The Cubs made a series of roster moves Saturday afternoon, resulting in veteran Chris Gimenez joining the MLB club. Victor Caratini has been sent to AAA Iowa to make room on the 25-man and Efren Navarro has been DFA’d to make room on the 40-man.
INF Efren Navarro has been designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/gJJF211ntJ
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 26, 2018
Gimenez will not catch Darvish Sunday, Maddon said. "That's not why he's here." Said move is about Caratini's development, but did acknowledge Gimenez may catch Darvish in the future.
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) May 26, 2018
The timing of the move is no coincidence, as Gimenez has a June 1st opt-out in his contract if he was not on the MLB roster by then. The Cubs are almost certainly going to reunite Gimenez with Yu Darvish at some point, who he caught plenty of for the Texas Rangers, but the opt-out clause is the driving force behind the timing of this move. Since Victor Caratini hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire (and can get regular playing time in Iowa), the Cubs want to see what Gimenez can bring to the MLB group rather than letting him opt out. Given the early season struggles from Darvish, though, it’s also worth seeing if a reunion with a more familiar backstop can have any positive impact on Yu’s overall performance/comfort level. As far as his bat is concerned, Gimenez has not inspired in Iowa slashing just .224/.316/.276 with no home runs.
As for Caratini, the 24 year-old has done a solid job as the backup to Willson Contreras thus far in 2018. Caratini posted a .262/.304/.308 line in 69 plate appearances this year at the MLB level. He deserves praise as well for filling in at first base for a few games during Anthony Rizzo’s stint on the DL. Given the need to make a move with Gimenez by June 1st anyway, the Cubs likely don’t mind Caratini getting regular playing time in AAA rather than spending most of his time on the bench in Chicago behind Willson Contreras.