The Cubs’ busy Friday continues.
Ross has been connected to the Cubs ever since they were identified as contenders in the Jon Lester free-agency sweepstakes this offseason. The two players were teammates in Boston for two seasons, with Lester sporting a 2.77 ERA and .651 OPS-against when Ross was behind the plate (29 games).
Last season, Lester’s ERA was even lower — 2.02 — when Ross was catching. Small sample size, but with A.J. Pierzynski behind the dish, Lester had a 6.00 ERA in three games.
Ross’s offensive skills are certainly nothing that will get you excited. The 37-year-old is a career .233/.318/.435 hitter, with his production seriously declining over the past two seasons.
But he should be a good receiver and is said to have very solid framing skills, in addition to the veteran leadership presence he will bring.
For those of you counting, that’s two catchers acquired in one day, after the Cubs claimed Ryan Lavarnway from the Dodgers earlier today.
If you weren’t convinced Welington Castillo’s days were numbered before, it’s probably time to accept it. I, for one, thought the Cubs might keep Castillo around after missing out on free-agent Russell Martin, who ended up signing with the Blue Jays.
But then the Cubs traded for Miguel Montero, and today picked up two right-handed-hitting catchers. So now the question is just a matter of Where’s the Beef going? The Rockies have been rumored to be looking for a catcher to displace Wilin Rosario, so maybe that’s a possibility.
Earlier in the offseason, Gordon Wittenmyer wrote that Castillo might be a good fit with the Phillies.
The Cubs most likely can sit back and try to find the best offer though. There aren’t a lot of catching options out there, so hopefully they’ll be able to pry away a nice player for Beef, who is still young and presents some offensive upside.
Once the Ross deal is finalized, the Cubs will need to clear a spot off the 40-man roster. I’m not sure what it means for Lavarnway’s future with the team, as he very well may have been insurance in case Ross decided not to come to Chicago.
I like these small complementary moves the Cubs have made recently after the acquisitions of Montero and Lester. I still assume Jonny Gomes is a possible next step, but will the Cubs make one more splash-worthy move this offseason? I hope so.