Chicago Cubs: The clock is ticking on finding a new backup catcher

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

Time is of the essence for the Cubs when it comes to their catching search.

So far, the offseason has been nothing short of a wild ride for the Chicago Cubs. Last week, the North Siders traded their ace Yu Darvish and his battery mate, Victor Caratini for Zach Davies and four prospects. While the big name associated with the trade was Darvish, the team also lost a valuable asset when it came to Caratini.

Currently, the Chicago Cubs have two-time All-Star Willson Contreras slated to be their number one catcher option. But, given Jed Hoyer’s vision towards the future and rebuilding, Contreras’ future with the Cubs remains uncertain. When it comes to Miguel Amaya, the 21-year old prospect has been crushing it in the Puerto Rican winter leagues. However, Amaya will need to further develop before we see him in the big leagues.

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With that being said, the Chicago Cubs lack catching depth, to say the least, and are going to need to be on the lookout for some. One way that the team can do this is through free agency. Luckily, this offseason’s free-agent market has a number of decent catchers left, besides Yadier Molina and J.T. Realmuto, who are experienced but also expensive backstops expecting large sums. While there are options out there, they are going fast.

For example, catcher Curt Casali would have made a great addition to the North Side. However, he had just been signed to a one-year major league contract worth $1.5 million with the San Francisco Giants. Casali, 32, was non-tendered this offseason by the Reds after three seasons with the club. Between  2019 and 2020, Casali slashed .244/.340/.435. When it comes to his defensive capabilities, Casali has above-average framing skills.

There is no denying Casali would have been a great addition to the Chicago Cubs. He has seen both offensive and defensive success and as a 32-year-old with years of experience in the majors, he would have brought a veteran presence to the clubhouse. Not only that, Casali could have even hypothetically acted as a trade chip, if and when Jed Hoyer and the rest of the front office decided it was time for Amaya to make his major league debut.

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So with Casali off the board, the Cubs will have to keep scouring the market for Caratini’s replacement. He was just one instance of a guy who could fit the team’s need – but I wouldn’t suggest taking a wait-and-see approach here. The position is just too important, especially with a potential trade of Contreras coming in the next year.