Cubs sign Dioner Navarro, Garza cleared to resume something

Continuing with the Cubs tradition of signing relatively safe picks for next to nothing, the Cubs have signed Dioner Navarro to a 1-year, $1.75 million contract. might say this is a good sign, but I'm just wondering why they're paying him that much money. ;

Dioner Navarro spent most of 2012 in the Reds minor leagues and signed for only $0.8 million. The year before in Los Angeles he earned $1 million. It seems rather odd that a backup catcher who isn't very good these days would earn a contract worth as much as he made over the previous two seasons. Unless there was a long line of teams waiting to sign Navarro to something higher than $1.5 million, it's difficult for me to understand.

That said, it's only $1.75 million. With the exception of 2008, Navarro has basically been a replacement level player or worse. Over the last 4 years he's been worth -1.0 WARP, -0.5 fWAR and -0.6 rWAR.

Dioner Navarro is the new Koyie Hill except he makes more money. In fact, he makes only about $150,000 less than Koyie Hill earned with the Cubs in 3 seasons.

Matt Garza received some good news on his elbow. He's officially cleared to resume doing whatever it is that pitchers in the offseason do.

CHICAGO — Cubs pitcher Matt Garza was given the go-ahead to resume his normal offseason routine in preparation for Spring Training after getting a clean scan on his right elbow, the team announced Thursday.

Garza, who turns 29 on Nov. 26, was shut down after his July 21 start because of a stress reaction in his right elbow. He underwent a scan this week that revealed he was healing as expected, and he was cleared by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo to resume his workouts.

Hopefully that lasts. I'm not as skeptical as some are about his health. I figure his injury wasn't that severe and if it was one that required surguery it almost certainly would have been done already. So I don't think there's any reason to think it's more severe than we've been told.