Chicago Cubs: Breaking down the best contracts on the team
Chicago Cubs: Victor Caratini – one year, $592,000
This next choice may seem like a strange one, but it is one that flies under the radar of making sense. Victor Caratini became a catalyst for the Cubs in 2019, making the most of his time backing up Willson Contreras. He appeared in a career-high 95 games, leading him to post new career-highs in every offensive category.
Last season, in 279 plate appearances, Caratini slashed a much improved .266/.348/.447 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI. His strikeout rate stagnated from the year before, at 21.1 percent, while his walk rate grew from six percent to 10.4 percent, respectively.
Caratini was overall an above-average offensive player. He finished with a 108 wRC+, which is good for a back-up catcher, especially one who labored through his first two big-league seasons. Bouncing back in a significant way helped his case for the club, and his durability played an essential factor.
The Cubs struggled mightily outside of Caratini and Contreras last season, as Jonathan Lucroy hit .189, Taylor Davis hit .167, and Martin Maldonado went 0-11 in four games. Imperatively, Caratini took his back-up reigns and ran with it to be a strong contributor.
Caratini enters into his first year of arbitration next season and should remain the back-up for the time being at least. Right now, for above-average production from the back-up catching role, it is swell.