Well, the Cubs certainly seem like they're going to stay active this week, though their first move since the holidays is anything but earth-shaking. The Cubs are close to signing ex-Pirate catcher Jason Jaramillo to a minor league deal. Jaramillo has lifetime numbers of .235/.293/.327 over 3 years and 366 PAs.
Jaramillo is a switch-hitter who hits better from the left-side. He's a solid defender with a strong arm and calls a good game. He's one of those catchers that pitchers seem to like throwing too -- which I'm sure brings you flashbacks of Koyie Hill.
It's expected he'll compete for a spot with rookies Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo, though he is likely going to serve more as an emergency veteran backup should the Cubs lose Geovanny Soto to either trade or injury. Both Castillo and Clevenger have the advantage of already having a spot on the 40 man roster, so logistically it's easier to keep either of the young catchers and keep Jaramillo in AAA until he's needed.
It also crossed my mind that Steve Clevenger could be compensation to Boston for Theo Epstein or to San Diego for Jed Hoyer. If that were the case, it would create a roster spot for Jaramillo and allow the Cubs to send Castillo to AAA to catch everyday, possibly in preparation for a Geovanny Soto trade down the road. In that scenario, it would make more sense to have a veteran, solid defensive catcher as your backup if you're going to start a rookie.
Whatever the case, it certainly seems like the Cubs have depth at catcher now with 4 backstops who are MLB ready or close to it, so a future move with one of the catchers seems likely.
In another minor move, the Cubs signed former Rays RHP Andy Sonnastine. According to MLBTR,
The Cubs have agreed to sign Andy Sonnanstine to a non-guaranteed split contract for the 2012 season, the team announced. The Rays non-tendered Sonnanstine earlier this month rather than give him a raise his second time through arbitration.
Sonnastine is a pitch-to-contact guy with good command and control when he's healthy. His stuff is bottom of the rotation caliber, but he can provide some depth in the starting rotation, something the Cubs desperately lacked last season.
Filed under: Transactions