As the Cubs continue to circle the runway in a holding pattern, which isn’t the same as circling the drain no matter how horribly you think they’re going to botch this winter, a few names keep coming up. One of those is catcher Christian Vázquez, who was traded from Boston to Houston at the deadline and ended up winning his second World Series in the process.
Though he figures to be a below-average offensive producer, Vázquez fits what the Cubs are looking for in a catcher because he’s an excellent game manager who sets the tone for the defense. As Ken Rosenthal noted in his latest “What I’m hearing” column for The Athletic, the only run Astros opponents scored in the 33 postseason innings Vázquez caught came on a solo homer from fellow catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Rosenthal listed the Cubs, Cardinals, Padres, Guardians, and Twins as having interest in Vázquez, adding that the Astros would like him back in more of an even split with Martín Maldonado. The Cubs already have Yan Gomes and might not automatically cede a lion’s share of innings to Vázquez after seeing how well the staff responded to Gomes, so you do have to wonder whether the Cards and others would have an advantage in that regard.
Money and time will also be a factor, as Vázquez is believed to be targeting at least a three-year deal. The Cubs certainly have a need beyond the coming season because Gomes has just one guaranteed year left and we’ll assume the team will buy him out for $1 million rather than pick up his $6 million option for 2024. Miguel Amaya is far from a guarantee, so establishing some continuity at the position is key.
To that end, Amaya is on the mend following his late-season shutdown due to a Lisfranc fracture. Mark Gonzales tweeted Monday that the catcher is walking with a boot and is scheduled to run in a pool later in the week. As good as that is to hear, Amaya has logged just 270 total professional plate appearances since 2019 and desperately needs to get a full season under his belt.
Given how quickly the market is moving, I have to think the Cubs try to get something done here soon.