Three weeks ago, word leaked that the Chicago Cubs were set to sign 29-year-old catcher Jason Jaramillo to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite. And then, news on that front went silent.
But, because it was a minor league deal for a back-up catcher, there wasn’t a great deal of obsessing over whether he had finally been signed or not.
Well, your non-obsession was warranted, because the Cubs only just signed Jaramillo today. He’ll come to Spring Training, and presumably compete with AAA catchers Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo for the chance to back up Geovany Soto in 2012 … and replace the irreplaceable Koyie Hill. If he doesn’t win the job, presumably he becomes veteran depth in Iowa.
From the original Jaramillo post:
Jaramillo, 29, missed most of 2011 with elbow problems, and is a career .235/.293/.327 hitter over parts of three seasons in Pittsburgh, primarily as a back-up. He was dumped earlier this month to make room for pitcher Erik Bedard. He’s a switch hitter, and is solid defensively. As an all-around adequate, if unspectacular, back-stop, he makes sense on a no-risk, minor league deal.
Offensively, his numbers are better than former Cubs back-up catcher Koyie Hill (as are most pitchers’ numbers), who was finally, mercifully non-tendered by the Cubs a couple weeks ago. So at least there’s that. The bar for the Cubs’ back-up catcher spot has not been set particularly high since the days of Hank White.