Cubs' Catching Woes and 3 Players That Can Solve Them

Miguel Amaya walks off the field during a clash with the Brewers earlier this season.
Miguel Amaya walks off the field during a clash with the Brewers earlier this season. / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

This month has been nothing short of disastrous for the Cubs: they've gone 10-17 since May 1, skidding from a tie for first in the NL Central to 5.5 games back.

Among the weaknesses highlighted in the Cubs' cold streak is the struggling catching platoon of Miguel Amaya and veteran Yan Gomes.

The offensive output for both catchers has been a major issue: Amaya is hitting just .196 with an OPS of .544 in 125 plate appearances, while Gomes has mustered a .158 average and a .417 OPS.

Amaya has been a liability on defense, allowing 23 stolen bases on 24 attempts. Per Baseball Savant, his Caught Stealing Above Average number is three below that of an average MLB catcher - a mark that ranks him 60th of 62 qualified catchers this season.

Amaya and Gomes' pop times also rank below the league average of 1.99 seconds, at 2.03 and 2.01 seconds respectively.

The Cubs' top catching prospect is Moises Ballesteros, but the 20-year-old is still only in AA and not expected to make his MLB debut for another two years.

An upgrade at catcher is crucial for the Cubs if they end up buyers at the trade deadline. Here are three moves that make sense for Craig Counsell and Jed Hoyer come July 31:

1. Elias Diaz

Elias Diaz
Elias Diaz during a game against the Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The 20-35 Colorado Rockies are likely to be sellers once again at the deadline, and Elias Diaz is shaping up to be a top target for teams in search of a catcher.

Diaz, 33, can bring veteran experience to Wrigley Field, and his slash line of .299/.343/.431 with a .774 OPS is exactly the kind of production the Cubs need.

Diaz doesn't have incredible power (just four home runs this season), but his 50 hits would put him at the top of the list for Cubs hitters (Nico Hoerner is the current leader with 49).

Diaz is also a plus-defender, ranking in the 88th percentile or higher in Baseball Savant's Framing, Pop Time and Caught Stealing Above Average metrics.

The Rockies could be enticed to send Diaz to Chicago if they get a solid prospect return to bolster their struggling farm system.

2. Shea Langeliers

Shea Langeliers
Shea Langeliers trots around the bases during a game against the Houston Astros this season / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Langeliers isn't the hitter for average that Diaz is, but his 12 home runs (two more than Cubs HR leader Christopher Morel) and .491 slugging percentage (20 points higher than Cubs SLG leader Cody Bellinger) make him the kind of power hitter that the Cubs need in the lineup.

Langeliers is not too shabby behind the plate either: his 1.90-second pop time ranks him in the 88th percentile among MLB catchers and he has above-average framing and caught stealing numbers. Another plus is his arm strength, in which he ranks fourth among qualified catchers with an average of 84.2 miles per hour.

The Athletics are known for their deadline fire sales under owner John Fisher. If the Cubs can put together a good package and Fisher is feeling generous, Langeliers can be a solid pickup.

3. Alejandro Kirk

Alejandro Kirk
Alejandro Kirk makes a throw during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Even though Kirk is struggling offensively this season, he matches Amaya's RBI total (13) in 16 less plate appearances. His .211 average is not spectacular, albeit better than both Amaya and Gomes.

Kirk is still only 25 years old and has already established himself as one of the better defensive catchers this season. He has caught six runners on 18 steal attempts against him, a percentage landing him in the top ten among qualified catchers.

It's possible that Kirk could benefit from a change of scenery after his rough start in Toronto this season. His playing time has decreased due to Danny Jansen's hot hitting, but the 2022 All-Star undoubtedly has it in him to turn his production around.

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