Tampa Bay Rays former catcher Dioner Navarro joins Long Island Ducks

After taking a year and a half off from baseball, former Tampa Bay Rays All Star Dioner Navarro is back, having signed with the Long Island Ducks.

Former Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro had been a mainstay in the majors, a 13 year veteran who had bounced around from team to team. He was a solid veteran with a bit of pop and a strong throwing arm. A former All Star, Navarro was the type of catcher provided a contending ballclub with the type of veteran presence that was required behind the plate.

However, for the past year and a half, baseball has been the furthest thing from his mind. Instead, he left the game behind, using that time to care for his wife, who was battling a serious medical issue. Understandably, his career was placed on hold as he attended to his family.

Now, his wife’s medical problems have stabilized to the point where Navarro can make a comeback. He is taking that first step towards trying to return to the majors, having signed a contract with the Long Island Ducks, and will start playing again at the end of July.

The journeyman catcher has had some solid years over his career. An All Star in 2008, Navarro was one of the breakout players on a surprising Rays team that not only had its first winning season in franchise history, but made the World Series. That season, he produced a solid .295/.349/.407 batting line, hitting seven homers and a career best 27 doubles.

While he never quite reached that level of production again, Navarro settled in to a respectable career. He has a lifetime .250/.309/.370 batting line, with 77 homers and 142 doubles. Defensively, Navarro has been respectable as well, a virtually league average catcher in almost every possible metric. Navarro has become that backup catcher that, if he needs to start for an extended period, a team can feel comfortable with.

Should be perform well in Long Island for the rest of the 2018 campaign, it would not be a surprise to see Navarro get a contract in the coming year. Although he would be 35 years old at that point, he still has the type of profile that teams look for in a backstop, a solid veteran who has been through the playoff battles before.

Former Tampa Bay Rays All Star Dioner Navarro is getting ready to resume his career. With a strong showing in Long Island, he could return to a major league park in the coming year.