Major League Baseball just announced that the deal to send Toby Hall and Mark Hendrickson to the Dodgers has been finalized. Tampa receives catcher Dioner Navarro, right handed pitcher Jae Seo and a player to be named later.
Navarro was one of the prospects the Dodgers received in the three-way trade that sent Randy Johnson to the Yankees and Shawn Green to the Diamondbacks. Navarro is young (22) and is considered a very strong defensive catcher, that is yet to develop as a hitter. He was named the Yankees 2003 minor league player of the year after splitting the season between Tampa and Trenton where he hit .341 with 3 home runs in 58 games. He was considered the Dodger’s catcher of the future and had played 25 games in Dodger Blue this season batting .280 with 2 home runs and was considered expendable with the emergence of Russell Martin. Navarro recently spent a stint on the DL with a bone bruise in his wrist and when he was activated was optioned to AAA Las Vegas where his hitting .175 in 11 games.
Seo, 29 was traded to the Dodgers this past off-season after spending parts of the past 3 seasons with the Mets. This season he was 2-4 with a 5.78 ERA in 10 starts (19 appearances) with the Dodgers and had recently been demoted to the bullpen. Last season for the Mets he showed signs of brilliance, going 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 14 starts after a mid-season call-up.
As we stated earlier today, we understand the logic behind this trade. Both Hendrickson and Hall are arbitration eligible at the end of the season, which means the team will save $8-12 million in salary in 2007 that can be used to bring in one or two free agent pitchers. We are a bit concerned about the young pitching staff working without a veteran behind the plate. On the other hand, catcher is the one position where the Devil Rays lack a strong major league prospect. Trading for Navarro gives Tampa their starting catcher for the next 10 years. The addition of Seo makes the trade a more palatable. Seo has a bigger upside than Hendrickson although he has struggled this season. If Seo can rediscover his form from 2005, this deal could end up being a steal for the Rays.
As for the “player to be named later”…the Dodger’s most likely gave the Devil Rays a list of 3-5 minor leaguers, and the Rays have a certain number of weeks to scout those players and determine which one they want. Look for this player to be a low-level minor leaguer with marginal major league potential.
Rays acquire Navarro and Seo from the Dodgers [mlb.com]