Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Miguel Montero providing spark for Cubs
Last season, Welington Castillo struggled at the plate, while providing below-average work behind it – primarily in terms of pitch framing. So this winter, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer pulled the trigger on a deal to bring Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero to Chicago in exchange for a pair of low-level prospects after missing out on Russell Martin.
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The deal looked good right off the bat. The Cubs essentially ate the remaining three years and $40 million on Montero’s contract, while the Toronto Blue Jays gave up $80 million-plus to land Martin, the prized backstop on the market last winter.
Nearly two months into the season, that decision looks better than ever.
Montero carries a .267/.387/.455 batting line into Monday afternoon’s tilt at Wrigley against the Washington Nationals, to go along with five home runs and 16 runs batted in. He’s drawn 19 walks to 25 strikeouts, as he’s showcased an incredibly patient approach at the plate – especially in the month of May, when he’s increased his OBP from .333 to .429 (comparing April to May).
While the Cubs added him primarily for his work behind the plate, Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein felt that his bat, as well as his glove, would be assets for a young team in 2015 and beyond:
"“But we felt in this environment he was a great change-of-scenery guy, a good pitch framer, a good defensive catcher who relates well to pitchers, and we felt he was a really good fit for what we were looking to do,” Hoyer told the Chicago Tribune."
Montero is one of the more underrated names in the Cubs lineup. Having a catcher who provides value on both sides of the ball is something this organization has lacked for quite some time and this year, everything changed.
Next: 4) An ace emerges in the month of May