It should be a picture perfect day just like this photo. But in Cubs land, there are cloudy skies.
Today, the Chicago Cubs designated for assignment, essentially releasing, catcher Miguel Montero. This came on the heels of Montero’s critical comments to the press about Jake Arrieta being responsible for the track meet, the Nationals held last night, stealing 7 bases. Montero called Arrieta “slow” to the plate, implying that he, Montero, was handcuffed in trying to throw out the runners.
Once this reached the media, Anthony Rizzo chimed in and said, Montero’s comments were “selfish.” The Cubs acted almost immediately, and bought out the contract of the 33 year old veteran catcher who was batting .286 and was 0-31 in throwing out attempted base stealers. In comparison, catcher Willson Contreras, has a 37% better attempts in attempted steals.
Rizzo said on Twitter, ‘We win as 25, we lose as 25.” Right now the club is one game above .500 and is in the midst of a season long haze. The Cubs haven’t been playing sound or passionate baseball thus far, and fans are more than apprehensive.
The Cubs are bringing up rookie Victor Caratini, from AAA, Iowa to replace Montero. When these kinds of things happen in a clubhouse it is a sign that there is brewing frustration and a degree of discontent. In a winning clubhouse, this outburst doesn’t get made public. It is handled inside the clubhouse. Manager Joe Maddon runs a pretty loose ship, and he lets things “roll”, but it appears it is time for some kind of discussions to set parameters and to get everyone on the same page, in case they aren’t.
The front office acted quickly and Montero is gone. He had some big hits last post-season including a grand-slam vs. the LA Dodgers at Wrigley that almost lifted the roof off. His base hit in game 7 in the top of the 10th inning to drive home a run was huge. It’s not like he didn’t make contributions, but he also had loose lips. He was critical of Maddon on the radio the day of the parade. You can’t throw your starting pitcher and one of the keys to the club’s recent success under the bus.
Perhaps this is what the team needed. A subtle kick in the pants to wake up the squad. Lord knows, they need it now.