Perhaps Gimenez is a gateway signing for a certain free agent pitcher. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs appear to have a minor-league deal in place with catcher Chris Gimenez, which the University of Nevada baseball club (his collegiate team) tweeted recently and SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo confirms on Twitter. Other terms of the agreement are not yet known.

While minors pacts with veteran catchers typically aren’t very exciting, this one comes with some added interest. For one thing, Gimenez currently projects as the Cubs’ top reserve option behind regular Willson Contreras, with Jason Martinez of Roster Resource projecting that Victor Caratini will open the year at Triple-A.

Of much more speculative (but also more intriguing) note is the fact that Gimenez has an excellent relationship with reputed Chicago pitching target Yu Darvish from their joint time with the Rangers. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press has covered this topic from the Twins’ point of view, but it’s an interesting read for any fan — particularly those interested in possibly seeing Darvish at Wrigley.

Gimenez, clearly, is a target in his own right. The personable 35-year-old is fresh off of a quality season in which he ran a .220/.350/.382 batting line in a career-high 225 plate appearances. He has typically not hit at quite that level, but comes witha  solid defensive reputation, too. Though his framing metrics slipped in ’17 in the eyes of Stat Corner, Gimenez drew good marks from Baseball Prospectus and has typically graded around league-average in that area.

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This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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