Jul 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro (30) hits a single against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees Trade Target: Dioner Navarro

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With the trade deadline just a few weeks away, teams are beginning to send out feelers regarding whether they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline. Amid an unfortunate season, the New York Yankees don’t appear to be giving up just yet. If they make a move at the deadline, they will likely be buyers. One player that they should take a gander at is current Chicago Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro.

Navarro would be an upgrade over Chris Stewart. (Image: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

At the time of this writing, the Cubs find themselves at 41-50, good for fourth place in the NL Central. It seems as though 2013 will be another lost season for them as they look to rebuild and regain some sort of glory. Because of this, the Cubs have reportedly put Navarro on the trading block.

The Yankees have been in need of a catcher ever since Francisco Cervelli went down with an injury early into this season. For months now, they have been playing with Chris Stewart as the starting catcher, and Austin Romine as his backup.

Stewart, you can say, has exceeded expectations. But since he has never truly been an every day guy, his offensive output has taken a hit. He is currently batting .246 with three home runs and 13 RBI. What more could you really expect from a catcher who, for the majority of his career, has been a backup?

That said, if the Yankees really do want to contend and make a solid push for the playoffs down the stretch, is Chris Stewart really the guy you want behind the plate? He is good defensively, yes, but with all the injuries that the Yankees have suffered this season, they really need more production at the plate.

That’s where Navarro comes in.

Navarro has shared time at catcher this season with Wellington Castro. He hasn’t been a backup, per say, but he hasn’t been the everyday guy either. Navarro has found himself playing in 46 games as opposed to Castro’s 69. However, Navarro has arguably been better than Castro offensively.

Navarro is batting .288 with eight home runs and 19 RBI. Certainly those are superior numbers to Stewart’s. Better still, 15 of Navarro’s RBIs have come with runners on base, with 11 coming when they are in scoring position. He is batting a scorching .310 with runners on this season, whereas Stewart is only batting .270. Four of Navarro’s home runs have also come with runners on base, as opposed to Stewart whose three home runs have all been solo shots.

Sabermetric-wise, Navarro has a wRC+ this season of 141, meaning that he generates runs at a 41% better rate than your average player. Stewart only has a wRC+ of 75, meaning that he generates runs at a 25% lesser rate than your average player. Therefore, we can say that Navarro generates runs at a 66% better rate than Chris Stewart.

The Cubs signed Navarro this past offseason to a one-year deal, making him a free agent at the end of the season. It’s safe to say that because of that, Navarro could be had for a very minimal cost.

Acquiring Navarro would be an upgrade over Chris Stewart, who would then once again become the backup catcher, effectively replacing Austin Romine, who has been awful offensively. With the setback that Francisco Cervelli suffered in his rehab, we don’t know when exactly he will be back. Until that time though, Navarro would be a better option as starting catcher than Chris Stewart currently is. He could also be had for less than say – Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies, a name that the Yankees have been linked to over the past few weeks.

To put it simply, Navarro is probably the best option that the Yankees have right now if they are looking to acquire a catcher at the deadline.r. Chris

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