(CBS) The Cubs have been open about the fact that they’d like to add a veteran catcher for the stretch run to help spell burgeoning second-year pro Willson Contreras.
And now, manager Joe Maddon has made something else clear: It’s of the utmost importance that any potential addition has a team-first attitude and understands his standing with the team.
“Somebody that obviously understands his role,” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday when asked what he wants in a veteran catcher. “When you throw him out there, probably pretty defensively solid. It’s always nice to get a little offensive push, maybe at least some power. But a guy that definitely knows how to handle a staff, a guy that these pitchers would be comfortable with. Because we have some veteran pitchers here that we need to pop a guy out there that you want him to be comfortable with.
Maddon’s words can be construed both as earnest and as shade at former Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, who was cut in late June after he criticized right-hander Jake Arrieta’s trouble with holding baserunners on. That wasn’t the first time Montero has publicly aired dirty laundry, as on the day of the World Series parade last November he criticized Maddon for not clearly communicating his postseason role to him.
It seems all of that is still on Maddon’s mind as they search for a backup to Contreras on the trade market. They’ve lauded rookie catcher Victor Caratini but would like to add a player better prepared for the postseason stage.
“Of course, you’d like him to be a positive influence in the clubhouse,” Maddon said in continuing to discuss adding a catcher. “Because again, the guy’s not playing every day. So sometimes that’s difficult for some players to handle or understand. Probably a guy who’s been used to that a little bit, but when you put him out there, he definitely has a defensive impact and possibly can pop a home run once in a while.”
The Cubs have continued to express strong interest in Tigers catcher Alex Avila, who’s having one of his best seasons in hitting .280 with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and an .890 OPS in 73 games. Avila is also considered a plus defender. He’s set to be a free agent in November, so he’d be a rental acquisition.
The Cubs have also kept their eyes on Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine reported Monday.
Listen to Maddon’s full interview below.