The Cubs hope catcher George Kottaras is another undervalued asset that can be part of a mix-and-match roster.
While Dioner Navarro is leaving for a reported two-year, $8 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cubs settled with Kottaras on a one-year contract worth $1.075 million plus incentives, a source said Monday night.
The Cubs expected Navarro would cash in as a free agent and look elsewhere for more playing time after hitting .300 with 13 homers in only 240 at-bats. The backup catcher and one-time All-Star used a one-year, $1.75 million deal to reestablish himself as a big-league player.
[MORE: Cubs will non-tender Bard]
The Cubs only had to give up cash last week to acquire Kottaras after the Kansas City Royals designated the arbitration-eligible backup for assignment. He hit .180 in 46 games last season, but still managed to finish with a .349 on-base percentage.
Kottaras, 30, grew up in Canada and played for Greece in the 2004 Summer Olympics. He has drawn 115 walks in 820 career plate appearances and posted a .991 fielding percentage in 231 games behind the plate.
For now, the Cubs are committed to Welington Castillo, who at the age of 26 has a chance to become a building-block piece. They won’t be signing a high-profile catcher this winter.