Chicago Cubs appear to be set behind the dish in 2014


Sep 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher

Welington Castillo

(53) chases Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop

Jordy Mercer

(not pictured) in a rundown during the fourth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Cubs were often connected to catcher Kurt Suzuki, who recently signed with the Minnesota Twins as Joe Mauer transitions to first base, it appears the team has performed due diligence in replacing the loss of Dioner Navarro, who departed via free agency after the season.

In a market that lacks many mid-range catching options, Chicago signed former Royals backstop George Kottaras to back up Welington Castillo, who had a bit of a breakout campaign in 2013.

Hitting .274 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs, Castillo emerged as the clear-cut starter to handle a Cubs pitching staff that over performed by most measures, credit for which goes to both pitching coach Chris Bosio and the man behind the plate. He slashed .274/.349/.397, providing much-needed offense out of his spot in the order, while also throwing out 29 percent of would-be base stealers.

Castillo has knee surgery in November, but is expected to be 100 percent by the time Spring Training begins in a little under two months.

The 30-year-old Kottaras was signed to back up Castilo, a role he has become accustomed to in recent years. The former 20th round draft pick is familiar with the NL Central, where he played with Milwaukee for several seasons earlier in his career.

He slashed just .214/.324/.406 last season, but threw out 26 percent of attempted base stealers in 46 games, on par with his career mark of 27 percent.