Look for the pattern: The Chicago Cubs signed outfielder David DeJesus in November after season in which DeJesus struggled with injuries and failed to live up to his career averages for the Oakland Athletics in 2011. Shortly after signing DeJesus, the Cubs traded for Ian Stewart. Stewart is coming off of a dismal 2011 season that saw third baseman spend more time away from the major leagues due to poor play and a wrist injury. Then in the recent Sean Marshall trade, the Cubs acquired a 24 year old left handed starting pitcher in Travis Wood that suffered through a sophomore slump with the Cincinnati Reds last season.
The pattern is that Theo Epstein and company are looking over the free agent and trade markets for players that have achieved some form of success at some point in their careers, but after a poor 2011 season, are determined to have a bounce back season in 2012. The Cubs’ latest addition falls under that category.
According to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, the Cubs are set to sign former Pirates’ catcher Jason Jaramillo to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. The 29 year old Jaramillo has a career line of .235/.293/.327/.620 in 119 career games. From that standpoint, Jaramillo is no different from former Cubs’ catcher Koyie Hill. However, despite being injured for most of the 2011 season, Jaramillo did show some progression. Jaramillo hit .326/.356/.595/.751 with the Pirates last season in 43 at bats.
The addition of Jaramillo likely ends the Cubs theoretical pursuit of free agent catcher Jason Varitek. Jaramillo will likely compete with the likes of Wellington Castillo and Steve Clevenger for the honor of being Geovany Soto‘s back-up for the 2012 season. On the off chance that the Cubs trade Soto at some point this off-season, Jaramillo may serve as a veteran back-up to Castillo.
The Pirates had non-tendered Jaramillo a few days after they finalized a contract with free agent starting pitcher Erik Bedard.