Seemingly each year, the Cubs sign a veteran minor league first baseman to play the position at Iowa (a position where you’re unlikely to have a top prospect stationed in any kind of permanent way). The signing is designed to protect against a long-term injury to big league first baseman Anthony Rizzo. But, well, Anthony Rizzo is never injured.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 10, 2018
Navarro, 31, has spent time in the upper minors and big leagues with the Angels and Tigers, and also spent some time in the Mexican league in recent years. He generally always hits reasonable well at AAA (120ish wRC+), but has managed just .243/.306/.334 at the big league level.
Navarro’s numbers in Spring Training this year with the Cubs were not strong (.234/.275/.362), but it feels like he was hitting the ball very hard. I remember so many times thinking, “whoa, who just smoked that ball?”
In any case, Navarro isn’t being called up to be the everyday starter at first base in Rizzo’s absence. In fact, he might not start there at all this week. Instead, he’s being brought up for his lefty bat to lengthen the bench a little bit. Ben Zobrist and Victor Caratini figure to make most of the starts at first base.
Navarro was not on the 40-man roster, so he has been added, and that roster now stands at 39.