Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Catcher Miguel Montero has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday for cash considerations and a player to be named later.
Montero started this season with the Chicago Cubs, primarily serving as the backup to Willson Contreras. The 33-year-old hit well with a .286/.366/.439 slash line in 44 games, but he wore out his welcome with the defending World Series champions.
Specifically, after a June 27 game against the Washington Nationals, Montero had some choice words for Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta after the Nationals stole seven bases off the battery in a 6-1 win, via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat:
“It really sucked because the stolen base goes on me. When you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time. It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, Miggy can’t throw anybody out.’ Yeah, but my pitchers don’t hold anybody on. It’s tough. … I don’t get a chance to throw. That’s the reason they were running left and right. They knew he was slow to the plate, simple as that.”
Throwing out would-be base stealers has been a problem for Montero in recent years. Since 2016, runners have gone 82-of-90 in stolen-base attempts against Montero.
The day after his comments, the Cubs designated him for assignment. Manager Joe Maddon admitted what the catcher said about a teammate played a role in the move.
“For our purposes right now, taking everything into consideration, we thought this was the right thing to do,” Maddon said, per Muskat. “The comments drove it a little bit, I can’t deny that.”
While Montero has had his problems defensively, especially over the past two seasons, a catcher who can hit for average, power and get on base is one of the biggest luxuries in Major League Baseball.
Toronto is betting on Montero’s potential with the bat and hopes his change in circumstances will force him to become a better teammate. He’s still a valuable big leaguer who can help the Blue Jays lineup.
He’s also playing for another contract after this season, so Toronto has every reason to expect he will be on his best behavior for the rest of 2017.