As most of the fun Cubs rumors continue to swirl around Prince Fielder and Yu Darvish, it appears as if they could have interest in a couple of old Boston veterans.
Neither Jason Varitek or Tim Wakefield are expected to return to the Sox next season as both are still free agents. The Sox signed Kelly Shoppach earlier this week, and with Jarrod Saltalamacchia already starting behind the dish, it appears that there isn’t room for the former Sox captain.
The Cubs are in need of a backup catcher. Koyie Hill was (finally) non-tendered on Monday, and as good as he may have been in handling the pitching staff, it appears as though he’s gone forever.
That means either Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger will back up Geovany Soto next season. However, going in the direction of a veteran like Varitek could make some sense. But how much does he really have left in the tank? As a backup catcher, Varitek wouldn’t be relied on for too much, but he’s capable of providing some pop off the bench. The most important aspect of a potential signing would be that veteran presence he’d bring to the clubhouse.
There are certainly some questioned to be raised about potentially signing Varitek, mostly relating to those two young catchers the Cubs still have in the minors. Is it time to see what either Castillo or Clevenger could, literally, bring to the plate? Or should the Cubs keep a veteran presence behind Soto?
Also reportedly on the Cubs’ radar is knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. The Cubs are obviously looking for pitching depth, and while the 45-year-old wouldn’t be a big splash in any stretch, he could be a solid addition to build up that depth. He could come out of the bullpen and start at the back end of the rotation and give you some solid innings.
Neither would likely cost very much, and it’s easy to see the Boston connection as one reason the Cubs could have interest in the two veterans. They are also rumored to be interested in Coco Crisp, though that would be hard to see unless they intend to deal Alfonso Soriano before the winter is over.