Don’t count out Daniel Nava


I counted out Daniel Nava after the 2011 season. My bad.

Nava is a baseball survivor who was undrafted out of college and started out in the Independent Leagues. Even his first team, the Chico Outlaws, cut him after a tryout. Eventually he became an Outlaw and was sold to the Red Sox for a dollar. One buck.

The heroics of 2010 followed with that memorable grand slam at Fenway on the first MLB pitch he ever saw. In baseball dreams come true and so do nightmares. Boston eventually cut him from the 40 man roster and he got the DFA. No one wanted him so it was back to Pawtucket.

In 2013 Nava returned and it was quite a return slashing .303/.385/.445 for Boston and just doing everything asked on offense and defense. 2014 became a different story.

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A horrendous beginning on the season resulted in another exile to Pawtucket. Eventually Nava returned and found the groove of 2013 that he had lost finishing up at .270.

Nava is not going to win a stolen base title or a Gold Glove. His outfield and 1B skills are passable. Nava’s arm strength is average at best. Nava can have production at bats or can look lost at the plate.

So what do the Red Sox do with Nava?

In my crystal ball – the same one that predicted Jake Peavy would win 15 games in 2014 – it says keep him. Nava is a baseball Phoenix that has risen from baseball ashes on two occasions. But he can play.

Nava can fill in an outfield slot – preferably a corner slot. Nava did play a game in center that is best forgotten. Nava also took his reps at 1B and a nice career .322 shows his offense manages at 1B. DH presents no problem as Nava has hit .281 in limited time. Just keep him away from left-handed pitching (.209) and pinch-hitting (.152).

The Red Sox need left-handed bats according to those in the know and that is where Nava’s offensive strength provides some measure of security with a career slash of .293/.385/.428 and 18 of his career 23 home runs.

However the Red Sox do have that continued glut in the outfield. The word on the street seems to say Mookie Betts will play somewhere and bat in the number one slot. Shane Victorino is the 13M man for 2015 so he’ll be around unless a buyer is found. Brock Holt can provide the left hand bat and more versatility. Allen Craig is under contract for what seems forever and selling means selling low. Signs may just point to another Nava exit.

A guy like Nava is what players, fans and media refer to as “a gamer.” Being a nice guy and a solid teammate means squat unless you produce. Nava has produced. He’ll hustle and do what is asked. This is the type of player that you like to have around.