The Cubs had interest in catcher Martin Maldonado before he agreed to join the Royals on Saturday, Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports (subscription required). The presence of established starting catcher Willson Contreras worked against the Cubs in this instance, though, as Mooney hears Maldonado wanted to go to a team capable of offering him a solid amount of playing time. After losing out on Maldonado, the Cubs are still interested in bolstering their depth at catcher behind Contreras and Victor Caratini, Mooney hears.
- Maldonado only ended up in Kansas City because starting catcher Salvador Perez needed Tommy John surgery – a procedure veteran Matt Wieters expects to become more commonplace for backstops. Wieters, who underwent the procedure in 2014 (the first time a starting catcher required the surgery since 1997), told Joel Sherman of the New York Post this week, “I think it is because more and more you are on the clock,” referring to the fact that teams are now timing catchers when they throw. “I am not sure that is a great way to go,” the Cardinals’ Wieters opines. Along with Perez and Wieters, the Red Sox’s Christian Vazquez and the Mets’ Travis d’Arnaud are the most prominent catchers who have undergone TJ surgery in recent years, Sherman notes.
- With Kyle Seager battling a wrist injury, Ryon Healy has emerged as the Mariners’ top fallback option at third base, Greg Johns of MLB.com writes. Healy totaled over 100 games’ worth of action at the hot corner with the Athletics from 2016-17, but he barely played there last year with the Mariners, instead spending almost all of his time at first. The addition of Edwin Encarnacion has pushed Healy out of a starting spot there, however, and so did his subpar production in 2018. In his first year with the Mariners, Healy slashed an unimpressive .238/.277/.412 (90 wRC+) in 524 plate appearances, continuing his drop-off from an encouraging 2016 rookie campaign with the A’s.
- Contrary to popular belief, Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez is not out of minor league options, Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweets. Rather, the Rockies will be able to demote Estevez this season “based on complicated regulations regarding full seasons played and age at the time of signing,” Harding writes. That will afford the Rockies more flexibility in their bullpen, where it appeared they’d either have to keep Estevez or potentially lose him. The 26-year-old was a part of the group from 2016-17, but he struggled to a 5.36 ERA (though he did post a much better 4.08 FIP) with 9.27 K/9, 4.33 BB/9 and a 44.3 percent groundball rate across 87 1/3 innings. Thanks in part to oblique and elbow injuries, Estevez failed to appear in the majors last season.
- Cubs reliever Xavier Cedeno is likely to miss the start of the season on account of a wrist injury, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. It doesn’t seem overly serious, though, as Cedeno’s only expected to sit out the next seven to 10 days. Cedeno, whom the Cubs signed to a minor league contract in February, had been competing for a bullpen spot after several productive seasons divided among the Astros, Nationals, Rays, White Sox and Brewers. Over 175 1/3 innings, the 32-year-old southpaw has logged a 3.69 ERA/3.80 FIP with 8.91 K/9, 3.54 BB/9 and a 50.4 grounder percentage, and has held same-sided hitters to a weak .218/.285/.298 line.