The Chicago Cubs have had a problem at backup catcher all year. Injuries to Austin Romine and PJ Higgins as well as the general ineffectiveness of Tony Wolters have the team on their fourth backstop behind Willson Contreras. With Jose Lobaton showing very little worth behind the plate so far, it’s time the team picks up their fifth backup this year.
Erik Mauro already detailed why Wilson Ramos should be the Cubs’ main target behind the dish, but he recently joined Team Venezuela’s roster so the dream of the Willson and Wilson tandem might be dead. Another option just opened up though and he makes a lot of sense to replace Lobaton. Chance Sisco, a former top prospect of the Orioles, was recently DFAd and the Cubs should consider giving him a new home on the North Side.
Chance Sisco makes sense over Jose Lobaton for the Chicago Cubs
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Now, to be fair, Sisco doesn’t bring much to the table. Since coming to the majors, he flat out hasn’t hit and he currently sits with a career .199 batting average and an 80 OPS+. There were some flashes throughout his career, but never enough to inspire much confidence. As a backup, you mostly look for the defense which Sisco doesn’t provide much of. He’s been worth -21 DRS so far in his career and his framing is well in the negative, but he has at least thrown out six baserunners so far this year.
Picking up Sisco sounds like a questionable endeavor until you look at what Lobaton has done so far. In his 19 innings at catcher, Lobaton allowed six stolen bases and a passed ball. It’s mainly his unacceptable performance against the Marlins over the weekend that should give the team some urgency in finding a new backup.
While catching Jake Arrieta that day, he allowed five stolen bases and played a part in Kris Bryant dropping an infield pop-up for a run. It’s a small sample, yes, but such a poor showing shouldn’t be overlooked.
Lobaton’s performance in those 19 short innings already has him at -2 DRS. Sisco only has -1 in nearly 160 innings. The Cubs need to pick up Sisco because they simply have nobody else available capable of catching big-league pitching right now. They’re in a position where they need someone competent enough to give Contreras rest and I seriously doubt that Lobaton is.
With Ramos likely out of the picture, there are no great, easily available options behind the dish to back up Contreras. Sisco should be serviceable enough to get the Cubs’ All-Star off of his feet every now and then without fear of a critical meltdown. Perhaps they can find another backup at the deadline, but for now, the Cubs need to make do with what they can get.