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Daily Dodger in review: The failed gamble on Dioner Navarro

November 20, 2011 | 12:36 pm

Dioner-navarro_600

DIONER NAVARRO, 27, catcher

Final 2011 stats: .193, five homers, 17 RBI, .276 on-base and .324 slugging percentages, seven errors.

Contract status: Free as a bird.

The good: Two of his five homers won games. Ah, that’s just about it.

The bad: Everything else? OK, that’s a bit harsh, but maybe only a bit.

He could not hit, which apparently came as a surprise to no one but the Dodgers. He was sporadic behind the plate. He did not work hard. He took up space that belonged to A.J. Ellis, who could have used the experience now that he’s in place to be the Dodgers’ primary catcher in 2012. And the Dodgers paid Navarro $1 million, even though one else seemed interested.

What’s next: Navarro is open for business. Of course, he’s been open for business since the Dodgers released him Aug. 23. Wonder if they figured out why no one picked him up?

He’ll only be 28 in February but his career looks over.

The take: Imagine the shock — shock, I say — that Navarro did not pan out. General Manager Ned Colletti has a thing about his backups being veterans (see: Matt Treanor), but this was a poor idea from the moment it formed as the smallest kernel of a thought.

Navarro had one good fluke season in his seven major-league seasons. Otherwise, he’s proven a major disappointment. He hit just .194 for the Rays in 2010, then got churlish about not being added to their postseason roster.

He came back to the Dodgers last season and hit .193. He was a consistent fellow. Though he never proved a problem in the clubhouse, his lack of dedication to his difficult position finally proved his undoing with the Dodgers.

The day after they cut him, Manager Don Mattingly let it be known he was  disappointed Navarro had failed to put in the work and time required to be a good player. So to his list of failings, add work ethic.

Maybe being cut hit home with Navarro, he gets a non-roster invite to some team, puts in the work and makes a club. And maybe not.

— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dioner Navarro watches his home run soar into the stands in the eighth inning to beat the Houston Astros, 1-0, at Dodger Stadium on June 19. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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