Chicago Cubs Rumors: Christian Vazquez and Omar Narvaez discussed
For the first time since 2014, the Chicago Cubs do not have a clear answer at the catching position. Willson Contreras is a free agent for the first time in his career and after declining the qualifying offer that the Cubs extended him, there appears to be a strong chance that Contreras, for the first time in his 14-year professional career, will no longer be a part of the Cubs' organization once the 2023 Major League Baseball regular season starts.
Scouring through the Cubs' depth at the catcher position throughout their organization and the team is extremely scarce at the position. Catching prospect Miguel Amaya's past two seasons have been riddled with injuries and Amaya has not fully caught a game since the beginning of the 2021 season where he appeared in 23 games with the Cubs' double-A affiliate in Tennessee before missing the remainder of the season due to undergoing Tommy John Surgery.
Amaya returned during the second half of the 2023 season with the Tennessee Smokies but was limited to being the team's designated hitter as he was continuing to work his way back from injury. Unfortunately, Amaya suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the season, and the injury thwarted the Cubs' plans to have Amaya return to catching duties during the Arizona Fall League.
Amaya's injury prevents the Cubs from being able to count on him as being a legitimate option at the catching position for the Major League team in 2023. Currently, the Cubs have veteran Yan Gomes and PJ Higgins on their active roster but it seems as if a lion's share of the catching duties for the team in 2023 will be handled by a catcher that is not currently on the team.
The Chicago Cubs must add a catcher this offseason.
To that end, Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic report that two free-agent catchers that the Cubs have discussed internally are Christian Vazquez and Omar Narvaez.
Vazquez would likely be viewed as an offensive complement to Gomes at the catching position for the Cubs in 2023. Baseball Savant ranked Vazquez in the middle of the pack in terms of pitch-framing skills last season in his catching duties with the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros but the 32-year-old did have a slash line of .274/.315/.399/.714 in 426 plate appearances.
On the contrary, Narvaez rated in the upper-80 percentile in regard to his pitch framing skills with the Milwaukee Brewers last season. 2022 was a down year offensively, though, for Narvaez as he had a slash line of .206/.292/.305/.597 in 296 plate appearances.