Chicago Cubs: The backup catcher role needs a legitimate answer
The infamous Yu Darvish trade opened up two pretty big holes on the roster for the Cubs. Losing Darvish obviously took away the team’s true ace, but giving up Victor Caratini has also proven to be a big blow as well. Caratini spoiled us all with his solid play as Contreras’ backup for the better part of three seasons, and the club has been unable to fill the void thus far in 2021.
The Cubs have used four different backup catchers this season and none have been even marginally effective. Austin Romine took nine at-bats this season before being put on the 60-day IL, Tony Wolters was DFA’d twice, PJ Higgins was put on the 60-day IL and the Cubs are now down to Jose Lobaton. Chicago needs to find an actual backup so that Contreras doesn’t have to play every day, and Max Stassi is a perfect fit.
Stassi has been a very solid defender this season, with Baseball Savant putting him in the 63rd percentile of framing for catchers. He’s also been very good at the plate in his limited at-bats this season, slashing a very strong .310/.395/.577 over 81 plate appearances. Stassi has been a very good backup catcher for a couple of years now with the Angels and given their struggles in the bullpen, the Cubs are a perfect match for a deal as the North Siders are suddenly flush with reliever depth.