Navarro's agent: Talks at impasse, respect matters; Rays cite "track record"
UPDATE, 4:15: Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman responded to the comments by Navarro's agent:
"Our policy is to not comment on negotiations. Navi is an important part of our team. We've shown our commitment to our young players through the many multi-year contracts we've signed with our young and arbitration-eligible players, and our track record in that area speaks for itself.''
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Talks with Dioner Navarro on a multi-year deal have stalled and agent Kendall Almerico said this morning the resumption of negotiations, as well as the catcher's long-term future with the team, may depend on whether the Rays treat him "respectfully" in Monday's scheduled arbitration hearing.
"It appears that we have reached an impasse and that we will be going to arbitration on Monday,'' Almerico said. "After that, I hope to resume negotiations on a long-term deal so Navi can play in Tampa for the rest of his career. But that may depend on how the Rays present their case and whether the Rays treat Navi respectfully at the hearing as Navi has instructed us to treat the Rays throughout this entire process.''
Navarro, arbitration eligible for the first time, is under the Rays' control for this coming season and the next two, and thus won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season.
He seeks $2.5-million for the upcoming season, the Rays have offered $2.1-million. If they go to the hearing on Monday in Phoenix, both sides will present their cases and the arbitrator will pick one of the figures, with no compromise.
The Rays are also negotiating with INF Willy Aybar on a two-year deal to avoid his upcoming hearing.