Chicago Cubs: A look at Montero’s legacy in Chicago
Backstop Miguel Montero left his mark with the 2015 and 2016 Chicago Cubs despite proceeding to leave the team on a sour note.
Looking back, the Chicago Cubs Miguel Montero was an incredibly useful bat for the team. The catcher was acquired through a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2014 Winter Meetings. In exchange for two pitching prospects, the two-time All-Star found himself on his way to play for the north side of Chicago. Little did he know that there was a World Series run, and victory in his future.
Montero’s best season with the Cubs’ was his 2015 season by a landslide. Not only was he deemed the Cubs’ primary catcher, but he slashed .245/.345/.409 on the year along with 53 runs in total and 15 homers. Montero remained the Cubs’ starting catcher until mid-2016 as Willson Contreras worked his way up into the majors. With Contreras on the rise, Montero had to share some of his playing time.
Since he received less playing time, Montero lost his stuff, and his stats began to reflect that. Across the 2016 season, he posted a .216 batting average, which ended up being the worst of his entire career. He also only played 84 games, driving in a mere 33 runs. These numbers were disappointing, especially compared to his 2015 numbers.
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There was no denying that Montero was frustrated about his lack of playing time. However, this frustration wasn’t revealed to the general public until after the Cubs World Series victory. Not only did Montero criticize Cubs skipper at the time Joe Maddon, but he also threw shade at pitcher Jake Arrieta.
Following the attacks on Maddon and Arrieta, Anthony Rizzo went on David Kaplan’s radio show on ESPN 1000 and fired back. Most notably, Rizzo called Montero a “selfish player.” If we’re honest, when someone like Rizzo, a clubhouse leader, and a face of the franchise calls out another player, you know it’s real.
As a result of his behavior, Montero was designated for assignment and traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in the middle of the 2017 season for minimal return. During his 2017 stint with the Blue Jays, Montero underperformed and ended up taking a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals in 2018. However, Montero only appeared in four games with the team and ended up being released. After he was released, there was no reported interest in the backstop and he ended up retiring.
Montero’s career with the Chicago Cubs, and career, in general, ended in a rather sour note. However, there is no denying that Montero was an integral part of the team’s World Series run. Of course, Montero’s greatest moment as a Cub came in Game 1 of the 2016 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Montero hit a grand slam that gave the Cubs a 7-3 lead, which ended up winning them the game. Even later in the World Series run, Montero had huge moments.
In Game 7 of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians, Montero hit an RBI single that led the Cubs to their 8-7 lead and their first World Series win in 108 years. Though Montero’s 2016 regular season was anything but ideal, his legacy as a Cub will not be forgotten because of his role in the team’s world series victory.