(CBS) One of the biggest questions pertaining to the Cubs’ 25-man postseason roster is whether they’ll carry three catchers on it.
Chicago has done just that for much of the regular season, most recently with veterans David Ross and Miguel Montero and rookie Willson Contreras. Now, 19 games remain in the regular season to figure out what’s best for the team’s roster make-up in the year’s biggest games, and the Cubs are weighing the costs and benefits of doing three catchers.
“It’s always nice,” manager Joe Maddon said on the Spiegel and Goff Show on Tuesday. “I can’t deny that. Really, from a manager’s perspective, when you have to put your second catcher in and you don’t have a third one, it’s really (scary). It does warm you up a little bit knowing the guy’s there.”
In last season’s playoffs, the Cubs had the comfort of knowing that outfielder Kyle Schwarber could serve as the third catcher if circumstances dictated so, as that was his primary position in college and the minor leagues. With Schwarber out for the season with a knee injury, the Cubs don’t have that luxury this year.
Ross is a lock to make the postseason roster, and Contreras’ hitting ability — and versatility to play left field too — suggest he’ll be on it too. At this point, Montero would seem to be the most likely to be left off the Cubs’ roster if they go with two catchers. Helping Montero’s cause is that right-hander Jake Arrieta is most comfortable working with him.
If the Cubs carry two catchers, infielder Javier Baez would be the emergency third catcher.
“If we got caught in a pinch if in fact we went with two, Javy is the third catcher, believe it or not,” Maddon said. “We would do that if we had to. But again, that would be part of the roster construction moving forward. I don’t know where we’re going to be with that right now, but it always is a good feeling to know you have somebody else that can do that in a pinch.”
Asked directly about the three-catcher situation on the Mully and Hanley Show last week, Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio’s response indicated the Cubs would be willing to carry all three catchers on their postseason roster if it makes their pitchers happy.
“Starting pitchers have carried us all year,” Bosio said. “It’s the reason we’re in this position. Offense is a luxury. We’re averaging the least amount of pitches per start in all of baseball. We’re also throwing the least amount of pitches in our bullpen. So our formula is working, and I imagine we’ll probably stick to our guns and do the same thing and play the matchup game as we get ready for the playoffs and try to figure out who will play and how we’ll go about it.”