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The Chicago Cubs reportedly signed catcher Louis Torrence to a minor league deal

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The Chicago Cubs add another backup catcher, reportedly signing Luis Torrens to a minor league deal. That would give them no less than five attractive options between their big-league roster (Yan Gomez and Tucker Barnhart), the 40-man roster (Miguel Amaya), and three-A big-league forwards (Torrence and Sun Nunez).

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Word of Torrens’ signature comes from the media chief of the Navegantes del Magallanes team in Venezuela (where Torrens played this winter):

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Launched to hit a whopping .387/.484/.600 in Venezuela, Torrens has hit .240/.298/.388/93 wRC+ over the past three years in MLB. It generally expects it to be about 5 to 10% below average in 2023, if it’s in the big leagues, through various projection systems. He’s a first-rate bat catcher for sure (he’s spent much of the past two years DH’ing with the Mariners), but he hasn’t made enough to get a major league deal.

I’ve had an idea for a while that this was coming, Thats why I wrote this:

I’ve heard the Cubs might add another catcher in Triple-A, which makes sense – it gives you another depth option in addition to Dom Nuñez, and gives you some buffer for Miguel Amaya so the main focus there is development, without unnecessary rushing in the event of an injury. It might be the case that the Cubs want Amaya to get a taste of the big league in the middle of the season if there’s an injury ahead of him (he’s already in his 40s), but you don’t want to have to do that. So, high-quality Premier League makers are good for many reasons.

That’s what Torrens can offer the Cubs: extra protection against having to make decisions they don’t want to make yet.

And like Dom Nuñez, Torrens doesn’t stink. So it’s a great extra option to be in if Yan Gomez or Tucker Barnhart are injured.

Torrens, 26, is out of minor league options, so the Mariners decided to move on after the season rather than offer him a contract in arbitration. You may remember him as one of the Padres’ top prospects, who came to the major leagues at a very young age (21), and was later traded to the Mariners as part of a seven-player Austin Nola deal in 2020. It looked like he was finally starting to catch on in a year. 2021, he posted 101 wRC+ (well above average for a catch), but slumped in 2022, as energy evaporates and strikes explode.

On the plus side, the Torrens can play some on the field (outside of shortstop), so it gives you a little bit of the variety the Cubs were missing when PJ Higgins headed to free agency. On the less positive side, Torrens is generally rated as a relatively poor catcher on the defensive side.

All that said, a backup catcher in a minor league deal? This is about as good as it gets, and I’m really glad the Cubs have taken out a mission to get the Torrens back on the right track.

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