Blue Jays acquire Miguel Montero from the Cubs

SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 30: Miguel Montero
SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 30: Miguel Montero /

The Blue Jays made an addition to their roster on Monday morning, adding the recently DFA’d Miguel Montero from the Chicago Cubs. They’re sending a player to be named later or cash in exchange for the veteran catcher.

The Blue Jays made a somewhat unexpected move on Monday morning, acquiring Miguel Montero from the Chicago Cubs. Montero was designated for assignment last week after a spat with the team.

Montero caught Jake Arrieta in his last appearance with the Cubs, and things did not go well. The battery allowed seven stolen bases in the game, and when he was asked about it in post-game interviews, Montero was quick to point to the finger at Arrieta. As you can imagine, that didn’t sit well with the team, which is why he’s now in a new uniform.

Montero’s salary had him earning 14 million this year, so the Cubs will be picking up the bulk of his remainder of it, as we’re only halfway through the season. He will be a free agent at the end of the season as well.

Thus far this season, the 33 year old backstop was actually hitting pretty well, slashing .286/.366/.439 in 112 plate appearances. The bigger issue of course, is that he’s 1-32 in throwing out would be base stealers, pretty much the polar opposite of the Jays’ current back-up catcher, Luke Maile.

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Maile is hitting just .115/.149/.188, but he also rates as an excellent defender. Montero has always been considered a good pitch framer, but he’s obviously a big step back in terms of his throwing arm.

It’s hard to say what the Blue Jays’ motivation is with this trade, as the club has been floundering over the last ten games, having picked up just two wins in that span. Montero could be a helpful addition on offence for this season, but it is somewhat surprising to see the Blue Jays adding at this point, even if it’s a pretty minor deal in terms of salary and commitment.

The Blue Jays have also prided themselves on clubhouse culture since John Gibbons has returned as manager, so that’s something they’ll closely monitor with Montero. He was not well liked by some of his former teammates in Chicago, including by star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, so hopefully he can make some fast friends in Toronto. The Jays have plenty of strong veteran leaders in their clubhouse, so it’s hard to imagine it becoming a major issue.

The Jays were rumoured to be have pursued him during the 2015 offseason, before ultimately signing Russell Martin to a five year contract, so they are familiar with the 2 time All-Star, and will finally get a look at him in Toronto. It’s expected that he’ll take over for Maile as the back-up, and a corresponding roster move has yet to be announced. So far, Darrell Cecilliani has been moved to the 60 day DL in order to make room on the 40 man roster for Montero.

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And for those wondering if this means Russell Martin is on the block, I think it’s pretty safe to say you don’t need to worry about that. The Canuck catcher has two years and 40 million remaining on his contract, and while he still brings a lot of value to the diamond, the Blue Jays would be hard pressed to get back significant value for him, unless they were willing to eat a big chunk of his salary. That all feels pretty unlikely to me.