Chicago Cubs: Maddon, Montero clear the air after last season
After the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, there were a few unpleasant words between players and coaches. But the Cubs seemed to have moved past that now, and are ready for a run at another championship.
For the Chicago Cubs, it wasn’t surprising that some of the players weren’t happy with their role in the playoffs. That’s just how it’s going to be. But when Miguel Montero voiced his concern about his role, it left more questions than anything. This was a veteran the team would expect to lean on in 2017–and this wasn’t getting off on the right foot. But it seems all that is now a thing of the past, thanks to some good wine and Italian food.
Joe Maddon asked Montero to meet him in a one-on-one meeting away from the ballpark. Maddon clearly didn’t want Montero to feel like he was being called to the principal’s office. So the best way to avoid that was an outside setting, and Montero picked a place in Scottsdale. Maddon most definitely approved.
"More from Cubbies CribCubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody BellingerCubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North SideMake no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hittersCubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shotCubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups“Miggy picked out a place way up in north Scottsdale,” Maddon said. “Andreoli’s grocery market. This place reeked of Hazelton (Maddon’s hometown in Pennsylvania). I love it, a real Italian dude running the place. The ravioli was spectacular. We had a great conversation. We had a really good time. It was a perfect setting to have a good conversation.”"
The rift started when Montero spoke about how he was used in the playoffs, especially in the World Series. After Montero had almost exclusively caught Jake Arrieta all season, he didn’t in either of his last two starts. Montero said it was “never communicated” to him, and he hoped he would have been treated better.
Looking towards the future
Their meeting wasn’t about discussing the past, but looking towards the future.
"“It was pretty much about present and the future and really talking about the role he’s going to have right now,” Maddon said. “He totally understands, and he’s embracing it, and he’s really looking forward to it."
With David Ross retired, Montero will be the veteran behind the plate for the Cubs. With Willson Contreras up and coming, and Kyle Schwarber still learning the ropes–Montero’s input will be a key for the Cubs and the coaches.
Montero is very aware that his attitude carries over to the younger players. Especially with the Latin American players. So for him, it was about having the right mindset and not coming into camp upset. And not that any fingers were ever pointed at Montero by Maddon or the Cubs, he has shouldered most of the blame.
"“It was nobody’s fault but mine,” Montero said. “I was hurt at times, but I probably did not show up in the best condition I could have. That is on me. The only way I will lose my job is not to perform. That is the past. We are pulling for each other. That is our goal.”"
Next: Intentional walks will look different in '17
These two “mending the fence” has eliminated one of the more notable storylines of the spring. With this out of the way, the Cubs can begin working towards the unified goal of returning to the World Series.