Tim Dierkes from MLBTR tweets:
Have talked to multiple agents who think Cubs will spend good money on FA catcher this winter. They are underestimating Welington Castillo!
— timdierkes (@timdierkes) October 2, 2013
Seeing how agents are always the most reliable source for this kind of thing, this has to mean Brian McCann, right? The only other catching free agents of note are Jarrod Saltalamacchia and (maybe) Kurt Suzuki. Salty had a big year with the Red Sox last year but it's not clear that he's much better than Castillo, who was quietly just about as good this year. Suzuki is a lot worse than I remembered - he posted a couple of 3+ WAR seasons with the A's a few years ago but has been worth 1 fWAR over the past two seasons combined. Suzuki can draw walks and is a good defender so maybe that could be a draw, but that's pretty much sums up his game. He can't hit his way out of a paper bag. There's also the 35 year old Carlos Ruiz (not happening) and A.J. Pierzynski (Cubs fans would revolt).
If there's anything to this rumor at all, I read it as the Cubs not being particularly enamored with Castillo. I've always thought he was just a guy, so if they go after someone to bounce him I won't get too upset. Still, I'd rather be hearing rumors that they're looking for an OF or a 2b/3b as insurance against inevitable prospect failure. I feel pretty safe in saying that one of the Cubs big four is going to bust big time, and if the Cubs end up blocking someone, well they can always flip them for pitching.