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Cubs sign Josh Phegley to minor-league deal

A backup catcher is in the fold.

Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Some here (I’m looking at you, Deputy!) have been wondering who the Cubs might sign to be their “break glass in case of emergency” catcher, in other words, who would likely wind up starting at Triple-A Iowa and be available in case of an injury to Willson Contreras or Victor Caratini.

And now we have that answer!

Josh Phegley turns 32 next month. He was a first-round supplemental pick of the White Sox (38th overall) in 2009 out of Indiana — a fellow alum of Kyle Schwarber! — and made his MLB debut for the Sox in 2013. He hit three home runs in his first five MLB games, which sounds great except that overall in those games he was 4-for-20 with six strikeouts.

He was traded to the Athletics along with Marcus Semien, Rangel Ravelo and Chris Bassitt for Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa in December 2014. That one worked out pretty well for the A’s, I’d say.

In 376 MLB games, Phegley is a .227/.269/.383 hitter with 34 home runs in 1,100 at-bats. He’s very good at throwing out potential base stealers, 33 percent for his career, and per Statcast, is about middle-of-the-pack in pitch framing.

Including Friday’s earlier signing of Tyler Olson, the Cubs have (by my count) nine players currently on non-roster invites to spring training. We should get a full list fairly soon, I’d think.

Phegley’s a good veteran sign and likely won’t mind spending some time in Iowa this summer.


Josh Phegley!

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