Read, 28, spent five seasons ranked among the Nationals’ top 30 prospects over at Baseball America. He reached the Majors both in 2017 and 2019 but received very brief auditions, going 4-for-22 and only drawing three starts behind the dish. The 2017 Nats had Matt Wieters locked in as their primary catcher, with Jose Lobaton backing him up. Read served an 80-game PED suspension in 2018, and by 2019 the Nats had moved onto Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki as their veteran tandem behind the plate.
There’s no immediate path to playing time in Chicago, where Yasmani Grandal is installed as the starter behind the plate. The backup situation is a bit more fluid, with less-established names like Seby Zavala and Zack Collins currently in the mix. Yermin Mercedes caught 18 games for the ChiSox’ Triple-A affiliate last year as well, though he was used more frequently at first base and at designated hitter.
Read ought to get plenty of reps behind the dish in the upper minors with the South Siders. He’s spent parts of three seasons in Triple-A and owns a .275/.313/.523 batting line with 26 home runs, 24 doubles and three triples through 466 plate appearances at that level. He’s also halted 36% of stolen-base attempts in his pro career, and BA noted in its 2019 report that he’d made strides in terms of his footwork and receiving over the years.