Cubs poised to take three catchers into Opening Day?


It was only two years ago that Welington Castillo looked to be the long-term catcher for the Chicago Cubs.

However, after an off-year last year and the acquisition of Miguel Montero from Arizona – that is no longer the case.  There was a chance that he could just be the back-up to Montero but then the Cubs signed David Ross – who served as Jon Lester‘s personal catcher in Boston.

With mere weeks until Opening Night at Wrigley Field, who is poised to break camp with the club? What if all three players make the 25-man heading into the regular season?

There has been no shortage of reports and rumors of trades linking the Cubs’ former starting catcher to a new home – but there haven’t been any offers enticing enough to make the front office act.  Teams that have been mentioned include:  Arizona, Baltimore, Boston, San Diego and Toronto.  Insiders from those clubs have all stated that the asking price for Castillo is too high.

Other reports indicate that several of the teams tied to the Cubs’ Castillo are more in the market for a back-up option, something he isn’t often considered.

These noted rumors haven’t distracted Castillo from performing on the field so far in 2015.  This spring, he has played rather well so far. The backstop is batting .385 with a homer and two RBI in 13 plate appearances and has done better with throwing out runners.  Our own co-editor Jacob Misener wrote a piece earlier this spring about the Cubs potentially shifting Castillo – something he himself admits is an unlikely option – but still one worth nothing.

The Cubs could try to build a better rapport with Lester and Castillo while placing the longtime veteran Ross on the disabled list with a phantom injury – which would allow the team to keep him under contract should the chemistry never develops. The same situation could happen just to wait until the right offer comes from a team in need of the catcher and comes close to the asking price the Cubs are looking for.

While both of these scenarios aren’t ideal – they are options that should at least be kicked around by the front office and Cubs fans alike.

Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon likes Castillo and mentioned how impressed he is with the communication he has with the team to CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney recently.

"“He’s really good. I really mean it. I like Castillo a lot. He’s really opened up also in talking to guys and among the group, which is really nice to hear. There’s a lot of good stuff going on there.”"

Ideally you’d like to be able to keep all three – with that you take away from another position like an extra relief pitcher most likely.  Ross is 38 years old and doesn’t bring much to the plate with this bat, but you have to keep him around if that is, indeed, the best thing for Lester.  He also has the veteran presence a young club needs to have.

To me Ross should be the odd man out – but I’m sure he won’t be.  The player with the most value to the Cubs is Castillo both as a Cub and as a trading chip. As for the future, fate may decide which man is the odd man out – that is if the front office doesn’t dictate the outcome itself.

"“This game has a really cruel way of answering questions,” Maddon said. “Of course, guys are going to get hurt. Guys are going to get banged up, which is going to create situations.”"