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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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • Crazyhorse

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

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, I don’t ever want to tell anyone what to do, but, yes, the primary way BN earns revenue is through the ads on the site. So if you block them, BN doesn’t get any revenue from your visits.

      That is all to say, you can obviously do what you like, but if you choose to let the ads show on BN, I would be much obliged.

      • BWA

        I certainly do. I appreciate the site greatly and certainly do not mind the adds.

      • HackAttack

        If I unblock the ads, you’ll need to give me 83% of the ad revenue from my visits.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That is also funny.

      • Tom A.

        Hey Brett ? Do you get more, the same or less revenues if the ads are actually in the BN site or if they are across the street on someone else’s computer screen ?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Now that’s funny.

      • TWC

        Serious question:

        From whom would you make more revenue: a typical reader w/ no ad blocking plug-ins, or a typical reader w/ ad blocking plug-ins but who might buy an annual BN t-shirt?

        • Ron

          Guilt?

          • TWC

            Ha. No, I’m good either way. Just genuinely curious. I’m assuming the answer is the latter, but I’d like to be sure.

        • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

          Just buy the shirt!

          • TWC

            I’ve already got myself a BN tee, kid! I needed to replace my French t-shirt that I picked up during the “See? Cos Look…” tour of 2007. Man, I wore that thing OUT!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Good question – it depends on how many pages the typical reader views. My guess is the shirt would probably be a hair more for most people, except for power users who view more than 10 pages a day. That said, I would definitely not begrudge anyone who used ad block but supported the site via a t-shirt purchase or a Blogathon donation. In fact, I’d probably hug that person if I ever met them in a bar on Sheffield.

          • Ron

            Can you track who views or lurks here?

            • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

              Yes, every “good” web host has administrator tools, but to some extent. Unique page views (new people), page views, and links on how they got to your website (except typing it in your browser or bookmarked). It only tells you if you’re spending your advertising money wisely for banners, links or facebook ads.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Yeah, I track my site stats, as Mike described – but they’re not particular to individuals. It’s just an overview, and it doesn’t tell me anything about the adblock situation (to the extent a lot of people use it). I just have to hope that most folks don’t.

          • BWA

            Oh well then you’re making like 3 tshirts worth off of me cuz I’m on here nonstop haha. I still gotta get a shirt sometime too.

          • hansman1982

            So what if I once graced you with my presence?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I think, technically, that was a net loss for me financially. But I had fun. *non-creepy winky face*

          • hansman1982

            and it doesn’t hurt to occasionally click on an ad and click around that website for a while…

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              You are correct that it doesn’t hurt, but I would never publicly advocate such a thing. No, sir, I am not permitted to say such things, and so I would never say them.

              I will say that, to the extent you ever see an ad that looks pretty cool to you, definitely go ahead and click it.

              • Hansman1982

                Well then, since you’re not actively telling me that I should do that I’ll stop and just install Adblock everywhere

                • Hansman1982

                  In all seriousness people should click on an ad every now and again. It doesn’t directly help Brett (as in he doesn’t receive $X but it helps in the $X received per page view. Also don’t be afraid to leave it open for a while or click another link or two in that page.

  • 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

    • Toby

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

  • DarthHater

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

    • Kygavin

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

      • DarthHater

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

        • DarthHater

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

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          The “heymen” one is a known troll account.

        • hansman1982

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

  • Kygavin

    ah nice catch! false alarm im assuming then

    • DarthHater

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

  • 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

    • DarthHater

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

    • hansman1982

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

  • Kygavin

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • josh

    His “Cubs Twitter account” is what i meant

    • 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

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

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

    • daveyrosello

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

      • http://www.bleachernation.com 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.

  • 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.

  • mudge

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

  • 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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