As persistent rumors about a certain big-name starting pitcher in Detroit continue to swirl, the most likely moves for the Cubs in the coming days remain in the bullpen and behind the plate.
On that latter front, the two names – the only two names? – most frequently connected to the Cubs are Alex Avila and Jonathan Lucroy. The idea is not to displace Willson Contreras, but to back him up with a veteran presence, improve the overall depth at the position, and allow Victor Caratini to resume starting regularly at AAA.
Two reports tonight, though, cast some doubt on whether Avila and Lucroy are really the Cubs’ top targets for the gig. Per the Sun-Times and CSN, each describing things in their own way, Avila and Lucroy are not the top/best-fit Cubs targets.
Instead, both reports mention Miami Marlins back-up A.J. Ellis as a possible fit.
Ellis, 36, is definitely the kind of guy you’d have expected the Cubs to pursue before these Avila/Lucroy rumors started. The longtime personal catcher of Clayton Kershaw isn’t much with the bat anymore these days – he’s hitting .241/.302/.354 this season – but he still plays good defense, works well with pitchers, and is around average in the framing department.
Ellis wouldn’t cost much to acquire, and would be a more or less perfect, albeit unsexy, veteran backup for this Cubs team.