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Chicago Cubs: Breaking down the team’s catching options

Aug 1, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (right) and starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (left) celebrate their victory over the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. Cubs won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (right) and starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (left) celebrate their victory over the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. Cubs won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 1, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (right) and starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (left) celebrate their victory over the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. Cubs won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Cubs lost a veteran backstop this offseason in David Ross. Heading into 2017, who is the best choice to handle the team’s pitching staff on a regular basis?

A career-long backup catcher, David Ross stepped into the spotlight in a big way with the Chicago Cubs last season. He was not only Jon Lester‘s personal battery mate but helped lead the team in tough times.

Taking both Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras under his wing, Ross left the dugout as a champion. Although he stayed with the organization in the front office, his departure changes how the Cubs will set the lineup on a daily basis.

Conteras, heading into his first full big-league season, appears to be the front-runner for the starting gig. Veteran Miguel Montero, entering his last season under contract, will also see plenty of action.

The big question mark is Schwarber, who made a historical comeback last fall after sustaining a devastating knee injury last April. Will he catch at all? If so, how will the Cubs control the workload on his surgically-repaired knee?

Each man brings his own assets to the position. Schwarber and Contreras both showcase powerful offensive skills, while Montero has years of experience behind the plate. Is Joe Maddon willing to hand the reins over to Contreras full-time after leaning on him in the postseason or will he rely on Montero to help guide and coach the young duo in his last season?

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