Chicago Cubs: To Mike Montgomery, World Series Champion: Thank you
|Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:21 AM- -|
The Cubs agreed on what is most likely not their last trade in July Monday night when they sent Mike Montgomery to the Royals for Martin Maldonado.
Montgomery will forever be remembered for throwing the most important pitch of his life, Cubs history and the lives of so many more back in the 2016 World Series.
His legacy in Cubs history is immortal due to an 0-1 looping curveball the lefty threw in game seven of the World Series.
That single pitch earned Montgomery his first career save and the Cubs their first championship in 108 years. Truly an extraordinary feat to cement an extraordinary season. He was on the mound for the best moment of so many people’s lives.
Thank you, Monty! You will never be forgotten on the North Side. pic.twitter.com/2nCwbwHWB3— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 16, 2019
Montgomery also showed value as a starting pitcher last season and as a valuable swingman in the Cubs’ bullpen. However, Montgomery has always wanted to be a starter, and he was basically the eighth option on this Cubs team. The Cubs tried to mold him into a lefty specialist, but that was not who he was as a pitcher.
The Royals are getting Montgomery and will get the chance he deserves in being a starter. And to Mike, we remind him that he is forever a Cub, and thank him for throwing the most important pitch of our lives.
To Mike Montgomery, World Series Champion: Thank you.
As for the 2019 Cubs and beyond, Martin Maldonado serves as a valuable back-up or third-string catcher.
He is one of the best framers in all of baseball, one who can give Willson Contreras some tips behind the plate and hopefully aid this pitching staff. But Maldonado also fits the mold of the type of player the Cubs targeted in the offseason: a veteran, back-up catcher.
This move seems to be a no-brainer, dumping a slumping Montgomery for a guy who can serve a role you’ve been aching to fix. Despite Maldonado’s sub-par offensive numbers (.224, six homers, 17 RBI) this move was made with defense and leadership in mind which he certainly brings.
However, the fact this move comes on the heels of Willson Contreras heading to the DL with a foot injury is a bit jarring for Cubs fans who want their all-star backstop behind the plate as frequently as possible.
With all three catchers healthy and CJ Edwards coming back sometime soon and Ben Zobrist’s return looming later, the players that could be next to move (either to AAA or in trade) are Brad Brach, Albert Almora Jr or Victor Caratini.
I wouldn’t count out any second basemen (Robel Garcia, Addison Russell, David Bote, and Daniel Descalso) but Garcia has just been given his shot, Bote recently signed a deal, the Cubs are high on Russell’s defense and Descalso’s leadership, so it’d be challenging to get rid of any of them (even though it often seems obvious for us).
One thing seems to be certain; this Cubs team COULD look a lot different after the strict July 31st trade deadline and Theo Epstein has his work cut out for him.