Chicago Cubs: Evaluating the catching position going forward
Willson Contreras played in 128 games this past season, 116 of them at catcher (112 starts). He did miss some time due to injury but he eventually made his way back. As the one core player who did not get traded away, with just one more year of control, he can be expected to be the starting catcher next year. There is a possibility of a trade in the offseason, but for all intents and purposes we will assume Contreras will still be with the Chicago Cubs in 2022 for the time being.
Catching depth is going to have to be figured out for 2022. What would be ideal for the Cubs is to have a more stabilized catcher core that can play throughout the season. A combination of injuries, performance struggles and/or just the need to have someone fill in the position on the roster resulted in having a total of nine different guys catch for the Cubs in 2021. This includes Contreras, Tony Wolters, Austin Romine, P.J. Higgins, Robinson Chirinos, Jose Lobaton, Erick Castillo, Taylor Gushue and Tyler Payne.
Most of these guys are either older veteran backups or minor leaguers who came up to fill in toward the end of the year. While it did not really matter who was playing after the July sell-off, it will be more desired to see solidified depth in 2022 if they want to compete. Granted injuries happen but the Cubs will want to be better prepared for them. If there is one thing Cubs fans learned from the “Golden Days” of 2015-2018, is that having consistent reliable depth behind the dish is important.