Cubs sign catcher William Simoneit to minor league deal
USA Today Sports

Cubs sign catcher William Simoneit to minor league deal

by - Senior Writer -

In what was a long time coming, the Chicago Cubs finally made a change at the catcher position as Yan Gomes was designated for assignment early Wednesday morning. Expecting some sort of move, this wasn't the move that many saw coming as it was the trade market where most thought the Cubs would add catching help to their roster.

Replacing Gomes will be former New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido, who immediately takes over behind Miguel Amaya as the team's top backup. However, since letting Curt Casali go and watching them connect for an RBI double against the Cubs on Tuesday, the Cubs have come to realize that they need more catching depth across the board, as Moises Ballesteros and Pablo Aliendo aren't ready to take the reigns just yet.

Enter William Simoneit, who came to terms with the Cubs on a Minor League deal on Wednesday and will now make his way to Tennessee later this week. The former Philadelphia Phillies prospect is basically taking over for Ballesteros in AA while also filling in for Aliendo, who appears to be nursing some minor injuries at the moment.

The 27-year-old Simoneit was a Rule 5 selection by the Phillies last December after they drafted him from the Oakland A's system. Initially an undrafted free agent as part of the COVID-shortened draft in 2020, Simoneit has yet to reach AAA, as most of his success has come in the lower-level Minor Leagues.

Simoneit saw some results in the lower-level minors, especially during his time in Low-A, but once he reached AA, those results began to tumble. This season wasn't just a rough season for him; he fell off a cliff and became a complete liability, making it easy for the Phillies organization to cut ties with him, hence why he is now with the Cubs.

Since breaking into the league four seasons ago, Simoneit has posted a career average of .251, hitting 24 homers and driving in 135. His best season came in 2021 when he hit .273 across 91 games with 10 homers and 53 RBIs while playing for High-A Lansing. Since that season, things have taken a turn for the worse for Simoneit to the point where it felt like he would be a career minor leaguer at best.

Look no further than this season, when he played in 20 games for the Phillies organization and hit just .145 in those games. He added two homers and eight RBIs in the process, but his overall production wasn't all that appealing. Now with the Cubs, Simoneit will have an opportunity to play more with Tennessee, with the hopes of rediscovering his old form that had him looking like a reliable piece just two seasons ago.

Some may wonder why the Cubs would add a catcher hitting this poorly, even if he is on a minor-league deal. The initial thoughts would be that he is a great defensive catcher who is very good at both framing and calling games. That is something this organization has valued the past few seasons, especially when they have had so many young arms rising at the pace they have.

Simoneit will pair with Casey Opitz for the time being while Aliendo is on the mend as the two of them not only share similar traits, but will also split the duties behind the plate. The one upside when it comes to Simoneit is that he has shown some power in that bat before, and there may be a chance he can rediscover that in Tennessee.

Considering that he has only been a professional for a few seasons, and given the track record that catchers tend to develop at a much slower pace, hope isn't lost on Simoneit just yet. The Cubs hope he can deliver something for the rest of this season before they reassess for next year.

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