Chicago Cubs: Looking at potential backup catchers on the market

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: Two starkly contrasting options

Martin Maldonado is one of the best defensive catchers in the game, known for his pitch framing abilities. He came in at 6.0 RAA this year, a dramatic improvement over Contreras’ -12.4 RAA. Of course, the latter gets away with that because of what he’s capable of at the dish – and by relying on his cannon of a right arm.

Like Caratini, Maldonado struggles offensively. The 32-year-old catcher hit .232 in 2018 but did hit nine home runs and 18 doubles in 404 plate appearances. He also brings playoff experience from his time as a member of the Houston Astros this season.

If Contreras gets back on track with the stick, having a defense-first style backup may not be the worst thing for the Cubs.

A guy who seems to be running close to empty

Brian McCann is now 35 and pretty clearly seems like he’s near the end of his playing career. He’s also coming off a horrendous season where he slashed .212/.301/.339 in 63 games.

His pitch framing is also trending down after posting a -2.4 RAA in 2018. Still, as a backup catcher, he presents a presence off the bench that includes plenty of playoff experience over a long career.