Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava reflects on becoming a millionaire (and updates approach to switch-hitting)

Rob Bradford
January 30, 2015 - 2:59 am

Not bad for a guy who once got a check for $52 during his first year as professional baseball player. Daniel Nava's story isn't a secret: Cut from his college team, he became equipment manager; Cut from his independent league team, he was brought back to fill out the roster; Sold to the Red Sox by the Chico Outlaws for $1. But it is because of this path that taking stock of getting that one-year, $1.85 million contract he secured Thursday seems so important for the 31-year-old. (For details on Nava's contract settlement, click here.) "For every player it means something different," said Nava, who made $800 a month playing in independent baseball as recently as 2009. "If you sign a big signing bonus, you'€™re fortunate and it'€™s not as much of a big deal. But being that I didn'€™t have a big signing bonus, to have this opportunity, to me it means a lot to have this opportunity. It means I was fortunate to be in the league for three years and I honestly didn'€™t know if I was ever to have a chance to be in the league this long. It has a little bit more of a special place for me than it might have for someone else, and that'€™s not knocking someone else'€™s journey. To me, arbitration means a lot. So whatever the number was I almost look at it as an added bonus on top of bonus of just being in the league for three years. "I'€™m grateful the Red Sox have allowed me to play for them for three years. And I'€™m grateful to have the opportunity that the union worked so hard to allow this opportunity to be what it is. The players that have gone before have done a great job of allowing it to be what it is right now. That'€™s something we shouldn'€™t forget. I'€™m grateful I have this chance, I really am. So I don'€™t take it lightly one bit, especially considering all the things I was doing before I got this point." And now that he has settled his arbitration issue, Nava can fully turn his attention to the 2015 season. He continues to workout at EXOS (former Athletes Performance) in Phoenix, while flirting with the idea of altering his approach to switch-hitting. "Essentially, all I'€™m going to be doing different is just trying to see how lefty on lefty feels, but I'€™m still going to be working as a switch-hitter," Nava said. "I'€™m not going to completely give it up because I don'€™t know how I am going to feel doing it. But to clarify, I definitely have thought about going lefty-lefty. But I'€™m not fully committed to doing one side or another. I really have to see what lefty-lefty feels like. But I'€™m open to doing to hopefully get myself on the field more and be more productive."