We’ve discussed plenty of potential trades for the Chicago Cubs this season. Some have been possible, while others a little far fetched. But one name I don’t feel we’ve mentioned is Miguel Montero. Well, we need to.
Each of us had an opinion following Chicago Cubs‘ catcher Miguel Montero‘s thoughts on his postseason role. Eventually, the two buried the whole thing over some Italian food and some wine. I’m no longer upset with Miggy. But here’s the deal–he’s a liability behind the plate–no matter how well he’s hitting the ball.
There was a time when Montero was one of the better defensive catchers in the game. From 2010 to 2014, Montero nabbed baserunners at better than league average. He led the NL in 2010 with 40% caught stealing, and was at 42% the following year. Now, here we are in 2017. And the hard truth of the matter is apparent. Montero hasn’t caught a single baserunner. 21 attempts, 21 steals. Hell, even Jon Lester has a pickoff. He’s less of a liability than Montero.
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And then in Wednesday’s game against the Marlins, Montero was in the middle of it again. While not all his fault, he and Brian Duensing watched as Dee Gordon came all the way around from second base to score on a wild pitch to give the Marlins what would eventually be the winning run.
So what do we do? Montero is swinging the bat well, with a slash of .306/.354/.458 and an OPS of .813 (as of Wednesday night.) He’s become the David Ross of the team, but without the Ross benefits, defensively. Montero can provide a solid left-handed bat off the bench for the Cubs. The problem? We already have Jon Jay for that. And if he struggles, there’s Tommy La Stella. What the Cubs need is another catcher. If only the Cubs had one….but wait!
23-year old Victor Caratini was just named the minor league player of the month for May. For the month, he batted .366 with six doubles, one triple, three homers, 17 RBI and five walks in 24 games. Caratini has seen time behind the plate and at first base, but he could be an excellent backup catcher to Willson Contreras.
First, before you say “If he isn’t going to play every day, what’s the point?” Because if he can contribute to this team–like Ian Happ–than he’s worth calling up. And a catcher isn’t the same as a position player. Even if he plays two times every five games, that’s worth it.
At this point, the Cubs would be best to trade Montero somewhere where A) they can get a low-level prospect, and B) Montero will get the chance to play more often. I think it’s clear that Montero feels he can catch every three out of five days. So why not give him that opportunity. Maybe a situation to mentor a young catcher?
You might say this is a ridiculous idea, that Caratini isn’t ready. Similar to how most of you said that about Happ. 😉 But if the opportunity is there, the Cubs need to take it. Depending on what they’re looking for at the deadline, Montero could be lumped into that deal to get them pitching. While Montero has been a big part of the Cubs’ success, it might be time to part ways soon.