Sunday, August 14, 2022

Cubs Sign Free Agent Catcher To $13 Million Contract


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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