Chicago Cubs Rumors: Is the team shopping Victor Caratini?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Despite his intrinsic value to the Chicago Cubs, could the team be auditioning Victor Caratini as a multi-positional trade chip ahead of the deadline?

When the Chicago Cubs opted to part ways with Chris Gimenez in lieu of Victor Caratini, most fans believed the move was long overdue.

Sure, Gimenez brought the veteran aspect to a still-young Cubs roster. Not to mention, he had served as Yu Darvish‘s personal catcher in Texas. That alone made him an attractive get (and a precursor to the actual Darvish signing). But, he struggled in very limited chances with the Cubs as Caratini lit up Triple-A pitching.

In 32 games with the Iowa Cubs, he put up an .887 OPS – courtesy of a .313/.409/.478 slash line. With him hitting so well down in Iowa, keeping him there became increasingly difficult and hard to defend. Coupled with the fact Darvish remained on the DL and Gimenez, unfortunately, became expendable.

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In a similar sample size (33 games) with the big league club, Caratini carries a .671 OPS. In my mind, that’s more than enough offensive production from a guy meant to give your primary catcher a blow every five days. But, with Anthony Rizzo struggling again, we’ve seen Caratini’s role evolve.

In fact, he’s played nearly as many games at first as he has caught. He’s gone from primarily a young backup catcher to a corner infielder/catcher combination. His versatility brings great value to the Cubs. Make no mistake. But, with the team reportedly seeking arms at the deadline, his value as a trade chip may be even higher.

Caratini as a trade chip?

Recently, a report hypothetically connected Chicago to the New York Mets and ace Jacob deGrom. I personally cannot see this come to fruition. More likely, I believe the Cubs will add a back-end/depth type guy.

In other words, a deal that could be centered around a decent catcher, but far from one of the best talents in the league. You could flip someone like Caratini for a decent arm – someone to eat innings and provide stability given the struggles and injuries affecting the rotation.

But, should the Cubs deal Caratini, then what? Who backs up Willson Contreras. Sure, he’s an All-Star, but even All-Stars need a day off from time-to-time. That leaves you with someone like Taylor Davis as a back-up. Or, the team goes out and signs a catcher somewhere (a far likelier option).

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This is all purely speculation.

There’s no indication Victor Caratini will be traded this month. But dismissing it out of hand is foolish, especially as his role expands from simply a catcher a multi-positional talent. And, at that, one who continues to put together good at-bats at the Major League level.