After the Washington Nationals stole seven bases in the first four innings of last night’s game, veteran catcher Miguel Montero ranted to the media about the pitchers not helping him out and holding runners on.
While the premise of what he said may be true, he even owned up to him controlling his own actions, publicly criticizing teammates through the media was not deemed not acceptable to Cubs management and the team designated him for assignment.
In order to provide a stable environment and clubhouse for the young players on the team, President Theo Epstein did what he said was necessary in order to improve team culture, as the Cubs look for answers on the field.
Currently sitting in second place in the National League Central with a record of 39-39, the defending World Series Champions have had trouble replicating the success they produced on the field last season. Montero’s actions are just one of many problems affecting the team, but this is just the latest issue surrounding the team and one they are looking to move past as quickly as possible.
Montero, 33, has provided a solid veteran presence behind the plate, filling in for young starting catcher Wilson Contreras when needed. So far this season, Montero has batted .286 with 4 home runs and 8 RBI. In the last year of his six year deal, the Cubs will have ten days to decide whether to trade, waive, or release the veteran catcher.
In a corresponding move, the Cubs promoted catcher Victor Caratini from Triple-A Iowa. A second-round pick by the Atlanta Braves out of Miami-Dade Community College, Caratini was acquired by the Cubs for reliever James Russell before the trade deadline in 2014.
Primarily known for his offense, the switch-hitting catcher has been ripping the ball in the minor leagues. While Montero’s comments may have facilitated the move, Caratini’s performance also made the decision an easy one. In 68 games for the Iowa Cubs, the 23-year-old slashed .343/.384/.539 with 20 doubles, 2 triples and 8 home runs, while driving in 54 runs.
While Contreras will remain the starter, Caratini’s role will be to serve as the second catcher and could also play third and first base in a pinch. More than likely, he will initially serve as a key bat off the bench. When Kyle Schwarber comes back from Triple-A, he may serve as the backup catcher, allowing Caratini’s bat to be in play for multiple roles.