As a 50th-round draft choice, Salt Lake first baseman Efren Navarro has already beaten long odds.
Now what are the odds that that Navarro will match his newly minted minor league gold glove with the major league version while wearing a Los Angeles Angels uniform? The answer has more to do with business than ability.
It's all about Albert Pujols. No matter how well Navarro plays, he is not replacing the future Hall of Famer. Then there's Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, slugging first baseman all. It's quite the logjam as the Angels try to find each enough at-bats.
"As far as the possibilities of Efren going up, it's a tough situation," Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson said prior to the Bees' 8-4 loss to Tucson at Spring Mobile Ballpark. "There's no doubt in my mind that Navarro is going to go out and continue to prepare the best he can."
Navarro, who Saturday received one of only nine minor league Rawlings Gold Glove awards, is easy to root for. He's one of the good guys.
Doesn't matter. Last winter, when Pujols signed that multiyear, $250 million contract, suddenly the distance to the big leagues became much longer.
It would have been easy to stew.
"Pujols is a tremendous player ... why not learn from him?" Navarro said. "At times this spring we were in the same work group. Why not pick his brain?
"As a player, I have to just control what I can control."
Naturally, Navarro wants to play for the organization that drafted him. However, there are also 29 other teams on the lookout for talent.
"I try to be aggressive," said Navarro, who committed just three errors in a team-record 1,357 chances. "I use the word fearless."
Fearless is snagging a slicing one-hop bullet and firing strike to third to gun down the lead runner, like he did Friday, one of several plays that justified his gold glove.
Navarro, now also peerless among all the first basemen in the minor leagues, seeks more hardware.
"My goal is to have one in the bigs," he said.
And that just might take another business deal, one involving another big league team.
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Storylines Tucson 8, Salt Lake 4
R Salt Lake centerfielder Mike Trout has two singles and has at least one hit in each of the Bees' 10 games this season.
• Tucson scores three runs in the second and three more in the ninth.