Almost unnoticed (except by me, most likely), this Cub signing was announced today:
The Chicago Cubs have signed former RiverHawk Kevin Ciarrachi to a minor-league contract. The catcher, who played 2002-05 in Rockford, finished last season with Joliet of the independent Northern League.
Now, why should I particularly care about this, a signing which usually rates one line of agate type?
Yes, that's right -- that's my friend Dave, who owns the RiverHawks and sits with us in the bleachers; I've known Dave since Kevin and his brothers were toddlers.
I'm very, very happy for Kevin, who is a personal friend and who has had tremendous bad luck in his professional baseball career. He was a 17th-round draft pick of the Mets in 1999. He played in two games and got hurt, then got let go the following year. He was signed by the Pirates and got hurt again, several times. Many of the other catchers with whom he played in the Pittsburgh organization -- J. R. House, Ryan Doumit and Humberto Cota -- have all played in the major leagues. You can click on the Baseball Cube link above to see his professional playing record.
If Kevin has a good spring, he'll probably be the backup catcher at AA, or maybe even at Iowa. He's an excellent defensive catcher, and you can never have too many of those. Incidentally, while he was playing for San Diego in the Golden League last summer, one of his teammates (briefly) was Jose Canseco.
Wish Kevin luck. He's a good person in addition to being a good ballplayer, and all of us who know him want him to succeed.