Chicago Cubs Sign Catcher Jair Fernandez to Minor League Deal

jair fernandez astrosThe Chicago Cubs have added a little catching depth to the organization, signing 26-year-old catcher Jair Fernandez to a minor league deal.

Fernandez played last year in the Houston Astros organization after coming up with the Twins and the Mariners. He spent most of the year in AA, and put up a decent .263/.336/.407 line, a touch better than his career averages. He is not, in case you were wondering, a former top prospect. For his career, he’s mostly been an organizational depth guy.

While you could point to the signing as an indication that the Cubs expect their upper level catching depth to take a hit – if, for example, Steve Clevenger were designated for assignment and waived (or traded) to clear up a roster spot – but I’m not so sure it means much. Presently, at the upper levels of the minors, the Cubs have just Chad Noble and Michael Brenly (they are fringier types who could see time at AA or AAA), as well as minor league signee/Spring Training invitee JC Boscan. Assuming Boscan doesn’t make the big league roster, he and Fernandez could split time at AAA, with Brenly potentially mixed in. The catching position is pretty thin in the upper levels of the Cubs’ system, and the move is probably simply designed to give the Cubs’ minor league teams some options.

Fernandez could also spend some time in AA, depending on how things shake out. Rafael Lopez and Micah Gibbs could potentially move up to AA, but the Cubs probably want to make sure they’ve got catching depth in case they want to take their time with younger backstops.

So, yeah. Not a huge move, but some additional depth in an area of need.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

55 responses to “Chicago Cubs Sign Catcher Jair Fernandez to Minor League Deal”

  1. Dylan Heuer

    I remembered him when he was with the Rochester Red Wings when I was their team photographer. He caught a no-hitter about 2 years ago. Not the greatest player every, but like Brett said, he’s just a depth guy. He’ll shuffle between Iowa and Tennessee.

  2. BWA

    Brett, this is off topic but… I just started using google chrome and I got add block, which is great. Do you lose advertising money because I have add block on? If so, I will certainly turn it off on BN as I have never found the adds obtrusive.

    -BWA

    1. Crazyhorse

      That actually good question , i would turn my off if it gains u dollars.

  3. fromthemitten

    This makes me think that the Cubs either need to get a C in the early rounds of the draft or via a Soriano/Garza trade package

    1. Toby

      I’d like it if the Cubs could draft Jon Denney if he’s available in the 2nd round.

  4. DarthHater

    Twitter chatter is commencing on Bourn to Cubs. Must be a full moon.

    1. Kygavin

      Jon Heymen reporting 4yr/60mil contract is VERY close

      1. DarthHater

        So why is their one Twitter account called @jonheymanCBS and another called @jonheymenCBS? Sounds suspicious to me. :-P

        1. DarthHater

          *there* [dammit, you morons have got me doing it now! ] ;-)

        2. Kyle

          The “heymen” one is a known troll account.

        3. hansman1982

          Report spam…sooner or later Twitter may get around to blocking him.

  5. Kygavin

    ah nice catch! false alarm im assuming then

    1. DarthHater

      Well, all these rumors are now guilty until proven innocent. And this one smells even guiltier than most.

  6. Kygavin

    If it is true i guess they could just start 6 OF’ers, Castro and Rizzo as the lineup… I mean they will have enough of them

    1. DarthHater

      If they sign a FA, the 40 man roster will be up to 43 . . .

    2. hansman1982

      They have been told by MLB the Bourn to the Mets thing will be resolved by allowing the DH in the NL…

  7. Kygavin

    Maybe a Soriano/Dejesus deal is in the works? Of course if this “rumor” is even true

  8. preacherman86

    Brett,
    I’m curious as to what level of depth we need at the upper levels? Unless that is we do indeed DFA Clevenger or trade him. With Castillo and Navarro presumably with the big league team. You would then have a mix of Clevenger, Fernandez, Brenly, Boscan, Gibbs, Noble and Lopez. Now either we have 7 guys to split in two or three levels, which to me seems like one to many and thats if we are condemning the Gibbs/Lopez combo to A ball again regardless of needed promotion. Is this really what we are looking at? Seems like one heck of a logjam of never will be catchers in the upper levels with a few long shots to be valuable big league pieces. Is there any way they would carry all 7 of these guys in the upper 3 levels of the minors and relegating the upside Gibbs and Lopez to staying in high A because of the logjam at backstop? Just curious really as to how you see this playing out in the next few weeks/months/spring.

  9. Xavier

    They’re has to be suitors for the Soriano. He’s obviously the best OF on the market and the cheapest option not that Kubels off the Market.

  10. mudge

    The problem with moving Soriano is not whether other teams want him, but getting parity with how much genuine value he offers the Cubs. If he were on another team, he’d be a welcome addition about now. What would you trade to get him?

  11. Kygavin

    I agree with that but I think if Im the GM of a “contender” (in quotes because do we really know who the contenders are yet?) most likely in the AL and I had a need for an OF I think I would give up something for him. Obviously they wont get a guy like Olt back but maybe a 7-10 prospect? Of course the other side of that is if that would be enough for Theo and Co. to pull the trigger since they seem to value him higher than anyone else? And THEN you have to consider the NTC Soriano has, so just a complicated negotiation process

  12. mudge

    I expect if he keeps up the pace he’ll move near the deadline. He needs a grass field for the knees is another issue. This offense is woeful without replacing his bat.

  13. josh

    Side note…. I was reading comments over at Cubs Den and someone said that Dave Sappelt just closed his twitter account today. Maybe a trade or DFA is going to happen soon

    1. hansman1982

      https://twitter.com/SappySappelt6

      This account? Still active and I highly doubt he would cancel his Twitter any time soon.

  14. josh

    His “Cubs Twitter account” is what i meant

    1. MacPete

      He tweeted earlier that he was going to leave twitter for a while so he could focus on getting ready for the season. In the sense that he was going to close his account…didn’t last long

  15. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Who’s the guy the Cubs are converting to a catcher. Is it Bruno?

    1. daveyrosello

      They’ve already converted him. He should be in Kane County this year.

      1. Luke

        They were experimenting with him behind the plate. I’m not sure that they’ve decided to convert him full time just yet.

        As crowded as 2B is it would make some sense, but I imagine they’ll need to see him play back there in some meaningful games before it becomes final.

  16. cubfanincardinalland

    Have been busy planning my trip to Murphy’s Bleachers this summer. Heard they actually sell beer there. Boy, how unique is that? People must travel thousands of miles. Think I will go when the Cubs are on the road, sure wouldn’t want any distractions for this lifetime opportunity.
    Talked to my son, who is a lawyer downtown. He heard that the Cubs have a pretty sweet buyout option built into the contract with the rooftoppers. It will be a disaster for the rooftop group, many who spent millions for the properties. Explains the bizarre actions they are taking now. Pure panic has set in.

  17. mudge

    Maybe the Cubs can re-sign Chris Carpenter and give him to the rooftop owners.

  18. sdcoddi

    Is it just me, or does he look like Miguel tejada?

    http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2007/1212/mlb_g_tejada_400.jpg

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    [...] movement (especially if Steve Clevenger is on the bench for the big team). The Cubs did pick up 26-year-old catcher Jair Fernandez this offseason. [...]