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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.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Hmmm, I thought it was a done deal way back in 2011.

  • die hard

    elbow problems!!??!!….I frickin give up…cant Theo find someone who is healthy, not a has been or never will be, and with a 50/50 chance of making final 25?….Ricketts is using the Bain Capital model to the nth degree…thats why he brought in a Corporatist like Theo…hes going to dump this team leaving it with nothing but a carcass….oh its becoming so clear now….cancel my seasons ticket…

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I’m guessing he wants to move the team to Florida.

      • Brian

        Well we haven’t signed Ricky Vaughn yet. Or is that cause he needs to get “released” out of the California Pino League?

        • Toosh

          That was California Penal.

    • Tommy

      I know when I see what the Cub’s front office is doing, the first thing that pops into my head is the Bain Capital model.

      Seriously though, WTF!

    • ferrets_bueller

      Hey die hard, what is a minor league deal?

      lmao.

      • Rick Vaughn

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who caught that. Classic die hard.

  • Al

    I know everyone dumped on koyie but can someone tell me what the cubs record was over his tenue when he was catching? Im betting it was well over 500…. i will miss that…. brett you got that in your stats somewhere??

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It was well over .500 …

      And well under a statistically-significant number of total games. That’s my guess, anyway.

      • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

        Sounds about right.

    • BetterNews

      Al–What ARE you trying to say? Koyie was better than Soto. Forget it my man.

      • Rick Vaughn

        I don’t think he was saying he was better than Soto, just that he might have been better at handling pitchers and calling a game. Implying that he wasn’t totally useless.

        • BetterNews

          Rick–I liked Koyie and I can’t explain the success he had as far as wins go. Again, you can’t take a few brush strokes and paint a complete picture. Also I don’t think any fan dumped on Koyie. I sure didn’t. Thought he did a great job all things considered.

    • Brad Barber

      The Cubs were 106-88 (.546) when Koyie Hill was the starting catcher. In comparison, during the same period (2007-11) when the Cubs also started Jason Kendall, Michael Barrett and Geo Soto, the Cubs posted a .487 winning percentage. My question is who was he catching for? Did he catch for Zambrano during his peak years or Ted Lilly? It’s not all about the catcher and the game being called — I think it is more about who is pitching. Hill is more of a personal catcher-type anyways so he probably caught for the same pitcher normally (not including that 28 straight game stretch 2 years ago when Soto was on the DL and we didn’t want to “waste” a roster spot on another catcher).

      • BetterNews

        Brad–You bring up a great point. I can’t answer that but I’m sure one of the guys(and gals Katie) @ BN can answer it.

  • Smitty

    I never thought Jason Jarimillo would be the straw that broke Diehard’s back. That being said, goodbye Diehard!!! We look forward to having positive conversation on this site that doesn’t involve constant disregard of our current leaders. Leaders who have a proven record, and are slowly putting something together. I look forward to anyone backing up Soto other than Koyie Hill. But it makes sense that you are not looking forward to this change…just because he is recovering from an injury. Nobody could ever recover from an injury to prove to be a good major leaguer…or at least a backup catcher that will play in around 35-40 games this year. Why waste our time or take a risk like that?

    Enjoy your time away from the Cubs. I hope your time is spent bothering White Sox fans, or Ozzie and Big Z down in Florida.

    • die hard

      I said cancel the tkt, not my input. Someone has to keep the front office feet to the fire. By the way, Hill was a favorite of the staff as he understood how to set up hitters

      • Rick Vaughn

        Dang, false alarm.

      • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

        yes, I am sure Theo obsessively checks BN just waiting for your input.

        HAHAHAHA I am literally ROFL’ing right now…not sure how I am typing this but I am actually rolling on the floor laughing.

        DieHard, Lucy was right, you are the DieHardiest DieHard there is.

    • http://bleachernation ferris

      yeah to bad the cardinals dont think that way,maybe theyd given up on carpenter and wouldnt have won the series…….everyone gets injured from time to time lets wait and see before critisizing….

      • cubsnivy56

        So every injury isn’t the end of a career……………..

  • Al

    tenure…sorry forgot the r…..

  • ty

    Die Hard–do not stress out. Our best scout is an orthopedic surgeon-Dr Chancey

  • al

    The Cubs are rebuilding, and that seems to mean they are thinking of rebuilding medically. Who are the new doctors on staff that will be able to field a team?

  • die hard

    you see, my problem is that Cubs already have a full M.A.S.H. tent in Soriano, Byrd, Dempster, and Barney to name a few….

    • cubsnivy56

      M.A.S.H. means injured right?  Soriano, Byrd, Dempster, and Barney?  I don’t get it?

  • curt

    why? this signing is pointless looks like koyie hill 2 , whats wrong with clevenger or castillo do the cubs really need another back-up catcher who cant hit , myb like you said brett for depth at triple a but other thn that i dont get this one.

    • rcleven

      Will need backstops for all the new pitching depth in spring. Will need at least one more. Split squads and all.

      • Rick Vaughn

        I figure you need to carry at least five catchers early in spring training. Split squad games need two each and it can’t hurt to have a fifth in case someone is hurt. This entire little debate is so stupid I can’t believe it is actually happening.

  • Pharaoh

    Clearly a move to handle the glut of pitching the Cubs will be jockeying for innings and mound time for this spring.

    Dale Sveum said it best during Cubs convention, “We have 10 capable Major League pitchers…” 6-7 will be getting stretched out for starting. They will need a stable of capable catchers on hand til April to handle that load.

    • cubsnivy56

      Great feedback.  Didn’t catch that, but pretty clear when you think about it.  Thanks.

  • cubsnivy56

    So at worst it is a low risk signing.  At best he beats out two rookies.  If Soto gets traded we have depth at one level or another.  What’s the big deal?

  • dreese

    “his numbers are better than former Cubs back-up catcher Koyie Hill (as are most pitchers’ numbers)”
    I love it

  • Jay

    Wow all this over a backup catcher…..imagine the thread if we signed a solid 5th starter….ohhh thats right we have 6 of those on our staff right now.

    • BetterNews

      Who said all that?

  • CubSouth

    The Braves used Brian McCann as a personal catcher for John Smoltz when he first came to the bigs. I love the idea in doing the same with whomever our backup will be, it gives the catcher time to work behind the plate with a SP they understand and it keeps their bat from getting rusty, so to speak. I really think that should be implemented more in baseball.

  • BetterNews

    I hope the Darvish/ Rangers deal sinks like a lead anchor! A 10 mil/6 year albatross! Add in his posting fee and he is getting 111 mil over six! Are you kidding me?

    • Edwin

      That doesn’t sound too bad to me. He’s only 25, so he’s entering the peak of his career. His pedigree is much more impressive than Daisuke Matsuzaka’s, and he’ll be beginning his career in MLB at a much younger age. It’s on the pricey side, but I wouldn’t call it an albatross yet until we see how Darvish performs.

  • Skinner

    lol, never fails…every year the Cubs (and every other organization in baseball, yes even the good ones) start signing the has-beens and never-will-be’s to minor leage deals (the baseball equivalent of minimum wage temp work) and you can always count on a small but indestructable percentage of fans to lose their minds about how bad said deals are.

    Kids, even backups need backups. Somebody has to ride the pine in AAA. Somebody veteranish needs to be available in case injuries ravage the big league club so teams don’t have to start the clock on their younger, more valuable prospects before they want to. These deals warrant no analysis, no emotion, hell, they can go completely unmentioned and we miss little. If it weren’t such a slow Cubs news day, a Jason Jaramillo signing would have barely merited a bullet, let alone its own thread. To get mad about his signing is akin to losing it over who will be working concessions or cleaning the troughs at Wrigley this summer.

  • Brian

    Just heard on radio, that Red Sox are expecting either Garza or Vitters as compensation for Epstein.

    • Kyle

      That’s like expecting either one million dollars or one thousand on your next paycheck.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That was taken from a Tribune article this morning in which Van Dyke simple said the Red Sox previously asked for Garza, and instead are probably going to get a prospect like Vitters.

      It could end up being Vitters (unlikely), but there isn’t much to that report.

  • florida Al

    ok im just sayin koyie wasnt totally useless… he was a serviceable catcher althou his offense SUCKED…and while im here i noticed that there was another al(no cap A) so ima guna changa mya namea to florida al….jus sayin….

  • Edwin

    I’m still interested to see where Rich Harden ends up. Last season, he showed he still has good strikeout stuff. Even if he only gives 100 innings, if they’re quality innings, I’ll take them. If the price gets low enough, I’d love to see the Cubs take another flier on him. He’d make a nice 5th starter/bullpen option.

  • Michelle

    Has anyone seen jason pla. He is an asset to any team, in parts his numbers, but also in part for his all out love of the game.

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