Contreras looks to be the anchor of the staff
It all starts with the catcher. The success of any pitching staff needs a quality backstop to help lead them. Last season, the Cubs had veteran David Ross mixed in with Miguel Montero and Contreras. It was a three-headed catching monster that worked for the Cubs, mainly due to the versatility of Contreras and his ability to play the field. Depending on how you look at it, the Cubs will once again have a third catcher on the roster in Kyle Schwarber. You can save the “he’s not a catcher” talk because for now, he is.
Contreras caught a good portion of last season once he came up, picking up three out of five starts behind the plate. But the biggest question now will be his ability to catch Jon Lester, who has had his “security blanket” in Ross retire. The familiarity Ross had with Lester was something special. Now, it will be up to Contreras to build that with Lester. The talent and the arm are there, it’ll be forming the trust with Lester that he had with Ross.
Schwarber is returning to catching duties slowly after his injury, working just two to three days a week behind the plate. What–or if–he has a role as a catcher this season is yet to be seen. At the worst, he’ll be the Cubs “emergency catcher”. Montero and Maddon appear to have squashed their issues and are looking towards the future. Miggy is likely to catch Jake Arrieta as he did last year, but outside of that, we’ll have to see.