760 OPS in 859 plate appearances for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, and Blue Jays in the past three seasons. He is in the final season of a two-year contract and is owed $5 million in 2015.
Navarro's experience as a catcher could provide the Tigers a lot of flexibility if Victor Martinez is out for an extended period of time. However, he may be better served as a designated hitter. Navarro was one of the worst pitch framers in baseball last season, and has thrown out just 28 percent of attempted base stealers in his career.
Blair reports that the Blue Jays are interested in receiving a pitcher in return for Navarro, presumably one that could help them in 2015. The Tigers have a plethora of low-upside, high-floor arms in the high minors that could help the Blue Jays this season, though it remains to be seen if they are willing to part with any of their starting pitching depth.