The Chicago Cubs and free-agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba agreed to a minor league contract on Thursday, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. He will report to the team’s spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz., before presumably being assigned elsewhere.
Torrealba, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this year, but opted to become a free agent after failing to make the 25-man roster out of spring training. He’s sat out from the game since then, waiting for an opportunity to arise like the one he’s now found in Chicago.
With John Baker and Eli Whiteside currently splitting the at-bats behind the plate for the Cubs during the absence of injured starter Welington Castillo, there’s some room for Torrealba to potentially find a role. Baker has hit a miserable .159/.213/.188 in 69 plate appearances this season, while Whiteside is 0-for-12 during his brief time with the team.
Torrealba likely won’t take the full-time gig from Castillo once he returns, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Chicago gave the experienced backstop a shot. It wouldn’t hurt, really, given the sub-replacement level production that’s been provided in recent weeks.
Castillo, 27, has batted .242/.287/.385 with eight doubles and five home runs in 161 plate appearances on the season. He’s a .263/.330/.402 career hitter, well above his marks this season.
Torrealba last played for the Colorado Rockies in 2013, backing up Wilin Rosario. He batted .240/.295/.285 with zero home runs in 196 plate appearances. He hasn’t been a particularly effective hitter in the past few years, last posting average or better numbers in 2010 when he batted .271/.343/.378 for the San Diego Padres.