UPDATE: 6:44 PM: Carrie Muskat refutes the Passan rumor and tweets that Theo Epstein and the Cubs are excited about a Miguel Montero/Welington Castillo platoon. I am good with that, but also possible he just doesn't want to lose leverage or alienate Castillo until a trade actually happens. If it happens.
UPDATE 4:00 PM: The Cubs are indeed pursuing David Ross, per Gordon Edes, "Cubs have meeting planned with David Ross’s agent tonight. Ross still in mix for Boston as well"
UPDATE: The Cubs will look to trade Welington Castillo now that Montero is in the fold, per Jeff Passan. They already had contacted suitors about the possibility when they pursued Martin. The Cubs are said to be working on trades and Castillo is an obvious trade chip, perhaps to use as to get that big bat if they sign Lester. I would presume also that if they do sign Lester, then they will add David Ross to platoon with Montero and/or be Lester's caddy.
So here is how it works in my book: Get Montero, trade Castillo, sign Ross, sign Lester, and then use Castillo to get that bat that we were promised. Fingers crossed!
The Cubs acquired veteran catcher Miguel Montero in exchange for two pitching prospects per Arizona Sports.
The Cubs will take on the entire $40M in salary in exchange for being able to keep their better prospects. We will have an instant scouting report when the names become available.
As you well know by now, I've been on the Montero train for awhile now. He is a great fit for what the Cubs need in that he hits LH, has a good approach at the plate, and provides much needed experience to a young team.
Montero would give the Cubs a much needed boost defensively. While Castillo is excellent at blocking pitches and does a solid job of controlling the running game, he falls short in areas such as pitch calling, pitch framing, and general receiving skills. Those just happen to be Montero's strengths on defense.
It is unclear what the Cubs will do with Welington Castillo. One option is to platoon the two and have Montero serve as a mentor. Castillo hit LH pitching very well, something Montero has not done well of late. The two of them combined would make a strong offensive player, as I wrote back in September,
Miguel Montero is also intriguing. He is overpaid right now as he is owed 3 more years and $40M. For a catcher who should probably be more of a quasi-starter/platoon player, that is a significant amount. However, the fact that Castillo makes just over the minimum right now balances that out. Montero complements Castillo well. He is one of the best in the game at pitch-framing and he is hitting .259/.353/.398 with 11 HRs vs. RHP. Castillo is hitting .301/.350/.505 with 5 HRs vs. LHP. Put that together and you get a guy hitting .267 with 16 HRs, and a .353 OBP. You also get some of the best all-around defense at the position while significantly upgrading the team's pitch framing. Is that combined player worth roughly $13M next year? I think so. It also has the added benefit of keeping the popular Castillo around. Perhaps he can even become a longer term solution if he can learn better framing skills from a mentor like Montero.
Montero is also known as a team leader and good clubhouse guy, so he fills in that need for the Cubs as well.
Read more on Miguel Montero in this great piece from Fangraphs.
It is also possible that the Cubs would trade Castillo since he may not provide as great pf value for them as a short side of a platoon as he could get in return on a trade. That is just speculation on my part, however. If it were up to me, I'd keep them both but that would depend on the quality of offers, of course.
Of course, another question that may come up is how this affects their pursuit of Jon Lester. In some respects it helps because of Montero's experience, framing, receiving and game management skills. He is also the kind of no nonsense personality that Lester likes. Montero will give it to him straight, which is what Lester prefers. The Cubs could still look to add David Ross as a platoon partner if they do move Castillo.
UPDATE: One of the arms the Cubs traded is Jefferson Mejia, who was one of my favorite high ceiling, high risk pitching prospects. Hes a lottery ticket. At 6'7" with good athleticism, a 97 mph FB and a promising curve he has some promise. Could come up big if he develops a change and command but if not, the likely outcome is a power arm out if the pen. A late start hurts him a bit too. You can read more about Mejia on my top prospects list, where I ranked him 18th.
UPDATE #2: The second pitcher is Zach Godley, the closer for Kane County and Daytona last year. Godley was a surprise, getting drafted in the 9th round as well below slot sign. Unlike Mejia, he is purely a relief prospect. He features a 92-93 mph FB and a hard slider. Projects as a 7th inning type bullpen arm.
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