Cubs

Catcher looks like next trade-deadline move for Cubs: ‘We have a lot of hooks in the water’

Catcher looks like next trade-deadline move for Cubs: ‘We have a lot of hooks in the water’

Adding a veteran catcher sounds like the next trade-deadline move for a Cubs team built around pitching and defense and Willson Contreras’ almost unlimited supply of energy. 

“We have a lot of hooks in the water right now,” general manager Jed Hoyer said before Tuesday’s 7-2 win over the White Sox at Wrigley Field. “But whether or not something happens soon, I’m not sure.”

The Cubs aren’t hunting for a big fish, because Contreras has already become one of their most valuable players, a dangerous cleanup hitter, a physically gifted thrower and receiver and an eager student when it comes to the team’s sophisticated game-planning system. Just look at how Contreras set the tone by launching a Carlos Rodon fastball 417 feet onto Waveland Avenue for a three-run homer in the first inning. 

With that in mind, the Cubs are not as high on Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila as some reports indicate. The Cubs also don’t have Jonathan Lucroy near the top of their list, sources said, because the Texas Rangers catcher needs to play regularly to be effective and would ideally go to a situation where he could showcase what made him a two-time All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers and recoup some free-agent value after a disappointing walk year (.632 OPS).

Leading up to the July 31 deadline, the Cubs are actively looking at backup plans where rookie catcher Victor Caratini would return to Triple-A Iowa – where he hit .341 in 69 games before Miguel Montero’s epic rant – and become a September call-up. 

If the Cubs stay focused on a veteran backup who will only play once a week, A.J. Ellis could make sense. The price would be less than $1 million in salary and wouldn’t cost a top-tier prospect. The Miami Marlins are sellers and Ellis – who used to work as Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher – knows the pitching infrastructure catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello helped design for the Cubs after their time together around Brad Ausmus with the Los Angeles Dodgers.    

“We’re still in that process,” Hoyer said. “I think some teams prioritize timing. They have a bunch of deals they need to make, and so they’ll say: ‘OK, we’re going to move this guy by Thursday.’ Sometimes it happens…right now, we’re kind of sorting out that. 

[MOREWillson Contreras may be ‘the f------ Energizer Bunny,’ but Cubs still need to get another catcher before trade deadline]

“But a lot of this time of the year is about timing. Unless the team prioritizes moving early, then usually things aren’t going to happen for another four or five days.”

This sounds like a matter of when – not if – but the Cubs won’t rush to get their new catcher in uniform before this weekend’s showdown against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

“If it happens, that’s great,” Hoyer said. “But otherwise it’s kind of a false deadline. You want to careful not to react to that. You don’t want to do a deal for a couple games.” 

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: