Cubs are ready to pass the torch to Miguel Amaya behind the dish

The former top prospect continues to draw rave reviews - including from his new manager, Craig Counsell.

2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

Once one of the most highly-regarded prospects in the Chicago Cubs system, catcher Miguel Amaya was almost universally lauded for the work he did after making the jump to the big leagues last summer - and that hasn't changed as he and the team get ready for the 2024 season down in Arizona.

“It puts us in a good position with two guys that we know can handle a big part of the load," Cubs manager Craig Counsell told the Sun-Times. “How it all shakes out —look, we recognize what Yan has done in this league, what he did last year. But know that . . . if we get in a situation where something happens, that Miguel is ready to take that next step.”

Gomes is entering the final season of the three-year, $18 million deal he inked with the Cubs prior to the 2022 campaign. Given he turns 37 this summer, it's plain he isn't going to be a solution behind the dish much longer. Amaya emerging as a legitimate long-term option for the team would alleviate a big concern. Jed Hoyer could bring back Gomes as a backup in 2025 or look elsewhere, but not having to find a new everyday backstop would be a win for everyone involved.

Miguel Amaya represents the Cubs' new focus behind the plate

Amaya, like Gomes, represents the organization's shift in how it approaches catchers on the field following the departure of Willson Contreras. For years, the position was very offensive-minded, with Contreras able to overcome some of his defensive shortcomings with a strong throwing arm. Now, though, it's all about run prevention and game-calling. Given the reviews Amaya has received from the pitching staff, it's safe to say he checks both boxes in a big way.

Now, there's probably more in the bat than we saw last summer as he adjusted to big-league life and learned a new pitching staff on the fly. But even if he's just a league-average offensive player who excels in game-calling and strategy, he could become a staple behind the plate on the North Side for years to come.