In a move that comes as something of a surprise, the Cubs have named Victor Caratini the backup catcher over the more seasoned Chris Gimenez. In announcing the decision, Joe Maddon admitted that it’s not conventional in light of Caratini’s need to develop further. He did, however, leave the door open to a change down the road.
Surprise roster decision: Caratini chosen over veteran Gimenez for backup catcher job. Gimenez to Iowa. For now.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubMLB) March 24, 2018
If Caratini isn’t getting enough at-bats with the Cubs, they could make a change and send him back down to Iowa in order to get more regular playing time. After taking a few moments to think about it, I’m guessing that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Maddon admits its unconventional keeping the younger catcher. Says if he’s not getting enough at bats they’ll make a switch down the road
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) March 24, 2018
In fact, this move may be as much about the Cubs showing their faith in Caratini and sort of rewarding him, if you will. Gimenez is a vet and knows the score, so perhaps it’s one of those deals where they told him that he’ll just need to bide his time in the minors for a little while. Making the 25-man roster is surely a big deal for Caratini, even if his role will be very limited.
Ed. note: There’s also the matter of keeping a spot open on the 40-man roster in case they Cubs see fit to add someone else here as other teams cut players loose. Gimenez is on an minor-league deal, so he’d have to be added to the 40-man in order to be active.
Either way, this leaves the final bullpen spot as the only unknown on the roster as we march closer to Opening Day.