Cubs complete deal, reunite Ross with Lester

Catcher who works well with left-hander inks two-year contract

Cubs complete deal, reunite Ross with Lester

CHICAGO -- David Ross and Jon Lester are together again, while Welington Castillo appears to be the odd man out.

The Cubs announced Tuesday they have signed Ross to a two-year contract. According to CBSSports.com, Ross' deal includes a $500,000 signing bonus, and he will be paid $2.25 million in 2015 and $2.25 million in 2016.

In 13 seasons, Ross has a .233 career batting average. What's key is that in 29 games over two seasons catching Lester with Boston, the lefty pitcher has a 2.77 ERA with 192 strikeouts over 195 innings. And, in case you forgot, the Cubs just signed Lester to a six-year, $155 million contract.

Ross caught five of Lester's first seven starts this past season, and the lefty posted a 2.19 ERA with 43 strikeouts and walked five.

"When you mix his stuff with my brains, it's awesome," Ross said in early May.

Ross, who turns 38 in March, was behind the plate for four of Lester's five postseason starts in 2013 with the Red Sox. Lester went 3-1 in those games and gave up four earned runs over 27 innings, striking out 22 and walking four. And the only loss came in a 1-0 decision to the Tigers in the American League Championship Series.

Ross on game-winning hit

Ross said goodbye to Red Sox nation Friday on Twitter: "Thx for all the kind words & support. Boston will always hold a special place in my heart. Looking forward to this next chapter. #Grateful"

The Cubs have made it no secret they want to upgrade at catcher. They tried to sign free agent Russell Martin this offseason, but he opted to go to Toronto. Ross is the second catcher the Cubs have acquired this offseason. They traded two Minor League pitchers to the D-backs for Miguel Montero last week.

What happens to Castillo, 27, is to be determined. The Cubs' starter the last two seasons, Castillo batted .274 in 2013 but followed that with a .237 batting average this past season. He is arbitration eligible after making $530,000 last season.

When Montero was acquired, there were rumors that Castillo was gone via trade but president of baseball operations Theo Epstein denied they were "shopping" him. Instead, Epstein said Castillo and Montero complemented each other.

However, Epstein also said they'd always listen regarding a possible trade.

Montero, 31, batted .243 in 136 games last season with the D-backs. He's owed $40 million over the next three years, and the Cubs will assume all of the money.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.