Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Cubs Have a New Catcher

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The Chicago Cubs have a new veteran catcher in their organization, as 35-year-old Curt Casali has signed a minor league deal and is on the Iowa Cubs Opening Day roster at Triple-A.

Casali broke into the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014 and his numbers at the plate from 2015-2022 were solid, relatively speaking for a catcher. The right-handed hitter slashed .227/.319/.404 with a 95 wRC+ in those eight seasons as a backup. However, the veteran was pretty bad for the Cincinnati Reds in 2023, ending the year with a 40 wRC+ in 40 games. Casali’s playing time was limited because of a foot injury, which sidelined him for the final few months of the year.

The catcher was in spring training camp with the Miami Marlins, but was let go after poor results in the Grapefruit League. Now, Casali will be one of three catchers on the Triple-A roster for the Iowa Cubs, who begin their 2024 season Friday night.

We’ll see which of the two veterans stick around in a month or so, as 32-year-old Joe Hudson along with Casali have opt-out options if they wish to explore other opportunities.

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The Cubs had Jorge Alfaro in camp down in Arizona during spring training, but after the team let him know that he wasn’t going to make the big league Opening Day roster Alfaro was released so he could catch on somewhere else.

We’ll see if Casali can bounce back from his dreadful 2023 season with the Reds and if he can he’d be a serviceable option at the major league level as a backup in case there’s an injury to Yan Gomes or Miguel Amaya.

Overall in his career, Casali has a slash line of .220/.314/.380, with 47 home runs in 502 games. He’s definitely not known as a power hitter, but Casali has shown a good eye at the plate, carrying a career 10.7 BB%. Defensively, Casali has posted positive defensive runs saved in the last three seasons and throughout his career he’s thrown out 25% of runners attempting to steal a base.

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