Going beyond the ties between the Rays and the Cubs, each team has a key roster piece that the other desires. A trade makes sense.
Everyone knows that former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon left for the big money of Chicago. And, it’s not lost on anyone that the Cubs’ pitching coach is former Rays coach Jim Hickey. That only adds to the story line of connecting the Rays and the Cubs this trading season.
Looking at the rosters, it is clear that the Cubs need starting pitching. With every passing day, they will be questioning their starting rotation. Yu Darvish, their prized off-season acquisition, just hit the disabled list with right forearm tendonitis. Might the Cubs be interested in Chris Archer?
Now, let’s look at the Cubs. Just yesterday, the Cubs sent down top-ten prospect Victor Caratini to get him more playing time. The highly touted catcher is stuck on a roster that doesn’t necessarily need him. He’s not going to pass Willson Contreras on their depth charts any time soon. Realistically, the only other option would be to play him at first base. But, Anthony Rizzo would seem to have that position anchored for years to come.
Closing the loop on my piece from Friday where I suggested the top three trade candidates for the Tampa Bay Rays, the Cubs would seem a good landing spot for Archer. And, if the Rays then were to trade Wilson Ramos as I suspect they will, they will have a 24-year-old prize with a taste of big league experience ready to take over.
Who is Victor Caratini?
The Rays have struggled to find a long-term solution behind the plate. Signing Ramos during the 2017 off-season was a strong move. But, it was speculative and it was short-term. He was coming off a strong season followed by ACL surgery. He missed half of last season, but has rebounded at least as well as the Rays could have expected. But, he’s a free agent after this season. His performance this year only keeps the cash register chugging.
Victor Caratini represents everything the Rays play for. He’s still considered a rookie. He is under team control until 2024. He has big league experience. And he catches.
Caratini is a legitimate prospect. Fangraphs.com sums it up by saying “Caratini’s offensive profile is built around an encouraging combination of contact and power.”
No, he’s not regarded as a top catching alternative defensively. That is probably the downside of this argument. The Rays typically weigh defense higher than offense behind the plate. Rightfully so, for the most part. But, there is reasoning behind obtaining a young catching anchor that can grow with the young pitching staff of the Rays.
I’m not suggesting the Rays trade Chris Archer straight up for Victor Caratini. Another piece or two would need to be involved. The Rays front office team seams good at piecing together that sort of thing. But, it would seem like the two teams match up well. The Rays get a major league-ready catcher in Caratini. The Cubs get Chris Archer. Again. We can thank Matt Garza for the time Arch spent in Tampa Bay.