After watching the regression of Willson Contreras from over-utilization last season, the Cubs pulled the trigger late Monday night and acquired veteran catcher Martin Maldonado from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LHP Mike Montgomery.
Maldonado comes to the Cubs as an insurance plan for the Cubs. As noted by MLB.com, Willson Contreras is expected to land on the 10-day IL, retroactive to Saturday, with a strain in the arch of his foot. Now, Maldonado, 32, will team up with Victor Caratini, who has been very promising this season after struggling to stick last year.
Maldonado is the exact opposite of both Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini. Despite Contreras having an excellent arm, his glove has not been as strong as critics wish and Caratini carries a similar skill set. Both young catchers are strong with the bat and defensively sufficient to get the job done. Maldonado is a steady defensive catcher, something this team could really use as they push for a postseason appearance.
Mike Montgomery may be most remembered for recording the final out in the infamous Game Seven of the 2016 World Series. However, outside of that, his tenure has been average. In 119 appearances since being acquired in the summer of 2016, Montgomery went 14-17 with three saves and a 3.74 ERA. The numbers aren’t awful, but when acquired in 2016, the Cubs believed they had found a diamond in the rough. Instead, they found a serviceable LHP that could swing between the rotation and the bullpen, which as fans witnessed, was pretty important in that magical run of 2016. The left-hander now returns to the franchise who drafted him in 2008.
A final note for fans to take away from this piece, consider this… the last time the Cubs had three serviceable catchers, they won the World Series. Catching depth is critical in today’s MLB, and with Willson needing to preserve his legs for the second half, adding another catcher allows him to rest more and play the outfield to keep his knees fresh.
Welcome to Chicago, Martin Maldonado!
Featured Photo: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports