Cubs Acquire Catcher William Simoneit from Phillies

The Cubs have added a catcher to the organization, but don’t expect it to have an impact on the big league roster. Well, at least not immediately. They acquired 27-year-old William Simoneit from the Phillies for cash and assigned him to Double-A Tennessee. Simonette was not on the Phillies’ 40-man roster and thus does not need a spot with the Cubs, though the team could sure use a little help behind the plate.

That’s unlikely to come from Simoneit, who slashed .153/.297/.322 with a nearly 38% strikeout rate for the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils this season. He only got 74 plate appearances there and was hitless in three Triple-A PAs, so maybe he’s able to get closer to his .259/.359/.408 career minor-league marks in time. Even if he does, it’s hard to see Simoneit jumping the line if the Cubs do opt to make a chance behind the plate in Chicago.

Miguel Amaya has a 48 wRC+ so far, and only seven catchers who’ve logged at least 50 PAs this season have generated a lower mark than the 17 from Yan Gomes. For what it’s worth, Tucker Barnhart has a 56 wRC+ for the Diamondbacks and Curt Casali is at a 98 over 44 plate appearances for the Giants. Casali, you may recall, was at Triple-A Iowa with the Cubs earlier in the season. He also hit a two-run double against them last night for the Giant’s only scoring in the game.

Gomes has two runs batted since May 18, a span of 30 PAs, and Amaya has driven in two runs over his last 53 PAs dating back to May 22.

I’m not saying the Cubs erred grievously in not keeping Casali around, especially since things didn’t seem so bad back in mid-May. But, man, it sure would be nice to have a veteran backstop around who wasn’t creating runs at a rate 83% worse than the average big leaguer. Jed Hoyer has said improvement has to come from within, and there’s no lower-hanging fruit right now than upgrading their putrid offense behind the plate.

A trade would net a big boost on that front, though Hoyer has indicated that the market is not really open for business just yet. Even though he was talking more about an impact bat for the middle of the order, it’s unlikely the Cubs would make a fringe move first. Still, they’re probably continuing to kick the tires on Danny Jansen, Shea Langeliers, and Elías Díaz as Gomes continues to look washed.

Another option that would not require them to part with any prospects is to simply promote one. Moises Ballesteros was just fast-tracked to Triple-A at the tender age of 20 and all he did was go 2-for-4 with a double in his first game. He also struck out twice and was serving as the DH, which may be where he profiles best at the next level, so questions about him coming up to catch this season are very much justified. That said, it’s not as though the Cubs can do much worse than what they’re getting now.

There’s a higher probability of the Cubs trading for a catcher than calling up either Ballesteros or Simoneit, but any of those moves would require a 40-man spot. That probably means DFA’ing Gomes, a necessary evil whether the team wants to compete or go young.

Update: And just like that, the Cubs have parted ways with Gomes.

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