- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- As the Chicago Cubs continue to look for catching help after non-tendering backup John Baker on Tuesday, 13-year veteran David Ross could be in their sights, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Ross, 37, was free-agent pitcher Jon Lester’s catcher for 18 games last season with the Boston Red Sox. He caught Lester for 29 games over the past two years. Lester had a 2.02 ERA with Ross catching in 2014 and 2.77 overall in those 29 games.
RossWhile some of his offensive and defensive skills have faded with age, Ross is still considered a good receiver and pitch framer. He has ranked in the top 10 in that category over the past few years, while Cubs starter Welington Castillo has ranked near the bottom. There’s mutual interest between the team and Ross, according to a source.
Ross would provide some veteran leadership the Cubs have stated they want to add to the team. He has been to five postseasons. His batting average has declined each of the past five years, and he hasn’t played in more than 62 games since 2007.
So could Ross help draw Lester to Chicago?
There have not been any reported links between the two this offseason, but it’s not hard to connect the dots. Lester has had some of his best success recently with Ross behind the plate, and the two of them would bring championship experience as they helped the Red Sox to a title in 2013. Almost any pitcher would say they would love to have the same catcher every start, especially when they have had success with that person.
Ross made $3.1 million last season, so he’s definitely affordable for a year or two while the Cubs groom 2014 first-round pick Kyle Schwarber. Ross could bring a lot of the intangibles that Russell Martin possesses but without starting-catcher capabilities. A Lester/Ross package would certainly check a couple of boxes off the Cubs' offseason needs list.