As Chicago Cubs return to Mesa, it will be interesting to see how things pan out for the team before the regular season begins. Not only that, it’ll be interesting to see players the North Siders have traded with their new teams – both in Arizona and Florida.
Arguably one of the most memorable trades from the offseason, if not the most notable, was the trade that took place back in December when the Cubs sent Yu Darvish and battery mate Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres. In exchange, the North Siders received righty Zach Davies and a quartet of prospects. Looking back on this trade, there is no denying that losing Yu Darvish meant losing one of the best pitchers in the game.
In fact, the loss of Darvish was so detrimental that Dodgers lefty and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw shared his thoughts on the transaction. While Kershaw is correct about the loss of Darvish, there is another part of the deal that many people tend to overlook is the impact of the Cubs trading away backstop Victor Caratini.
Former Chicago Cubs backstop Victor Caratini will be dearly missed in 2021
Caratini, 27, was acquired via trade with the Atlanta Braves at the 2014 July 31 trade deadline. From there, he was assigned to Kane County, which was previously a Cubs’ affiliate in the Midwest League, and he steadily progressed through the Cubs’ system. Then, Caratini made his major league debut in 2017 and became Wilson Contreras’ backup catcher in 2018.
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Caratini had a fantastic 2019 season with Chicago slashing .266/.348/.328 with 11 homers. This was the season where he earned the role of Darvish’s personal catcher. Caratini was a critical piece that former manager Maddon commonly used off the bench in 2019. This can be attributed to the fact that he can play multiple spots on the infield. It should be noted that the switch-hitter started a bunch of games at first base and has had some playing time at third base.
Victor Caratini brought a lot to the table for the Cubs
Heading into 2020, it looked as if Caratini would improve even further following his breakout 2019 season. Additionally, with the news of universal designated hitter for 2020, the Cubs even planned on using Caratini for the DH role on days he wasn’t catching Darvish. Besides his great offense, Caratini was also always praised for his defense, especially his pitch-framing skills.
Despite high hopes for his 2020 season, Caratini had a down year. Like many other Cubs,’ it was one of the worst of his career as he slashed .241/.333/.328 with one home run. Many players had a down year in 2020, and it would not be surprising if Caratini bounced back in 2021. Over the four total seasons he spent with the Cubs, he slashed .250/.327/.372 with 15 home runs in 240 games.
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Considering Victor Caratini’s talent behind the plate both offensively and defensively, there is a lot to miss about the 27-year-old backstop. While Caratini is no longer with Chicago, hopefully, he is successful with the Padres this upcoming season and throughout the rest of his career.