Cubs Sign Catcher Tim Federowicz and Infielder Kris Negron to Minor League Deals

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Cubs Sign Catcher Tim Federowicz and Infielder Kris Negron to Minor League Deals

Chicago Cubs

Just because the Cubs are most likely done with major additions for this offseason, that doesn’t mean all transactions will stop rolling in.

Over the past month alone, we’ve written about minor league signing after minor league signing, as the Cubs look to improve in their depth and at the margins. Now, BA’s Matt Eddy passes along another couple minor league signings to add to the group:

Federowicz, 28, is a catcher that has never quite stuck in the Major Leagues. Over the past six seasons, he’s bounced around between the Red Sox, Dodgers and Padres, having most recently played for the El Paso Chihuahua’s (the Padres AAA affiliate). His career minor leauge slash line – .289/.354/.460, 9.0% walk rate – is impressive, but he hasn’t quite been able to make it work in MLB.

In 271 Major League plate appearances, he’s slashed just .194/.247/.300 with a near 30% strikeout rate. However, the prevailing wisdom is that catchers frequently develop offensively later into their careers than other players, so maybe there’s time yet for Federowicz to make a dent at the Major League level. Federowicz missed much of the 2015 season recovering from knee surgery.

For now, he’ll likely head to AAA Iowa, to serve as emergency depth behind Miguel Montero, David Ross, and Kyle Schwarber, and alongside top prospect Willson Contreras – who will also head to AAA Iowa, per Theo Epstein at the 2016 Cubs Convention.

[Brett: If memory serves, Federowicz is regarded as an excellent glove man, so this is exactly the kind of catching addition at AAA you were hoping to see the Cubs make.]

Negron, 29, is an infielder that has played in the Red Sox and the Reds’ systems since his professional career began back in 2006. He made his Major League debut with the Reds in 2012, but like Federowicz, he hasn’t been able to make it stick. He has since bounced back and forth between the Reds and the Louisville Bats (the Reds AAA affiliate), never quite obtaining an offensive groove. His career minor league numbers (.684 OPS) are far less encouraging than Federowicz, and his big league numbers (.399 OPS) are even worse. Still, what he doesn’t offer on offense, he makes up for elsewhere.

An infielder by trade, Negron can play 2B, SS, 3B and all three outfield positions. Reportedly, he has excellent defense and range, as well as speed on the bases. In addition to a solid walk rate (8.4% in MLB), then, it’s not difficult to see how he fits the mold of versatility the front office is trying to create. A useful bench piece he may one day be, but, for now, he’ll compete for a spot the Major League roster, before heading to AAA Iowa at the end of Spring Training.

Both Federowicz (2008) and Negron (2006) are former 7th round picks for the Boston Red Sox – back when Theo Epstein was the General Manager.

You probably shouldn’t expect too much out of either of them, other than minor league depth, but at a minimum, the front office is familiar and well-educated on what these players have to offer. Every now and then one of these minor league signings hits, and the only way for that to happen is to keep making deals.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami