Dodgers finally give up on Dioner Navarro, call up A.J. Ellis
Toss the confetti, the blue and white variety if handy.
The odd, misguided, what-are-you-thinking Dioner Navarro experiment has mercifully come to an end.
The Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon did what they should have done back in the off-season, calling up catcher A.J. Ellis from triple-A Albuquerque. To make room, they designated Navarro for assignment.
Exactly why Navarro was ever here in the first place was only slightly less mysterious than how the Egyptians built the pyramids. How he was an upgrade over Ellis required some particularly skewed glasses.
He was a switch-hitter! Right, a particularly bad one.
This is not something I mention after Navarro hit .193 for the Dodgers, but back when they signed him coming off that sterling .194 season with Tampa Bay. Say what you will about Navarro, but he was consistent.
It’s not that Navarro was a bad guy or popped attitude. He was actually very good in the clubhouse. On the field, however, he was one small step ahead of useless.
And it’s not that Ellis screams star in the making, or even starter. But he is better behind the plate, gets on base more and works his butt off. He’s also 30 years old. Time to find out if he can fit in the plans at least as a backup.
Ellis was hitting .304 at Albuquerque with an .885 on-base, plus slugging percentage. In his 166 major-league at-bats, he’s .247 and .621. OK numbers but, incredibly, a clear upgrade.
The only odd thing about this decision is the timing, which on the surface is more bizarre than signing Navarro in the first place. They stuck with him this long. Why not wait another nine days and just call up Ellis when rosters expand on Sept. 1?
It could mean they’re going to call up Tim Federowicz, the catcher acquired in the trade for Trayvon Robinson last month, though that would require adding him to the 40-man roster.
These are different days for the bankrupt Dodgers, however, out of the race and casting an eye to the future, though wondering how they can with the team's ownership in crisis.
The immediate future, though, is a little better with Ellis here and Navarro gone. Cue the confetti.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Catcher A.J. Ellis was recalled from the minor leagues on Tuesday. Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images