By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
When the Blue Jays acquired catcher Miguel Montero from the Cubs on July 3 for a player to be named later or cash, the Blue Jays felt they were buying low on a player who would be able to help out with their backup catcher situation since Luke Maile had been injured. In addition, Montero had been hitting pretty well in Chicago, with a .286/.366/.439 slash line in 44 games as the Cubs' backup catcher.
Montero, a two-time All-Star from his days in Arizona, was having trouble throwing runners out in his 12th big league season. A player who had once led the league in caught stealing percentage, Montero was struggling and the frustration must have gotten to him one day after runners stole seven bases with Jake Arrieta starting. Montero pointed the finger at Arrieta for not holding runners well in the media and was vilified in Chicago.
Montero was designated for assignment despite his apology and the Blue Jays picked him up at bargain basement prices (The Cubs paid the vast majority of the remainder of his $14 million contract).
The problem was that Montero didn't do much after arriving in Toronto, falling into the offensive black hole that was the backup catcher slot, hitting .138/.248/.241 over 32 games and 101 plate appearances. He did hit three doubles and two home runs and improved his throwing numbers, retiring 13% of potential base stealers (up from 3% in Chicago). Still, the Blue Jays weren't exactly a team adept at holding runners: Russell Martin only threw out 20% of potential base stealers, down from 44% two years ago when he led the league).
Basically, the Jays hoped that Montero would give them more offence than Luke Maile. He didn't. They thought he might be able to throw out some base runners on the bases. He didn't. He was basically a warm body who could do the job behind the plate so that the Blue Jays wouldn't have to call up Danny Jansen or Reese McGuire from the minor leagues. He did that.
The backup catcher position is still one that I think should be addressed to some degree since I would like to see an upgrade over Maile (I think Jansen and McGuire should both be in triple-A Buffalo and only called up if they would play regularly). I don't think Montero is that upgrade.
Miguel Montero became a free agent after the season and has not yet signed with another team.
2017 Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: F
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