Chicago Cubs: Focusing on experience and leadership
AJ Ellis, a 10-year veteran of the league, doesn’t look like he’s 38 with the numbers he’s put up in recent years. Ellis slashed .272/.378/.344 with the San Diego Padres in 66 games this season.
He lacks power but posts a 14.2 percent walk rate as a hitter. Like Contreras, Ellis’ RAA is -10.3 in 2018. The veteran would be a good offensive bat off the bench but his pitch framing is not much better. This makes it pretty unlikely the team goes with him given Contreras’ defensive liabilities.
A familiar face
The idea of bringing back Rene Rivera after a nice stint with the Cubs in 2017 isn’t out of the picture. His RAA was 0.1 in 2018 and he did post a .419 slugging percentage in just 91 plate appearances.
With the Cubs, Rivera slashed .341/.408/.591 in 20 games for the Cubs two years ago. It’s a small sample size but really good numbers for a backup catcher in a very limited role. Furthermore, he didn’t play at all in June or July and only appeared in three games in September. The Cubs will surely need someone more durable, even as a backup catcher.