Chicago Cubs: What’s Martin Maldonado’s role once Willson Contreras returns?

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

While Martin Maldonado adds needed depth in the wake of the Willson Contreras injury, what will his role be for the Chicago Cubs down the stretch?

Upon first thought, I didn’t quite understand what I was seeing when the news broke on Monday night. But, after mulling it over a bit, I remembered how I wanted the Chicago Cubs to sign him this past offseason.

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Up to this point, Victor Caratini has done a fabulous job as the back up to Contreras slashing .289/.369/.485 in 111 plate appearances. But, with Contreras hitting the injured list minutes after the move was made, for now, it makes sense.

Theo Epstein confirmed Contreras strained a muscle in his foot in a previous game over the weekend against Pittsburgh while on 670 The Score Monday night. He hadn’t started consecutive games since the injury.

Martin Maldonado has earned the reputation as one of the best defensive catchers in the game today. His career Defensive Runs Saved is +75.

As for the long run, Maldonado will help Contreras remain fresh down the stretch. With the NL Central race really heating up, every game truly matters at this point.

The Cubs have said they don’t think Contreras will be out longer than the 10-day minimum, but it is interesting to see the move made at this point.

What does this mean once Contreras returns?

Barring any more injuries, I think Maldonado’s presence could help Contreras in the long run defensively. Maybe Contreras can help Maldonado offensively, perhaps – we can always hope. I won’t hold my breath on these thoughts but this move does provide depth at an important position and a veteran presence.

Maybe this deal is setting up another move in the next couple of weeks? As I said, Caratini’s value has been very high this year and he is only 25. Calling his 2019 campaign a breakout is perfectly fair and there are plenty of teams that could use a young catcher.

The Cubs still look like they need one more bullpen arm, left-handed especially, and if they want one with multiple years of control remaining, it might take Caratini and someone from Iowa like Ian Happ, who’s all of the sudden gotten hot again at Triple-A.

That question will hang up until the trade deadline passes but the 2016 Cubs had three important catchers on the roster: Contreras, David Ross and Miguel Montero. Maybe the Cubs stand pat with their three guys now?

Thank you, Monty

Leaving the Cubs is Mike Montgomery, the guy who got the final out of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. This season especially, critics have questioned why the Cubs moved Daniel Vogelbach for Montgomery considering the southpaw hasn’t been very good, pitching to a 5.67 ERA and 1.778 WHIP.

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People forget the contributions he made in 2017 and 2018. He started 14 games in ’17 and 19 games in ’18, mostly because another starter was hurt. I could get more into Vogelbach and how he just doesn’t fit on this team but this moment is for Monty. Thank you for being part of one of the greatest highlights in Chicago sports history. Good luck.