There are some who call him injury depth, there are some who call him a defensive specialist, there are some who call him a prototypical AAAA player...
Tim the Emergency Catcher (not the Tim the Enchanter) has been added to the Cubs roster as a result of Miguel Montero's forced 15-day Disabled List stint. Miggy has had some back stiffness and soreness problems lingering for several days now, so Cubs brass decided to play it safe and let him get some rest.
Meanwhile, this opened up the door for Tim Federowicz, who was signed as an NRI this off-season to serve precisely this role. Thankfully, he stuck around and accepted a spot in the waiting room known as Iowa after being cut in March.
Luckily, as the Cubs were stashing Tim the Emergency Catcher in Iowa, I was stashing this 2012 Topps Heritage Card in my "queue box," just in case. After all, Miggy seems to end up on the DL at least once or twice a season.
Federowicz has had a couple extensive trials in the Bigs with the Dodgers; however, his bat has never blossomed to MLB quality (career .194 BA in 89 games). That said, his skills behind the dish have drawn rave reviews, leading him down the road of third catchers and Quad-A status.
Now, some might be asking themselves, "Why this boring option? Why aren't we calling up super-prospect Willson Contreras?" I mean, Willson, after having won the Southern League batting title last season, is off to a blazing start in his first AAA season (.375 through 14 games).
Anyone pull one of these yet? I'd gladly trade you for it!
But, it should be noted that while his bat may very well be big league ready, his defensive chops need some work. Contreras is fairly new to the catching game, having been converted to backstop in 2012 after having spent his lifetime previously in the infield.
Manager Joe Maddon has been quoted (and I'm paraphrasing here) that as it stands, Miggy's injury is not a serious one and should not need a lengthy DL stint. Thus, it's better for Willson to stay in AAA and work on development while Tim comes up, plugs a temporary gap and splits time with Grandpa Rossy. However, should Miggy worsen and require an extended stay, the young catcher could get the call for regular playing time, as his potent bat would be needed.
And so, this is how Tim the Emergency Catcher becomes an official Chicago Cub. No offense to him, but I hope his stay is short. The Cubs offense has been potent enough to withstand a short loss of Montero - however, I will start to worry if Tim's bat has to stick around long term.
Welcome to the collection, Tim and get well soon, Miggy!
(Kris Bryant's ankle better be okay, I don't want to be doing another one of these posts for him!)