Friday, February 20, 2009

The Most Irrelevant ST Position Battle: Backup to Geo

I'm going to make an effort to preview all the spring training battles the Cubs have, and there aren't many. I mentioned center field in my Fukudome post and I will have more on that later. The fourth starter competition will be interesting, as will the fight to start at second base (Lou will just have Miles and Fontenot fight each other to the death). 

Today I'm going to talk about the most irrelevant battle, backup catcher. In reality Geovany Soto's backup won't get more than 30 starts this year, and even that may be too many. Last year Henry Blanco was as good a backup catcher as a team could ask for, but for some reason the Cubs decided that they no longer wanted him around. So Paul Bako makes his return to the Cubs to battle with Koyie Hill for the right to sit on the bench and play once a week. Neither brings much in terms of hitting, Bako is a .231 career hitter with a 62 OPS+ (100 is an average player), Hill has a .095 career average with a 38 OPS+. Both can be decent defensively and I'm sure both can handle the pitchers, though I hope that Soto is always the catcher when Z starts.

For the sake of making a prediction, I think Hill ends up making the team. He is cheaper than Bako, and I don't see any difference between the two. Either way hopefully Soto can remain healthy this season so that we don't have to see the backup more than once a week all season.

Quick addition Carlos Marmol is reconsidering playing in the WBC. All I can say is thank you!

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