Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez injury proves how valuable team’s depth is
By Jake Misener
Willson Contreras is the man – but who assumes the load after?
Last season, Willson Contreras could’ve garnered MVP consideration if not for his late-season injury. He still finished the year with an .855 OPS, setting career-highs in runs, hits, home runs, RBI and WAR.
This year, he’s the clear-cut starter behind the plate. Chris Gimenez, one of Chicago’s offseason pick-ups, will likely back him up. But do you really want someone like Gimenez, a career .218 hitter, going out there 4-5 times a week as your main starter? Probably not.
Still, he’s insurance policy number one. Especially given his past experience working with Yu Darvish. Thankfully, the Cubs have several homegrown backstop options in the minors who could assume big roles should Contreras fall to injury.
The most obvious? Victor Caratini, who put up a .400 on-base percentage in nine games with the Cubs last year. Prior to the Cubs’ signing of Gimenez, it appeared the team’s eighth overall prospect would finally have a clear path to the Majors.
Behind the plate, Chicago has plenty of young options. But if they lost Contreras long-term, no one would be surprised to see a Rene Rivera-type signing as we did last season, either.