Not a lot of details available yet, but, according to Oakland A’s beat writer Susan Slusser, the Chicago Cubs are going to be shortly picking up another catcher, Anthony Recker from the A’s.

The 28-year-old backstop (he turns 29 in two days) was DFA’d last week, so presumably he was placed on waivers, and the Cubs claimed him. Recker played a bit for the big league team early this year, but has been at AAA for the A’s since May. There, he hit .265/.358/.435, which is pretty close to the .850ish OPS he’s been putting up at AAA for the past few years. He can hit a little bit, but obviously he doesn’t profile as more than a back-up, assuming he can catch a little bit (which the Cubs must think he can).

The Cubs will have to clear a 40-man spot for Recker, and they’ll likely study him over the next month to determine whether he’s worth hanging onto as, perhaps, a third catching option in 2013 behind Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.

You’ll note that just last week, the Cubs DFA’d 29-year-old catcher Blake Lalli (who was subsequently outrighted to Iowa), leaving just two catchers on the 40-man roster. And I mentioned that, for September call-ups, teams usually bring up a third catcher … well, I reckon Recker will be that guy. What the Cubs see for his future, such that they’re willing to clear up another 40-man spot to take him on, remains to be seen.

UPDATE: And how about that, the Cubs are sending Blake Lalli to the A’s in a good old fashioned 29-year-old catcher swap. The Cubs get a slightly better hitting catcher, but one whom they presumably have to put on the 40-man, while the A’s get a similar catcher whom they can stash at AAA off the 40-man. That’s about the only way this makes sense.

UPDATE 2: The 40-man spot is coming by way of a Scott Maine DFA. The lefty reliever just couldn’t stop walking guys, despite his great stuff. We’ll see if the Cubs can deal him to another team, or if perhaps he’ll clear waivers, and they can send him back to Iowa.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Brett, you are on top of it!

  • Dwight Schrute

    Hey Brett, do you see Junior Lake getting a call up for the Cubs this year? And if so, what position will he be playing?

    • Brett

      I’d say he’s no more than 50/50 for a September call-up. The only thing he has going for him is the fact that he’s already on the 40-man – it’s not like he’s destroying the ball at AAA, and pounding on the door. He’s hitting decently well at AA. If he came up in September, he might get a start or two (*maybe* one at short, and one at third), but it’s more likely that he’d get a few pinch hit opportunities.

  • Cedlandrum

    This move is obviously not a big deal, but I wonder why they wouldn’t just call up a guy like Brenly who profiles as a backup.

    • Brett

      Must want to wait another year before even checking Brenly out at that level. Or maybe they really like Recker for some reason. Like you said: very minor move, but a little strange.

    • tim815

      Lalli was completely an organization guy. The only real reason to keep him around was to have him as a coach, which he could still do. Recker probably isn’t much special, but if he profiles better than Lalli (which he appears to), roll the dice. We’ll need real catchers next season. For spring training if nothing else.

      Brenly has a year to go (at least) before being an emergency MLB catcher.

      • Flashfire

        Hey, hey, one of the best of BCB has come to BN. Tim knows his stuff about minor leaguers. Welcome.

  • MichCubFan

    Could also just be triple A filler.

    • Brett

      Sure. But they already had Lalli. Doesn’t make sense to swap unless you at least think there’s a chance Recker could be a back-up next year.

      • Cedlandrum

        Yeah who knows, could be they want either Castillo or Clevenger to play everyday in AAA next year.

        • RicoSanto

          Castillo is a keeper on the big club for sure.Clevenger is worst than Koyie Hill. Castillo is hitting .265 with 4 Hrs and 12 rbi in 83 ab With 415 Abs this projects to 20 Hr and 60 rbi. He again needs to improve his OBP,but he looks good.He should improve alot more.

          • cubs201

            worst than Koyie Hill? much better hitter (makes contact,takes walks,goes the other way) has a good era in games he catches. he was hotter than castillo is when he 1st came up. give the guy a chance

            • Scotti

              Clevenger IS much, much better all around than Hill but Catcher’s ERA (CERA) is less than worthless–it is the Koyie Hill of stats.

      • Borocks

        Brett, What is the possibility that there is some sort of trade going on with Sori. and maybe Clevenger is a kicker. Maybe they will be needing that extra catcher after all. Probably not true, just reaching but it did sound good.

        • Brett

          The possibility exists in the sense that most anything is “possible.” :)

      • MichCubFan

        Brett, i totally agree. More upside than Lalli but more equipped for time in the majors if anything happens to Castillo or Clevenger.

    • Chris

      I think this is just a guy they took a chance on at a position the organization doesn’t have any depth in. He’s a better option than Lalli as a backup. He’s got limited major league experience, but he has some pop in his bat. My guess is he has more defensive skills than Lalli does too. And with the rosters about to expand, Brett’s commentary on having a 3rd catcher on the roster makes a ton of sense. They just didn’t want it to be Lalli once this guy became available. Not a big deal either way. Just a slight roster adjustment, but probably one for the better.

      • Chris

        Two quick points… He hits right handed. Lalli is a lefty. The bench is overcrowded with lefty bats. He’s thrown out 48% of runners trying to steal on him in AAA too.

  • Spencer

    Remember the Rudolf claymation movie? Where they go to the Island of Misfit Toys?

  • Luke D

    Could be another situation where Jedstein try to catch lightning in a bottle, if only for a fleeting moment in time (see also: Bryan LaHair). They do not believe in the AAAA player — which is certainly what Recker projects to be.

    As for the Athletics…what reason do they have for making this deal? This Recker guy seems to have considerably more value than Lalli, both with the bat and in the field. Did they give up already?

  • Crockett

    I gotta think this is a front office decision based on not really liking Clevenger for whatever reason.

    • Cedlandrum

      I think Clevenger will get a pass based on the fact that he wasn’t the same after hurting himself and rushing his rehab because Soto and Castillo were out as well.

    • Drew7

      “I gotta think this is a front office decision based on not really liking Clevenger for whatever reason.”

      Um…maybe because he can’t hit, like, at all?

      • Cedlandrum

        He can hit. In fact it is the one tool he has that is above average. He isn’t hitting, but again see post above this. Brenly was talking about this the other day about how his swing looked different since coming back from injury.

        • Drew7

          I suppose that could be the case. It does seem a little unfair to write him off so soon.

          I guess in my ideal world though, if a guy profiles as a backup catcher, and doesnt play particularly good defense, I’d want him to be more than a slap-hitter.

          • Crockett

            Clevenger was never a lights out hitter in the minors, but was above-average with the caveat of always being a little old for his level.

            His swing looks the same, but isn’t producing the same results. Of course, that could be because his early results were insanely-off-the-charts-crazy good.

            I also am not of the mind that Clevenger is that great a defensive backstop. He seems to drop a lot of pitches and his framing is average.

            I still think Recker is just being brought in to compete for a spot in spring training. No issues with this.

            • King Jeff

              Maybe they are going to start using Clevenger at other positions to see if he can handle a major league utility role.

    • MichCubFan

      If anything, it is good to have competition. The players will work harder in the offseason and you have more depth.

  • stillmisskennyhubbs

    Why, this could be as good as a Toby Atwell for Elvin Tappe trade…..or a Vic Roznofsky for Alvin Tappe trade !

    • Spriggs

      How about Cuno Barragon for Kris Krug?

  • Dustin S

    Seems like an odd move unless there is more to it. I had a couple thoughts that would help make the deal more sense, but not worth speculating. Trusting in Theo + Co that they know more on this one.

    • Brett

      And that’s the thing about GMs – all of them – that people hate to hear, and it feels like a copout, but it’s true: they have WAY more information than we do when they make these decisions.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Any word on the 2 players we are getting from the Tigers on the Jeff Baker trade. I know they won’t be any more than C Prospects but still be cool to know :)

    • João Lucas

      There’s also a possible PTBNL still to come from the Soto deal.

      • Cubbie Blues

        There’s also a PTBNL going to San Diego for our FO.

  • JR

    Exciting stuff in Cub Nation today!

  • cubsin

    My uneducated guess is that Recker had fallen to fifth or sixth on Oakland’s depth chart, and the needed his 40-man spot. They took Lalli so they’d have a veteran catcher at AAA.

    For the Cubs, the suggestion that Recker might back up Castillo while Clevenger plays regularly at AAA next year makes sense.

    • Chris

      Clevenger is actually older than Castillo. He’s a backup guy that can also play a little 1st. While this year’s team is heavy in left handed bats, Clevenger is the perfect backup candidate. He isn’t a guy that needs to play everyday in AAA at this stage of his career. He doesn’t profile as an everyday player. But behind Castillo, he isn’t bad to have on the bench. Recker is really just a better option as a 3rd catcher than what they had with Lalli.

      • cubs2014

        clevenger is 1 year older than castillo they have been in the organization same amount of time. clevenger minor league career stats: obp .370 avg .307……Castilo career stats: obp .330 avg .264

  • crazyhorse

    I like this trade . King Theo- swapping a bunch of no names catchers . the reason i like this trade is because Anthony Recker comes from a proven organization that has had success in developing good pitchers and to an extent the catchers play a pivotal role in such developments. This transaction may is not a blockbuster, but i feel this young mans handling may give a different insight to handling pitchers and if he can call a good game and help, than it all good.

  • Njriv

    He could be a decent 3rd catcher in case something happens to Clev or Castillo, who knows he might compete for a back up spot, if not, then it didnt really cost the Cubs anything.

  • North Side Irish

    Cubs designated Scott Maine for assignment to clear a spot on the 40 man. According to Bruce Miles

    • João Lucas

      I don’t like this at all. I think he gets claimed. Makes you wonder if it’s really worth it possibly losing a left-handed reliever with good stuff (and bad command) to get a guy like Recker. Why not DFA Jaye Chapman or Jacob Brigham instead, who are less advanced and playing poorly right now?

  • Bric

    If they need another catcher why didn’t the just move Marmol back to his natural position?

    • Nomar’s Left Glove

      Because they can’t get him to stop throwing sliders to second when the other team tries to steal…

      • cas-castro

        That and he can’t hit.