The Cubs did a pre-CBA expiration signing! They are now one of those teams! And it’s in a part of the market that was vanishingly thin, which means they jumped because the market moved! It’s all the things we wanted them to do!
But boy does this signing have some immediate implications:
Catcher Yan Gomes is in agreement on a two year $13 million dollar guaranteed contract with the Chicago Cubs per sources.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) November 30, 2021
Much more coming, but here’s the quick reactions:
1.) The Cubs desperately needed a quality back-up catcher given the load on Willson Contreras and the COMPLETE DEARTH of catchers in the upper levels right now. So they went out and paid a lot of money for the best back-up on the market. Hold that thought.
2.) Yan Gomes, 34, spent most of his big league time with the Cleveland Indians (and Carter Hawkins), so there’s obvious familiarity there, and I immediately wonder if he was particularly good at working with the young pitchers (and other catchers who worked with the pitchers) that the Indians were so great at churning out.
3.) The Cubs are spending some short-term money to improve the 2022 team. As a general matter, that’s good. They aren’t likely to look like a world-beater on paper come the Spring, but at least give yourselves a small chance at a surprising playoff run. Signing good (pricey) players at complementary spots is at least a part of that.
4.) Gomes rates out as a quality defender (albeit in decline from his early days when he was a defensive stud), and still crushes lefties. Mediocre bat against righties, but not brutal. If he keeps it together into his mid-30s, again, he’s about as good as it gets for a back-up catcher.
5.) In his career, though, Gomes has been closer to a near-starter than a true back-up, having several years where he was the primary guy, including last year between the Nationals and the A’s. Which leads me back to number 1 …
6.) Is this the Cubs explicitly hedging their bets against a Willson Contreras trade? We know they are thinking of pulling that trigger if they can’t come to an extension, and we also know those extension talks have not started in earnest. So having Gomes, a borderline starter, would mean the Cubs could trade Contreras without being completely up a creek behind the plate.
My guess is that this signing is both. It’s the best guy of this tier on the market, at a spot where the Cubs desperately needed a guy anyway. And the fact that he provides cover *IF* things go a certain route with Contreras, then it makes all the more sense. OK. That’s enough for the instant reaction, because my head is swirling a bit. Gotta digest it. Absent any other context, though, I love the signing: a very good catcher on a short-term, high-AAV deal. Do it.