The Cubs have been silent throughout the free agent frenzy in November, but they surprised fans on Tuesday by signing a veteran catcher.
According to several reports, the Cubs are signing 34-year-old catcher Yan Gomes to a two-year contract worth $13 million. Craig Mish was first to report the agreement between Gomes and the Cubs.
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
As we all know, the Cubs have Willson Contreras under contract for the 2022 season before he hits free agency. However, a recent report from Bleacher Nation’s Michael Cerami, points to the Cubs not engaging in any extension talks with Contreras.
I'm sorry to do this to you, but as of now, I'm told the Cubs and Contreras are not engaged in extension negotiations, which I see as a strategic misstep on the part of the Cubs (even if there are reasonable explanations why that may be the case). https://t.co/EhNEovJgfx
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) November 29, 2021
And now there’s the reported signing of Gomes. Are the Cubs really paying $6.5 million a year for a backup catcher? That seems highly unlikely, although you can make an argument that Gomes is good insurance for 2023 if the Cubs ultimately don’t work something out with Contreras.
But maybe we’re reading way too much into the Gomes signing and what it could mean for Contreras’ future with the Cubs. The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma pointed out that Jed Hoyer has indicated the team wants to reduce Contreras’ playing time behind the plate.
Sure, Willson Contreras could be traded. But Jed Hoyer made it clear adding a catcher to reduce Contreras' workload was a priority this winter. I wrote about the need, why it could help him and the possible routes they may take with Contreras this winter. https://t.co/WgO6vgfBr4
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) November 30, 2021
By most accounts, the designated hitter will come and stay in the National League when the the new CBA is agreed to.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Gomes’ deal with the Cubs includes a third-year option with a bonus based on games started.
Deal also includes a third-year option worth $6M and $1M in performance bonuses each year based on games started. https://t.co/lkgwilyCht
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 30, 2021
In 2021, Gomes played in 103 games with the Nationals and A’s, and ended the season slashing .252/.301/.402, with 14 home runs and a 93 wRC+, which was good for a 1.6 fWAR.
Yan Gomes to Cubs. $13M, 2 years. Gives them two starting catchers and maybe 1B/DH options. @CraigMish 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 30, 2021
Since making his MLB debut with the Blue Jays in 2012, Gomes has started 13 games at first base and six at third base. However, Gomes has not started in the infield other than catcher since his rookie year in 2012. But as Heyman points out, Gomes would give the Cubs another bat once the DH is in place next season.
Gomes has hit left-handed pitchers very well throughout his career, slashing .283/.393/.489, in nearly 1,000 plate appearances for an OPS 150 points higher compared to hitting against right-handed pitchers.