The Cubs today revealed that rookie catcher Victor Caratini has won the backup catcher job to start the season over veteran Chris Gimenez. However, the Cubs said that they will revisit this decision later if Caratini struggles in the role.
Veteran Gimenez was signed this offseason after having played for manager Joe Maddon with the Rays and having previously caught Yu Darvish in Texas. He was considered insurance in case the team felt that rookie Victor Caratini would need more work in the minor leagues.
Gimenez struggled at the plate in Spring Training, hitting just .206/.282/.294 in 40 plate appearances. Caratini was somewhat better at .243/.391/.378 in 46 trips to the plate. However, the word on Caratini coming into this spring was that he struggles defensively and with handling a pitching staff. Gimenez was brought in as a defensive specialist to fill-in where Caratini was thought of as weak. However, Caratini must have impressed the front office enough with improved defense to be entrusted with the job backing up Willson Contreras.
Gimenez will now head to Iowa, where the Cubs will keep him in reserve until needed. Even if Caratini turns out to be a quality receiver, one of the biggest truths of the game of baseball is that catchers get hurt. Gimenez is almost sure to see some time in Wrigley Field later this season.
The final open spots on the Cubs Opening Day roster seem to be in the bullpen, and there is a little bit of news there.
#Cubs still want to make sure Strop is ok before announcing final list of relievers. He's scheduled to pitch tonight— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 24, 2018