It sounds like it's now or never for Cubs catcher Miguel Amaya to step up

Cubs GM Carter Hawkins made it clear this weekend: the team expects Amaya to take on a larger leadership role in 2024.

San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

With Yan Gomes in the final leg of his three-year deal and set to turn 37 this summer, his future past the 2024 season is understandably murky. The next man up on the depth chart, of course, is former Cubs top catching prospect Miguel Amaya, who made his big league debut last season.

In a weekend appearance on Inside the Clubhouse on 670 The Score, Cubs GM Carter Hawkins touched on Amaya and his role this year - and, by the sounds of it, they're expecting the soon-to-be 25-year-old backstop to take big steps forward on and off the field in an expanded role.

"This is an opportunity for him to really step up and really be a part of the leadership of this team and there's no better person to learn that from than Yan Gomes ... Excited about him ... really taking that next step in his career and establishing himself as a catcher we can build around in the future."

Carter Hawkins on Miguel Amaya

Cubs hoping catcher Miguel Amaya can seize the opportunity in 2024

Amaya, who had all of 15 games at Triple-A under his belt before making the jump to MLB last summer, held his own for the most part, but clearly has room to improve if he wants to establish himself as the heir to Gomes and a long-term solution at the position.

He graded out as an above-average framer behind the plate, but was average to below-average with almost every offensive metric, culminating in a .214/.329/.359 (86 OPS+) in 156 plate appearances. If he continues to be a quality receiver for the pitching staff, the Cubs will be OK with soft offensive numbers - but that would likely necessitate another catcher coming in next year to form a tandem with Amaya, rather than the team simply handing him the starting job moving forward.

The Cubs' fate in 2024 may very well depend on how their young talent performs. Amaya is a key piece of that puzzle, along with guys like Michael Busch and Pete Crow-Armstrong, so it'll be all eyes on them as camp gets underway this month and the season gets rolling at the end of March.