It’s a homecoming for Higgins, who was drafted by the Cubs in the 12th round of the 2015 draft. He made his big league debut on the north side back in 2021 with a nine-game cup of coffee before getting a longer look in the organization the following season as the club’s third catcher behind Willson Contreras and Yan Gomes. Higgins made it into 74 games that season, slashing .229/.310/.383 in 229 plate appearances, good for a roughly average wRC+ of 97. In addition to his 236 innings of work behind the plate, Higgins spent time at both infield corners with the Cubs in 2022.
Despite that solid performance, Higgins was eventually designated for assignment by the Cubs during the offseason to make room for newly-signed catcher Tucker Barnhart on the 40-man roster. Higgins elected free agency shortly thereafter before signing with the Diamondbacks on a minor league deal shortly after the new year. In 2023, Higgins has hit well at the Triple-A level for Arizona with a .317/.407/.473 slash line (116 wRC+) in 58 games. Unfortunately for Higgins, he was blocked with the Diamondbacks by Gabriel Moreno, Carson Kelly, and Jose Herrera, all of whom were on the 40-man roster in Arizona.
Higgins now returns to Chicago, though he’s once again blocked by a trio of catchers on the 40-man roster: Barnhart, Gomes, and Miguel Amaya. That being said, Barnhart has struggled massively at the plate with a wRC+ of just 58 in 110 plate appearances this season, while Gomes was among MLBTR’s Top 50 Deadline Trade Candidates earlier this month. Should the club move on from either Barnhart or Gomes in the near future, Higgins could have a path to a roster spot with the Cubs as the club’s third catcher. In the meantime, he figures to head to Triple-A where he’ll share time with Dom Nunez and Bryce Windham at the Triple-A level.