From the outside looking in Miguel Montero had a big influence on this year’s team beyond the #WeAreGood hashtag. Montero provided veteran leadership to the young players and helped change the culture in the Cubs clubhouse.
Miguel Montero had a solid season defensively and offensively, his first with the Cubs, after the team acquired him last winter. Montero was reportedly not thrilled by his lack of playing time early in the season when the Cubs carried three catchers on the active roster but he accepted his role with a team-first mentality.
Miguel Montero is under contract for two more seasons and the emergence of Kyle Schwarber has raised questions in the media about his future with the team. Montero is a veteran catcher and excellent receiver and some think Schwarber’s best position is in the outfield, especially with minor league prospect Willson Contreras starting to push his way into the big league picture.
“I thought he had an outstanding first half of the season on both sides of the ball. He didn’t quite have the same performance in the second half,” Epstein said. “But he was always in the middle of what we had going on with our game planning, our pitch calling and our pitching infrastructure with his attitude and is an important part of the team.”
Offensively, Montero hit .248/.345/.409 with 11 doubles and 15 home runs for a .754 for the season. In the first half, Montero batted .230/.337/.392/.729 with five doubles and 10 home runs. Montero returned from the disabled list on Aug. 7 after spending the better part of a month on the shelf with a sprained left thumb and hit .277/.358/.438 in 40 games with six doubles, five home runs and a .797 OPS.
Miguel Montero and David Ross finished among the leaders in pitch framing in all of baseball according to StatCorner. The Cubs were charged with 39 wild pitches while Montero was behind the plate and he had three passed balls on the season.
Montero finished the regular season with a 20 percent (.202) caught stealing rate. Montero threw out 18 of 89 baserunners, 71 stolen bases.
Theo Epstein addressed the Cubs issues with holding runners and stolen bases. A major weakness throughout the season the Mets exposed in the NLCS.
“Certainly we are going to place an organization-wide emphasis on controlling the running game next Spring Training,” Epstein said. “That is not only the catcher’s responsibility but the pitchers as well. That is something we look to improve on all together.”
The Cubs staff led baseball in strikeouts (1431) and walked (407) the fifth fewest batters in the game. The Cubs finished third in ERA (3.36) behind only the Cardinals (2.94) and Pirates (3.21). Montero had a catcher’s ERA of 3.38, second best among qualifiers behind Yadier Molina (2.80).
Theo Epstein seemed cautious and chose his words carefully Thursday when answering questions about Montero’s performance.
With the progress made by several pitchers and the staff as a whole, Montero appeared to do his job behind the plate as a receiver. There are rumblings the Cubs could try to move Montero, upgrade the position defensively while picking up a little more offense this winter and shed payroll at the same time. Montero is owed $28 million ($14 per year) over the next two seasons.
What is known is that the front office would like to improve the team’s defense in the outfield and at catcher with controlling the running game. How Miguel Montero fits into the Cubs plans moving forward is unclear three days after the season came to an abrupt end.
Reports from Theo Epstein’s End of Season Press Conference
- Cubs Invite Joe Maddon’s Entire Coaching Staff Back for Next Season
- Cubs Would Like to Add at Least One Quality Starting Pitcher
- Theo Epstein’s End of Season Press Conference was Chock-Full of Information
- Cubs Will Continue Playing Kyle Schwarber Behind the Plate and in the Outfield
- Cubs Plan to Approach Scott Boras about a Long-Term Extension for Jake Arrieta