Cubs: Chicago identifies potential replacement for Victor Caratini

The Cubs traded Yu Darvish’s personal catcher to the Padres as a throw-in with their ace.

The Cubs are clearly in rebuild mode (or retooling, as surely Jed Hoyer would point out), and are shedding high-priced talent at whatever cost. That included Darvish, who finished as a Cy Young finalist just this past year. Yet, at 34 years old, Darvish wasn’t in the Cubs long-term plan, and with his exit also decreases the important of Caratini.

Chicago is shopping Willson Contreras as well, thus making their decision at backup catcher all the more important. An easy replacement for Caratini can be found on the free agent market in backstop Jason Castro.

Castro is a bargain buy in every sense of the word

Per The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, Castro is a Cubs target.

It’s a diminished strength after the Padres received Darvish’s personal catcher, Victor Caratini, in the seven-player deal. In terms of next moves, the Cubs have shown interest in Jason Castro, sources said, viewing the veteran catcher as a good defender and a possible left-handed-hitting complement to Contreras. Castro — a one-time All-Star and former first-round pick out of Stanford — has gone to the playoffs with the Astros, Twins and Padres.

Castro last made the All-Star team in 2013 — a season that’s proven to be an outlier for him, in which he hit .276 with 18 home runs. Since then he’s hovered around the Mendoza line, proving to be more of a defensive stalwart behind the plate than anything. He can certainly manage a young pitching staff, if that’s the direction the Cubs are indeed going.

Cubs fans are in an unfamiliar position, thinking not just about which player puts them in the best position to succeed, but also taking into account the financial flexibility the Ricketts’ family clearly needs to build a contender, fair or not.

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