The long recovery of the Cubs’ many catchers continues, and keeps throwing us curveballs. When Geovany Soto and Welington Castillo went down with knee injuries within a day of each other last month, Soto’s injury was considered much worse. He was going to have to have a knee scope, and the Cubs weren’t even sure Castillo was going to need time on the DL. Eventually Castillo was DL’d, and we got word that his injury was worse than initially thought. Then we heard that Soto was recovering well, and could be on a rehab assignment as soon as this weekend.

And now another turn. Castillo, and not Soto, will be the one starting a rehab assignment (at AA Tennessee) this weekend. Soto, on the other hand, is still having trouble blocking balls (Castillo is, too, apparently, but must be further along than Soto).

Castillo will start his rehab assignment today, and could be back with the Cubs next week. The Cubs hope Soto will be able to do the rehab assignment thing next week.

I know some of you like to drop the “Soto sucks” bomb when I talk about how important it is for him to return to the Cubs, but I’m still not hearing it. It can only help the Cubs to have as many possibly tradable pieces on the roster come July 31, and, at present, Soto is virtually untradable. The only way he becomes tradable is if he shows he’s healthy and productive, and over a long enough stretch of time. The longer he’s out, the shorter the window for him to show it. Frankly, that window is already smaller than I’d like it to be if I were a team looking to pick up a catcher (who just had minor knee surgery).

Soto has one more year of arbitration left, which, if tendered, could earn him as much as $6 million in 2013. The Cubs, even if they don’t trade Soto, will need time to evaluate Soto and make a decision about whether he’s their guy for 2013 (let alone for the years beyond that).

  • DocPeterWimsey

    You know, it is pretty impressive that the Cubs system had three catchers of the calibre of Soto, Castillo and Clevenger.  A lot of teams would have been at the Koylie Hill phase after one injury!

  • CubFan Paul

    Hopefully Mr. Manscape (soto) comes back hot & hits .300/.400/.500 before the deadline

    • DocPeterWimsey

      THe thing is, Soto was hitting X/X+0.09/X+0.15 before he went down.  That is in keeping with his career line of X/X+0.1/X+0.2.  Of course, the X was low this year: but that meant that what wasn’t happening was singles!

      I don’t think that Soto will ever have a BABiP high enough to bat 0.300 for any long stretch, but I expect that it will be closer to league average when he returns.  As LaHair and Clevenger are showing, Eris does not shower the love consistently: and the same goes for the hate!

    • When the Music’s Over

      Don’t hold your breath on those numbers.

      At this point, I’d be extremely happy with: .250/.350/.450, and I feel like those slashes are still optimistic.

  • Joker

    I love Soto.

    (not really)

    (just placating Brett)

    (not really that funny)

    (hangs head in shame)

  • Spencer

    At least Hill will be gone soon. Bummer for him, because he seems like a genuinely nice guy. He’s just bad at baseball.

    • Carew

      Hes a good fielding catcher but he cant hit. Yes i know he had a rbi double but still

    • Stinky Pete

      Wait a sec, I’m a nice guy who is bad at baseball….

      • Leroy K.

        we have an opening….can you block a baseball?

  • clark addison

    Hill is an average fielding catcher who can’t hit. Last year pitchers’ era’s were better with Hill than with other catchers. This year they are worse.

    If that proves anything, it’s that catchers’ era’s are a specious stat.

  • SouthernCub

    You can forget it, Soto will not be traded this year

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Brett random question that I’ve been thinking about. The cubs are almost in total rebuild mode because they want to build within the farm system and in hope 5 years we are a contending team with our young good prospect players our cheap and haven’t reach their first expensive to free agent contracts yet. My question is do you think Ricketts is going to really sink money into the payroll of this team on big name free agents and run the team like a big market we are? Do you think he will be will to a have a consistent payroll of $170 million or so such as the Phillies and Red Sox? I know a couple years ago we had a $140 million dollar payroll but Ricketts was suck paying for the Tribune contracts and ever since then the payroll has gone down. I get last year he spent in the draft and he paid big bucks on these executive and improving scouting and the front office staff but that is much different then the big league roster. Executives are very important and have a crucially important role but you could the greatest executives in the world and have a current bad not talented roster and the team will still suck. Ricketts talks about building from with in to make it affordable and manageable roster, in some quotes before, but he never references ponying up and willing to spend in the roster in the future. He always say Theo and Jed will have as much money as they need but thats a bunch of ownership bs to try and please the fans. I’m not saying hes cheap because he has made significant improvement and invested money but he hasn’t made a major free agency commitment yet. Im sure he’ll be willing to have a $120-$130 million dollar payroll but that is a huge difference then the payrolls of the other major market teams such as the Red sox, yankees, and phillies and now the dodgers seem to be big spenders in the near future according to its ownerships quotes. I know its a while away but I’m just being nervous and thinking in the future that Ricketts might not spend big in the big league payroll, because he’s made such huge commitments to other places. We pay one of the highest ticket prices so we deserve in the next 5 years when were competitive to have a payroll of $170ish million dollars. You dont need money to win but it certainly helps. I really want to get your thoughts on this

    • Brett

      I suspect that, when the core of the team looks competitive, we’ll see the Cubs spending plenty on the total big league payroll. It’ll be near the top of the NL, at a minimum.

    • Cubbie Blues

       He always say Theo and Jed will have as much money as they need but thats a bunch of ownership bs to try and please the fans.

      He always say Theo and Jed will have as much money as they need but thats a bunch of ownership bs to try and please the fans.

      Which is it?

      I don’t think Ricketts is going to have a problem at al putting the team profits back into the system.

  • Coldneck

    Cliff’s notes please

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      ya my b

  • ColoCubFan

    Didn’t Castillo have trouble blocking balls before the injured knee?? Just sayin’.

  • die hard

    Soto is at best mediocre…got to be someone better in minors or who is riding the bench elsewhere

  • nkniacc

    I doubt Soto gets traded by July but I wouldn’t be surprised if he would over the winter

    • calicubsfan007

      I think its a similar percentage of whether he gets traded in he summer or winter. Sotos best value might be now.