MLB News

Cubs Interested In Christian Vázquez, Omar Narváez

Christian Vazquez Eyeing More Playing Time

Earlier this week, catcher Willson Contreras was one of 12 players to reject a qualifying offer, officially allowing the Cubs to recoup draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. As a team that did not pay the competitive balance tax or receive revenue sharing, the Cubs would be entitled to an extra pick just before the third round. That seems to be their goal, as contract talks with Contreras never seemed to gain much momentum and they are now discussing other backstops such as free agents Omar Narváez and Christian Vázquez, according to a report from Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic. There’s nothing yet to indicate they have reached out to the players or their representatives, but the fact that other catchers have been “discussed internally” by the Cubs is nonetheless notable.

Since a Contreras reunion doesn’t seem to be in the cards, the Cubs are currently lined up to go into 2023 with three catchers on their 40-man roster: Yan Gomes, P.J. Higgins and Miguel Amaya. Gomes is a veteran going into his 12th MLB season, which will also be the second of the two-year, $13MM deal he signed with the Cubs a year ago. Once that deal was signed, speculation mounted that the Cubs were set to deal Contreras, though that didn’t come pass. Gomes took a step back at the plate in 2022 but was still solid on the other side of the ball. He hit .235/.260/.365 for a wRC+ of 73 but posted 5 Defensive Runs Saved in just 86 games. He could still be a factor for 2023 but he’ll turn 36 during the year and then become a free agent again, meaning he likely won’t be part of the club’s long-term plans.

Higgins, 30 in May, has done some hitting in the minors but hasn’t been able to transfer that to the big leagues just yet. In 83 career games, his batting line is .210/.291/.348 for a wRC+ of 83. He posted a -6 DRS behind the plate and actually spent more time at the infield corners, meaning he’s likely considered more of a third string/emergency catcher.

Amaya, 24 in March, could be a long-term solution but has question marks in the short term. He’s considered one of the club’s top 15 prospects by both Baseball America and FanGraphs. However, he dealt with forearm issues in 2021 and ultimately required Tommy John surgery. He returned to the field this year and got into 40 games in the minors but hasn’t played anything close to a full season since 2019 and has yet to reach Triple-A. It’s possible he gets to the MLB level in 2023…

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