When starting catcher Geovany Soto went down this week with an oblique injury, the Chicago Cubs had to scramble for a back-up catcher. And despite two adequately performing catchers at AAA Iowa – Steve Clevenger and Chris Robinson – the Cubs decided to look outside the organization.
The Cubs apparently tried to claim a catcher who was designated for assignment, but lost out. On Friday, Chris Coste was designated by the Phillies, and the Astros claimed him, so he could’ve been the one. The Cubs are looking outside the organization to find a backup while Geovany Soto rehabs from a left oblique strain. Soto could be sidelined a month. Muskat Ramblings.
Steve Clevenger is putting up a .286 / .321 / .357 line at Iowa after crushing at AA Tennessee earlier in the year. Chris Robinson is hitting a very nice .317 / .322 (um, heard of a walk much?) / .429.
So why exactly are the Cubs looking outside the organization for a backup catcher?
Clevenger is a converted catcher (only been there since 2007), and is fairly young at 23, so I can understand the reticence to turn over backup catching duties to him.
But Robinson was always noted as a defensive catcher, and he just happens to be hitting this year. Certainly the Cubs aren’t expecting a great deal of offense out of a backup catcher (see the current starter, Koyie Hill), so why the diss of Robinson? It’s really hard to figure.
Perhaps the answer is that the Cubs aren’t just looking for a temporary backup catcher. Maybe they’re hoping to land a temporary starting catcher who can become a backup when Soto returns. That would explain the looking around, though it, too, would be a bit strange given Hill’s excellent handling of the staff, if not excellent hitting.
Which, in my paranoid mind, makes me wonder how serious Soto’s injury is. It is a bit disconcerting that the status went from “he’ll probably be back this weekend,” to “immediate DL and probably out at least a month” following his MRI. Maybe the Cubs are afraid he’s toast for the year – or won’t be the same whenever he is able to come back.