While the Cubs put a stop to the lackluster loss of the Reds on Wrigley Field on Monday night, the game quickly took a backseat as reports of a baseball-filtered trade came up.
A veteran catcher was Martin Maldonado – Of the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Mike Montgomery, who will live on forever in the Cubs history books, as the guy who threw the curveball that broke through the final in the 2016 World Series to overcome a 108-year drought period.
There are many levels in this move, including the related issue that Cubs All-Star catcher Willson Contreras hits the 10-day injury list with a foot arch injury on his right foot. Contreras had an MRI Monday afternoon / evening that revealed the problem.
Contreras felt that he could play it through and pleaded passionately for his case, but the Cubs want to exercise a great deal of caution with one of their key players.
"Our medical staff feel like trying it" Play with the risk of aggravating the injury and turning it into something long-term, "said Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations at Cubs. So we have to get down to it, take it from Willy's hands and take him off his feet.
"We do not expect it to last more than 1
"We talked to Kansas City and they had an opening in their episode trading [Homer] Bailey and they had talked to some teams about Maldonado, and we knew that," Epstein said, "we had in advance worked on one version of the deal, and we wanted to finish that quickly it became clear that Willson would be missing some time. "
The Cubs' interest in Maldonado is not only based on the violation of Contreras, which means that they see the experienced catcher as more than just a short film. Two-week insurance policy for a pair with Victor Caratini.
On the one hand han d. This will allow the Cubs to trade with Caratini in the coming weeks when a deal is made.
But the move for Maldonado also gives the Cubs an important nadir that Epstein talked about before the game on Monday, referring to the change in the MLB rules that eliminated the term for the waiver in August. Now each team has to do its steps before the deadline of July 31 and that's & # 39; s.
"Teams need to keep a closer eye on the depth so you can predict where you are prone to injury and try to build that depth in advance – preventively, really – knowing that there will not be an escape valve in August "Epstein said. "So you really need to do all your work this month as much as possible and really study your organizational depth."
Well, despite the fantastic seasons of Contreras and Caratini, the Cubs actually have very little in the way to catch depth beyond these two. Taylor Davis is the only other backstop on the 40-man list, and he has almost no experience in the big league. When Caratini was in the IL earlier this year due to a hand injury, Davis seldom played in the month he was also in the squad.
Although Contreras 'injury is as minor as it seems, this underlines the point that the Cubs' depth is very fragile at the most physically demanding spot on the field. What would the team do if Contreras or Caratini were injured in August or September?
Now they can add Maldonado to the mix – a veteran catcher making fond comments on his defense and his game call.
The right-hander will be 33 next month and is in his ninth season in the big league. He has not done much with the club in his career (.289 percent on the basis, .351 strokes) and that has not changed this year (.647 OPS), but his work behind the plate was tempting for the Cubs and their veteran-laden pitching staff.
"He's a well-established eye-catcher in the league, doing a lot of great things behind the plate," Epstein said. "He can really receive, he really can throw in. He's got playoff games, he's got some of the best pitchers in the game, he's a favorite for pitchers to throw in.
" He's very quietly back there, very prepared, calling for a great game, really soft hands, a lot of experience, a lot of flair, and someone we think he can interfere with and share with Vic in order to really get down to business to come up to date. "
] The Cubs have not yet shared a plan on how to handle the squad crisis for all three catchers if Contreras returns in a week or two after an injury, but that may be because they have no plan yet "Cross this bridge when it comes to it."
If all are healthy – if all are healthy at the same time – the boys could wear three catchers and use Contreras' ability to play the outfield and Caratinis versatility of the first / third base: You could also offer Caratini for minors. Put it back into service for a few weeks if the rosters expire in September or if another violation occurs.
In both cases, the Cubs Front Office may , the trainer team and the pitching staff rest easier if they know they have some other seasoned backing on the roster.
The other aspect at all m is obviously in the bullpen and start depth of the boys. Montgomery is out, which means that Alec Mills, who will be starting on Tuesday and Cole Hamels continues to rehabilitate his weird injury, has a good spot on the squad.
In the longer term, this could be a good thing for the Cubs bullpen, as Montgomery was mismanaged and rarely used as a short-inning reliever. The 30-year-old south paw recently dropped on 2 July and has appeared only 5 times in the last month.
Montgomery was hampered by injuries in the spring training sessions and the first few weeks of the season, but he had done more and more work in his last three games by throwing at least 2.1 innings. Still, the Cubs opted for Mills Tuesday against the Reds instead of Montgomery and had Tyler Chatwood and Adbert Alzolay in rotation at various times this season.
Montgomery has not even started in 2019, but he has made 28 starts in a Cubs uniform, including 19 last year while competing for the injured Yu Darvish.
The Cubs feel like they are with their rotation depth (Mills, Chatwood, Alzolay) and Hamel's return seems right Around the corner, so on the wall, Montgomery did not get many chances, short or long term in Chicago to go to the start.
It's also good for Montgomery, a guy who has clinched the last victory in the World Series and did everything he was asked to do in his over three years in Chicago, jumping between rotation and pen.
Now he has the opportunity to start what he wanted loudly, and he is thrown directly into the fire – the Royals have scheduled him to start Friday … in Cleveland.
How are you? for the full circle?