According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Miguel Montero wants to return to the Cubs next season for what will be the final year under his current contract. Montero is owed $14 million for the 2017 season and reportedly will not asked to be traded.
Montero has not been happy with his playing time since he was acquired from the Diamondbacks during the 2014 Winter Meetings. And he voiced his displeasure about the lack of time during the postseason on the day of The World Series victory parade and rally.
Montero dealt with lower back issues (two bulging discs) for a majority of the year. Montero had a bad season both offensively and defensively. Montero lost playing time because he could not control a running game.
For as down as his offensive numbers were this past year, he made the most of the hits he had delivering big knocks for the best team in baseball. Montero hit .216/.327/.357 with eight doubles, a triple and eight home runs for a .684 OPS.
Montero played in only 86 games, his lowest total since 2010, and he either tied or was close to career-lows in several offensive categories.
In the postseason, Montero was in nine games and had 12 plate appearances with two hits. And he made both hits really count.
Montero delivered the game winner in Game 1 of the NLCS, a pinch-hit Grand Slam in the bottom of the eighth inning off Joe Blanton. And in Game 7 of The World Series he ripped a single to left with the bases loaded in the 10th that scored Anthony Rizzo with a much-needed insurance run that ended up being the difference in the game.
Montero also got a worn out Aroldis Chapman to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning in Game 7 before the rains came. And he navigated Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery through the bottom of the 10th inning.
After the regular season, Montero admitted he thought he was going to be released in-season. Montero turned things around at the plate in September and hit .283/.353/.543 with three doubles, three home runs and a .896 OPS in 17 games.
Defensively, Montero was one of the top receivers in the game. Montero can frame a pitch with the best in baseball. Montero allowed teams to steal 59 bases (59-for-66, 11%). There were 41 wild pitches with Montero behind the plate and he was charged with four passed balls. Montero’s caught stealing percentage has declined since a career-best 42% in 2012.
Montero’s playing time moving forward could be less than this past season. Montero will likely catch Jake Arrieta again every five days. Willson Contreras is expected to be the Cubs every day catcher next season and Kyle Schwarber could be in the mix for a few games behind the plate.
Schwarber wants to catch and he will report to Spring Training with the pitchers and catchers. The Cubs are not sure at this point of the off-season and in his rehab process how much he will be able to catch next season.
Montero and Contreras are very close. The two Venezuelan catchers even share the same agents after Montero referred Contreras to Octagon. Alan Nero also represents Joe Maddon and Ben Zobrist.
By all accounts, Montero is a good teammate and a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, one of Maddon’s Lead Bulls.
Jesse Rogers reported that if Montero and Maddon are able to get on the same page that Miggy could provide the leadership in the clubhouse the Cubs are losing with David Ross retiring. Montero also has “the ear of all the Cubs’ Latin players” which would help the team maintain the winning environment that has been in place for the last two seasons.