Cubs to sign free agent catcher Joe Mauer

Milwaukee, Wis.

— Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer announced Wednesday that the club has signed free agent Joe M, who was on the 40-man roster on Thursday.

Hoyer said Mauer, who is from St. Louis, was the “first catcher to go in this organization” and is “the best option for us right now.”

He said the club hopes to bring him back as a trade piece.

The 28-year-old Mauer had spent the past two seasons in the Chicago White Sox system, but was cut last summer when the club traded for outfielder Jon Lester and left-hander Matt Garza.

He has two seasons of major league experience under his belt and was the team’s primary catcher from 2012-13.

Mauer is batting .237 with a .301 on-base percentage and five homers in 46 games with the Cubs.

He is batting just .206 with no homers and four RBIs in 25 games this season.