Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Cubs Sign Decent Backup Catcher

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This move isn’t going to move the needle and honestly it isn’t all that exciting for fans, but I do think it could potentially be a solid pick up to add a quality catcher as depth in case of emergency. The Cubs said goodbye to P.J. Higgins this offseason and signed Dom Nuñez back in December and now they’re bringing in 26-year-old Luis Torrens for more depth at Triple-A.



Torrens played for the Seattle Mariners in 2022, and is now joining the Cubs on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

The 26-year-old was originally signed by the New York Yankees in 2012 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela. He had an interesting path to the majors, as the Cincinnati Reds selected him in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft and was then traded to the San Diego Padres. He made his MLB debut as a 20-year-old with the Padres after not playing a single game above Single-A Ball in the Yankees’ minor league system.

As you may already know, when a player is taken in the Rule 5 Draft, he has to remain on the active roster the whole season. So, at 20 and playing into his age 21 season, with little experience in the upper minors, Torrens struggled and barely even played at the end of 2017. Torrens ended his first MLB season slashing .163/.243/.203. He only played in 56 games, starting 31 times, and Torrens started six games and had 29 plate appearances in the final two months of the season.

Torrens spent all of 2018 in the minors, playing at Advanced A-Ball in the Padres’ farm system. He had a solid batting average that year at .280, while posting a .726 OPS in 122 games. He improved in 2019, and had the best season of his minor league career, posting an .873 OPS with 15 home runs in 350 at-bats in Double-A. He was called up to the Padres on Sept. 16, 2019, but only got into seven games and went 3-for-14 at the plate.

In 2020, Torrens was dealt from the Padres to the Mariners at the trade deadline. In the shortened 2020 season, Torrens slashed .257/.325/.371, in 70 at-bats. The right-handed hitter was solid for the Mariners in 2021, hitting 15 home runs and recording a .730 OPS in 108 games. Unfortunately, 2022 was a down year for him, as he only played in 51 games, missing time with a shoulder injury, and overall struggled at the plate, mustering up a .581 OPS in 151 at-bats.

But Torrens does have a track record of at least hitting close to league average, which is more than fine coming from a backup catcher. From 2020-22, he’s posted a 93 wRC+. Again, not special, but he can hit a little. However, Torrens definitely doesn’t fit the mold of being a good defensively behind the plate, rating negatively in defensive runs saved in every season he’s played in the majors.

The reason I think he can be an under the radar decent signing is because he does have plenty of MLB experience, has had success hitting, so he won’t be a complete non-factor in case he’s called upon because of an injury to Tucker Barnhart or Yan Gomes. Plus, Torres has even logged innings at first base, second base and third base in the majors.

Decent addition. I like it.

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