If the Chicago Cubs had been thinking of pivoting to lefty-batting catcher Omar Narvaez for their part-time catcher opening, that is soon going to be not-an-option.
Robert Murray reports Narvaez is close to a deal with the Mets:
And Joel Sherman says it’s happening:
Narvaez, 30, was among the names attached to the Cubs earlier in the offseason as plausible options to pair with Yan Gomes. Hadn’t heard much on him lately, though.
The only reason I’m not freaking out on this one like I was with Christian Vazquez is because I’m slightly less sure about Narvaez’s excellence as the kind of defensive catcher the Cubs are looking for. Why? Well, Narvaez’s shift in performance (by the defensive metrics, anyway) was SO DRAMATIC and instantaneous with the Brewers that I’m not 100% sure it’s something he’ll carry forward with him, or if it was something particular with the Brewers. He went from borderline unplayable behind the plate to suddenly rating as one of the better defensive catchers in the game. I just never knew what to make of that, and it’s why I never discussed him in the same breath as Vazquez. (And why Vazquez got three years and $30 million, while Narvaez is getting – it appears – a much smaller deal.)
But all that said, Narvaez marks another competent option off the board for the Cubs. They do still need to add another catcher, in my view, because relying on an older Yan Gomes and P.J. Higgins to catch 162 seems an extremely undue risk for a club that is necessarily going to be built on getting the absolute most out of its pitching staff.
Tucker Barnhart, who is still kinda hard to evaluate, is probably the target for the Cubs now, at least in free agency. You wonder about the Mets trying to unload James McCann by eating salary/attaching a prospect. You wonder about the Blue Jays trading Danny Jansen. There are fringe options like Jorge Alfaro and Austin Hedges and Roberto Perez. There are conceivable surprise trade options like Jonah Heim.
I really don’t love any of these options for various reasons, which is why I was so salty about Vazquez going to the Twins in the first place. Now I’m thinking about it all over again and I’M HOT ABOUT IT.