The rumored interest of the Cubs in former Red Sox Coco Crisp and Jason Varitek could be telling of potential trades on the horizon.
A deal for Crisp would reaffirm the speculation Alfonso Soriano is headed out of town via trade, and a Varitek signing could mean Geovany Soto has played his last game as a Cub.
Crisp, 32, would essentially bridge-the-gap for a few coveted outfield prospects who are still under development in the Cubs’ system.
While his bat isn’t what it use to be, Coco’s glove work is still sufficient, and far better than Soriano’s clumsy defense in LF–which, of course, isn’t saying much.
Nonetheless, no matter how you twist, turn, or shape it…Soriano doesn’t fit the Cubs New Way. As we all understand, he’s clearly better fit for an AL role as a full time DH.
The tough part is paying Soriano to go away, which likely forces the Cubs to eat a sizable amount of his excessive contract to lure potential suitors.
Signing Crisp, however, will leave the Cubs no other option, and signal the league the Cubs are sitting at its dinner table stock-piled with Soriano’s dead presidents.
Varitek, 39, is more of a question mark. Although his offensive numbers were decent as a bench player in 2011, I think it’s fair to assume Varitek’s addition to the club is based more on his high character than his backstopping.
And with Koyie Hill officially departed, the Cubs are in need of a second string catcher.
The addition of Varitek would appear two-fold: first, his clubhouse leadership. Secondly, his willingness to tutor the Cubs young, and up-and-coming catcher, Welington Castillo.
Castillo, 24, has long been on the Cubs minor league radar, ranking as high as the fifth-best prospect in the system.
Soto, meanwhile, has shown promise calling games behind the plate, but has struggled mightily to find consistency with his bat over the past three seasons.
Although many Cubs fans have grown tired of Soto’s unfulfilled promise as a hitter since his rookie season, he still has above average trade value.
At 28, Soto is entering his prime, finished third last season in HR hit by catchers, and ranked third in the majors in gunning down would-be base stealers.
Regardless of whether Soto has lived up to expectations, he’s still considered a top-tier backstop. But the real question is for how much longer?