Chicago Cubs: Catcher Miguel Montero designated for assignment
By Jake Misener
Following controversial comments on Tuesday night, the Chicago Cubs designated veteran catcher Miguel Montero for assignment.
Less than an hour after clubhouse leader and star first baseman Anthony Rizzo took him to task, Miguel Montero’s time with the Chicago Cubs has reportedly drawn to a close.
According to multiple reports, the team designated Montero for assignment Wednesday morning, promoting young Triple-A catcher Victor Caratini to fill his roster spot.
On Tuesday night, the Cubs allowed seven stolen bases in a 6-1 loss to the Washington Nationals. After the game, Montero put the blame entirely on the team’s pitching staff.
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"“That’s the reason they were running left and right today, because they [Arrieta] were slow to the plate,” Montero told reporters after the loss. “Simple as that. It’s a shame it’s my fault because I didn’t throw anyone out."
On the year, base stealers are a perfect 31-for-31 against Montero. Granted, Arrieta does have a slow motion to home plate – but Montero’s pop-time ranks amongst the worst in the league.
At the plate, Montero is enjoying a bounce back year, batting .286 this season. He owns two of the biggest hits in Cubs postseason history – the often-overlooked game-winner in Game 7 and his grand slam in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field.
What’s the next move?
With the DFA move, Chicago has one week to waive, trade or release Montero. Given his contract ($14 million deal) – you can probably count out a waiver claim. His offensive performance this year might make him a decent trade chip, but any deal likely requires the Cubs eating some of the money left on the deal.
Caratini, meanwhile, now gets his first taste of big-league action. The 23-year-old backstop tore up Triple-A pitching this year to the tune of a .343/.384/.539 slash line in 68 games. There are legitimate questions about his ability to handle a big-league pitching staff, but, if you ask me, this is the only move.
With such a young team, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon can’t simply sit by and let a veteran act like this. I’ll take a rookie and second-year catcher handling my staff for the time being if it means I’m removing what Rizzo called a ‘selfish’ player from my clubhouse.
Next: Montero's remarks should be - and are - the last straw
Don’t rule out a midseason deal for a veteran backup catcher, either. Jon Morosi mentioned Alex Avila of the Detroit Tigers this morning. Enjoying a nice offensive year and with solid defensive skills, he may be a fit for the North Siders. But, for now, it’s Contreras and Caratini behind the dish for Chicago.