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Rays retain Navarro despite Shoppach trade

Dec 12, 2009, 11:09 PM EDT

Dioner Navarro was thought to be a likely non-tender candidate following the Rays’ trade for Kelly Shoppach, but instead the two sides have agreed to a one-year, $2.1 million contract that will keep him in Tampa Bay.
It remains to be seen how the Rays plan to divvy up the playing behind the plate after Navarro started at least 100 games in each of the past three seasons, but Shoppach’s presence and likely higher salary make it clear that the incumbent won’t approach triple-digit starts in 2010 after batting just .218/.261/.322 for the worst OPS of any AL hitter with 400-plus plate appearances.
Navarro is a switch-hitter who’s been significantly better against right-handers and Shoppach is a right-handed hitter who’s been significantly better against left-handers, so they would form a pretty nifty platoon. However, given that Shoppach’s career OPS tops Navarro’s lifetime mark by nearly 100 points it seems likely the Rays will give the newcomer every opportunity to claim primary catching duties, potentially making Navarro an expensive backup or trade bait.

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