WASHINGTON D.C. -- After a little over two seasons in Chicago, the Cubs have decided to part ways with veteran catcher Miguel Montero. Montero was designated for assignment by the team just hours after a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals. The Nationals ran wild on the Cubs, swiping seven bases in seven total attempts. Montero has had struggles defending the running game his entire career in Chicago and had bottomed out this season going 0-31 in trying to catch base stealers. After the game Montero went on a rant to the media, blaming the stolen bases on Cubs pitching and in particular, pointing a finger at starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. After Montero’s rant, Cubs clubhouse leader Anthony Rizzo attacked those statements and went as far as to imply he was a selfish player. Montero was subsequently released from the team. This was not the first time Montero has been in the news for speaking out against the Cubs, following the World Series he publicly criticized manager Joe Maddon for his lack of playing time. According to Maddon, the two met during spring training and the situation was resolved.
The Cubs acquired Miguel Montero from the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2015 season to pair him with newly signed veteran David Ross. Montero played 113 games in 2015 and hit .248 with 15 homeruns. In 2016, however, upon the arrival of rookie Wilson Contreras, Montero saw a drop in his playing time as well as his success. Montero played in only 86 games in 2016, hitting an underwhelming .216. The move on from Montero comes at a logical time for the Cubs as Contreras has established himself as the everyday catcher. The Cubs will bring up their top catching prospect Victor Caratini who had been waiting to break into the majors. Caratini has hit .343 in triple-A this season and the release of Montero has opened up room for his promotion. The Cubs were a team in transition behind the plate and Montero was the odd man out.
While being a bit harsh, and somewhat sudden, the Cubs releasing of Miguel Montero was the correct move for the organization. With the struggles the Cubs have had to this point in the season, the need for a strong clubhouse atmosphere is as high as it’s ever been. If the Cubs begin pointing fingers and blaming teammates, they will not have success. The Cubs releasing Montero shows a strong push by the organization to keep the players together and as a single unit. Being as young as they are, many of the players on the roster are facing their first run of mediocre baseball. Hopefully, this move sends a message to the clubhouse that a negative attitude will not be tolerated in Chicago.
Despite a bitter separation, the Cubs should remember Miguel Montero for what he did for the organization, not how he left. Montero’s lasting image should remain in his walk-off home run to win the division, his NLCS grand slam which made Wrigley shake, and that he is the first player in 108 years to record the game-winning RBI of World Series in a Cubs uniform. Best of luck Miggy, thank you for the memories.
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