The Chicago Cubs have a problem. They have three catchers. Yet, with his strong performances lately, Miguel Montero is making the everyone take notice.
I have a confession to make: I lost confidence in Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero. Too many moments over his time with the Cubs have led to many of us jumping ship. Whether it was a passed ball, a strikeout with runners in scoring position, or not being able to throw out runners, we saw the poor moments. Therefore, we lost confidence in him. Furthermore, never did we celebrate his successes. For that, Montero, I apologize.
But while we, the fans, played coach from our seat in front of the television, Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon saw the everyday man. Sure, it must be hard to balance Montero’s role right now. Wilson Contreras has performed well and it is no doubt that he is the future of the team. As much as Montero love the winning, watching a young player come in and take your position, leaving you less time behind the plate must be hard. However, Montero has handled it well.
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In his press conference on August 16, Maddon said of Montero getting less time, “Give Miggy absolute credit, man. He’s been fabulous.” Maddon continued to praise Montero for not only serving as a mentor to the young rookie but being a winning teammate. That takes a man.
Over the past 28 days, Montero has shown he is worthy of playing. In his 12 games, he is hitting .345, coming up with clutch hits. We witnessed the walkoff homerun yesterday as the Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers in ten innings and starting the division winning celebration. He also hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th versus the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 29.
You may also remember his performance on September 6, again against the Brewers. With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Montero doubled to deep right field. On this play, the announcer says, “Montero racing for second,” and the camera cuts to him slowly jogging into the bag. A stand-up double. There were people that took to twitter criticizing the words of the announcer compared to what the video showed. Montero would score on a single by Chris Coghlan. It led to a Chicago Cubs win.
After the game, Montero responded to his critics on twitter:
Now, Montero is healthy. And, his confidence is showing. It is easy to forget that he was an offensive All-Star while with the Arizona Diamondbacks. For the season, he has 12 multi-hit games, and three of those have come in the last four weeks. The Cubs will need this type of production out of him throughout the playoffs.
Consequently, the issue moving forward will be balancing time with Montero, Contreras, and Kyle Schwarber, if all three remain at catcher. Each has their value: Montero’s experience, Contreras’s ability to throw runners out stealing, and Schwarber’s bat. If this type of production continues for Montero, he will solidify his spot in the post-season and in 2017.