The trade winds have blown Miguel Montero from the desert to the windy city.
It’s a straight-swap with Montero headed to Chicago and Arizona receiving a pair of right-handed pitchers; minor leaguers Zack Godley and Jefferson Mejia.
The Cubs will take on the entirety of the $40 million remaining on Montero’s contract over the next three seasons; a cost the club had clearly budgeted for based on their failed pursuit of Russell Martin earlier this offseason.
Montero, 31, will likely handle the lion’s share of the work in a platoon with the incumbent, Welington Castillo, getting the bulk of the starts against lefties.
Castillo is a career .306/.373/.472 hitter against Southpaws, but has a meager .240/.308/.376 line against right-handers. Montero offers the polar-opposite with a .272/.356/.442 line against right-handers and an abysmal .234/.297/.353 line against lefties.
Alternatively, the club could bypass the platoon and instead look to trade Castillo as he’s projected to make $2.1 million in 2015.
The Cubs aren’t operating on a tight budget, but that may be more than Chicago wants to pay for a backup catcher who only expects to play in one-third of the club’s games.
Regardless of what the club does with Castillo, the Montero addition should prove to be a very shrewd one for the Cubs. As we mentioned last night, Montero is highly-regarded for his pitch framing and blocking skills and has the potential to have a bounce-back season offensively in Chicago.
Arizona currently does not have an in-house candidate to replace Montero behind the plate, but the club’s re-tooled front office seems content to have shed the contract.
Neither of the prospects headed to Arizona are highly-regarded, although Mejia has drawn praise for mid-90s heat and a promising breaking ball; of the two, he likely has the higher ceiling.