By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
Designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs after allowing seven stolen bases in a game against Trea Turner and the Washington Nationals last Tuesday, catcher Miguel Montero was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.
The Blue Jays dealt a player to be named later and cash considerations to the Cubs for Montero, 33, who has slashed .286/.366/.439 through 44 games with the defending World Series Champions this season. For his career, the left-handed swinging backstop has recorded an OPS of .758 with 124 home runs over parts of 12 seasons at the major league level.
In addition to allowing seven swipes, four of which came from Turner alone, Montero questioned Jake Arrieta's ability to effectively hold runners when interviewed after Nationals' 6-1 win last Tuesday. His publiv comments sparked an uproar among teammates, some of which took shots at their backup after hearing what he had to say about the 2015 NL Cy Young Award recipient.
"When you point fingers, you're a selfish player," said all-star first baseman Anthony Rizzo in an interview with ESPN 1000. "This is all over TV last night. Now I gotta talk about it today. We win as 25, we lose as 25. To call teammates out? What’s the point?"
Rizzo went on to say that this isn't the first time Montero has been found "barking" to the media.
Given Montero's questionable approach to dealing with last week's defensive issues, one would think that Toronto's brass reached out to Joe Smith before kicking tires on the veteran catcher.
After joining the Cubs at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2016, Smith spent the better part of three months with the recently ostracized catcher and likely would've had to have given a vote of confidence in his former battery mate's ability to help maintain a positive clubhouse chemistry in advance of the deal.
Having thrown out only one of the 32 base runners that have attempted to steal off him in 2017, the two-time All-Star will join Toronto as an offensive upgrade over the Blue Jays current backup catcher, Luke Maile.
To clear a spot on the team's 40-man roster, outfielder Darrell Ceciliani (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. An additional 25-man roster move will need to be made ahead of Montero's debut with Toronto.
The Cubs are expected to pick up the tab for the lion's share of what remains on Montero's $14-million, 2017 contract.
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