baseball

Cubs Need a New Back-Up-Back-Up Catcher, Gold Shoes, Gobble Gobble, and Other Cubs Bullets

A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I am gonna zip through these Bullets so I can get back to the family, but I did want to say: Every year, I am reminded how thankful I am for this place. For the friends it has made me. For the job it provides me. For the great coworkers I get to write with. For the daily opportunity to just THINK about baseball. And for the very kind readers who keep coming back to read sappy paragraphs like this one.

  • John Hicks was an outstanding fourth catcher for the Cubs at Triple-A Iowa last year (behind Willson Contreras, Yan Gomes, and PJ Higgins), but he was never needed at the big league level, which I’m sure was disappointing at this stage in his career. It was the 33-year-old’s first non-pandemic season not reaching the big leagues since 2014. Hicks hit .261/.313/.510/112 wRC+ with Iowa, playing perfectly solid defense, and he was exactly what you’d hope to have at the ready at Triple-A in case of emergency. But the Cubs were able to cover their needs with the three guys who were already on the 40-man roster.
  • Which is all to say, Hicks is understandably headed off to a new organization, signing a minor league deal with the Phillies, who are very thin behind JT Realmuto. It’s a reasonable move for Hicks, who probably got a nice minor league deal in the process.
  • For the Cubs, that means they’ll have to find a new veteran-type Triple-A catcher to have at the ready, regardless of whether they add a 1A catcher to the big league roster. All else equal, you’d love to get that guy now (1) just in case you can’t add another big league catcher and Yan Gomes/PJ Higgins are it, and (2) while you might have the pick of the top options. But the flip side of that is that many of the better options are going to be trying to get big league deals until they can’t, and at that point they’re going to want to wait to settle into the best spot where they have a chance of reaching the big leagues. Since everyone knows the Cubs are trying to land a starter-ish catcher to pair with Gomes (and already have Higgins), I doubt any of the best minor league catching options are itching to sign with the Cubs just yet.
  • (And that’s to say nothing of the small chance that Miguel Amaya emerges so healthy and so ready by midseason that he would be the “next catcher up” in any case.)
  • I guess PCA is gonna win a Gold Shoe award now:
  • Cubs actually have multiple Gold Shoe winners over the last few years:
  • I get that the market is loaded with mid-rotation types, and there are a ton of ’em that I would like to see in the Cubs rotation. That might be where the Cubs end up, getting a couple of those guys. But that doesn’t change the fact that what the Cubs *NEED* is a true front-of-the-rotation impact type. They are rare. They are hard to get. But there are some available this offseason. Just sayin’.
  • The Brewers picked up a minor league free agent on a big league deal, though I will admit I don’t quite see it when I look at his minor league numbers:
  • Usually we see a handful of those deals (guys who are minor league free agents, but have so many good options that they can secure a 40-man spot). I think this is the first, though, and given the date, it might wind up the last.
  • The transformation to a Winter Wonderland at Wrigley Field:
  • In conclusion, something very stupid but fun:

Yam Gomes
Masched Mervis
Hayden Westurkey
Pumpkin Pie-a-Estrada
Michael Turducker
Seiya Suzucchini
Adrian Hamson
Javier Asalad
Rowan Thick Gravy
Marcus Stuffing
David “Cranberry” sauce
Christopher Mor-helpings
Ian Happy Thanksgiving

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