Meanwhile, veteran catcher Koyie Hill is a major liability at the plate, which is on display right now with his 1-for-27 spring. He turns 32 in March and has a horrible career .578 OPS in 774 plate appearances. Koyie's a very well-respected teammate, and the pitching staff especially likes working with him. He's your prototypical light-hitting(well, he takes that to the extreme) catcher that is on the team solely because of his solid defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.
However, the bottom line is Koyie's like having two pitchers in the batting order, and while he's a good backstop, he may not even be better than Castillo there. Then when you factor in what Castillo's shown at the plate this spring and the clear upside of the young catcher, it seems the Cubs would be better off going with Castillo as the backup catcher to Geovany Soto on the 25-man roster.
So it was nice to hear manager Mike Quade speak very highly of Castillo today:
"He's got a game-changing arm to go along with a bat that's starting to get real interesting," manager Mike Quade said. "If he'll continue to mature and if he can handle the mental part of the game … I think we've all watched some pretty darn good physical tools. Boy, he's an exciting young kid."Source: Chicago Tribune
Quade, bench coach Pat Listach and pitching coach Mark Riggins will meet with general manager Jim Hendry, assistant GM Randy Bush and assistant to the GM Greg Maddux on Tuesday morning to give their thoughts on how the Cubs' 25-man roster should shake out.
Koyie Hill is slated as the backup catcher to Geovany Soto, though he's only 1-for-27 (.037) this spring. Does Castillo have a shot?
"Those are things that for now, organizationally, Jim and Randy will have ideas directionally on where we want to go with that," Quade said.
I've thought up until today that Koyie was going to get the job, especially after he signed an $850,000 deal to avoid arbitration over the offseason. But, with how well Castillo's playing, how poorly Koyie's playing, and the raving comments Quade provided today on Castillo, I'm really starting to think it's about 50/50 as to which catcher makes the team.
If Castillo continues hitting anything like he is now for the rest of Spring Training and the Cubs go with Koyie, they're going to have an extremely difficult time proving they made the right decision.
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