The Cubs seem pleased with their catching tandem of Yan Gomes and Miguel Amaya heading into 2024, but we've seen the importance of depth at the position on more than one occasion in recent years - and with that in mind, Chicago is bringing in veteran backstop Jorge Alfaro on a minor league contract.
The deal includes an invite to big league spring training and gives the Cubs some insurance behind Gomes, who turns 37 in July, and Amaya, who has battled injuries in his young career and has just 53 MLB games under his belt to this point.
Cubs gain catching depth, but little else, in the Jorge Alfaro signing
Alfaro, 30, spent the 2023 season seeing limited action with both the Rockies and Red Sox, limping to a dismal 31 OPS+ at the plate in 52 trips to the plate. He's just a year removed from a 92 OPS+ with the Padres, but he's not going to be a guy who contributes much with the bat. He strikes out too much and doesn't walk enough - and the best case scenario seems to be that he runs into a few here and there.
Defensively, he's pretty unremarkable, as well, grading out as essentially at average or below average in most Statcast metrics outside of pop time. Again, this isn't a move that should impact the big league club in a significant way - but it's critical to have depth at this position, as Chicago saw last year after the Tucker Barnhart signing failed spectacularly.
Chicago is pretty clearly banking on another productive year from the seasoned Gomes who will continue to mentor Amaya who, at this point, looks like the team's best hope long-term behind the dish. Early reports on catching prospect Moises Ballesteros are promising, but he's not likely to be MLB-ready until 2026.