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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cubs send Mike Montgomery to Royals, receive Martin Maldonado in return

Kansas City acquired lefty Mike Montgomery from Chicago on Monday, the team announced. The Cubs got catcher Martín Maldonado in return.

The Royals signed Maldonado to a one-year deal in March, but the 32-year-old has underperformed at the plate, batting .224 after 73 games with the club.

Meanwhile, Montgomery made 20 relief appearances with the Cubs this season. He is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 08:59 AM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: martin maldonado

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   1. bfan Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5862193)
"Only names beginning with M permitted" trade?
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:48 AM (#5862200)
Seems like the Cubs overpaid here.
   3. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5862201)
Unless Contreras is hurt worse than the Cubs are saying he is, I don't understand this move.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5862212)
Unless Contreras is hurt worse than the Cubs are saying he is,
If the Cubs are already admitting that it's more than day-to-day, he's probably dead.
   5. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:14 AM (#5862216)
How is Montgomery an overpay? He's got a 6.21 FIP after not pitching all that well last year. Why keep a shitty reliever around?
   6. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:14 AM (#5862217)
Montgomery's not very good, but what Dag said--Caratini's a vastly better hitter than Maldonado and is OK behind the plate, so unless Caratini's being forced into the starting role for an extended stretch this seems weird.

the 32-year-old has underperformed at the plate, batting .224 after 73 games with the club.

Leaving aside the value of batting average as a metric of underperformance, Maldonado's career average is worse than his BA this season.

Better yet: his career OPS+ is 73. His OPS+ this year? 73. In 2018? 73. In 2017? 73. (Khris Davis and his perpetual .247 BA have nothing on Maldonado.)

To say Maldonado's offense this year is exactly what one should have expected is about as close to literally true as it could be.

EDIT: I'm no mathematician, but I assume this means his career OPS+ heading into his three-year streak of exactly a 73 OPS+ was 73. It's uncanny.
   7. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5862218)
Also cosign 5; the weird part of the move isn't the amount the Cubs paid (in a vacuum, I'd rather have a backup catcher with an excellent glove/arm who doesn't hit any worse than a typical backup catcher than a reliever who can't get anyone out--Montgomery's been terrible this year, and not good enough in the past to expect much upside. His peripherals are dreadful.). It's that they felt the need to add Maldonado at all given the team's two existing catchers.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5862221)
Just when we thought Joe had gotten over his irrational hatred of Caratini...
   9. Brian C Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5862222)
I’m not so sure it’s an overpay - what exactly is the market for someone who’s been as bad as Monty? The alternative would likely be two 24-year-old A-ball pitchers who’ve been just as bad.

That said, it’s not clear what Maldo gives them that Taylor Davis doesn’t. I guess a 73 OPS+ is better than something in the 50s but really that seems like splitting hairs. So I’m not sure this fills a huge need even if Willson is dead.

Anyway, best of luck to Monty. He’s been awful this year and torture to watch, but he still helped them win a World Series. So I feel like he deserves a nod of respect as he leaves the organization.
   10. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5862223)
Just when we thought Joe had gotten over his irrational hatred of Caratini...

I'd hate to think that's what prompted this deal, though I suppose I'd prefer that as a motivating factor than a serious injury to Willson.
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5862224)
How is Montgomery an overpay? He's got a 6.21 FIP after not pitching all that well last year.


He was perfectly fine as a long reliever and rotation fill-in in 2018, 2017, and 2016, and while he hasn't pitched all that well this year, it's only been 27 innings. That's a pretty small sample, and it doesn't seem like the underlying quality of his stuff has changed much. He seems like a really handy guy to have on the staff - if another Cubs starter gets hurt, who goes into the rotation? Chatwood? Rea? This on a team that's supposedly trying to contend.

In return, the Cubs get a solid defensive catcher who projects for around a 70-ish wRC+. That seems like the sort of player you ought to be able to add in a PTBNL-or-cash deal, not something that requires an actual asset to pick up.
   12. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5862226)
That said, it’s not clear what Maldo gives them that Taylor Davis doesn’t.

I haven't seen enough of Davis to comment intelligently on his defense, but Maldonado's an excellent defensive catcher. I'd be surprised if Davis is on the same level. (And while Maldonado's offense isn't much, I doubt it's worse than Davis's.)
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5862229)
I think the Cubs had to pay a little bit more because they wanted the deal finalized immediately - the same day their catcher went on the IL.

Other teams aren't going to do them a favor by rushing through a PTBNL-or-cash deal just out of the kindness of their hearts.
   14. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5862230)
if another Cubs starter gets hurt, who goes into the rotation? Chatwood? Rea?

Alzolay.
   15. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5862233)
IDK.... Part of me thinks that yeah, Monty should have fetched more than this.... but another part of me thinks that the rest of MLB thinks about him the same way I do: He had a decent run of swingman usefulness, but his usefulnesss is now at an end.

Not that they'd have had room to carry him - and Monty played a key role in a nice run of success - but I sure wish we had Vogelbach to trade for some help!
   16. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5862235)
I'd hate to think that's what prompted this deal, though I suppose I'd prefer that as a motivating factor than a serious injury to Willson.

Maybe they'll soon trade one of them in another deal? I dunno.

He was perfectly fine as a long reliever and rotation fill-in in 2018, 2017, and 2016, and while he hasn't pitched all that well this year, it's only been 27 innings. That's a pretty small sample, and it doesn't seem like the underlying quality of his stuff has changed much. He seems like a really handy guy to have on the staff - if another Cubs starter gets hurt, who goes into the rotation? Chatwood? Rea? This on a team that's supposedly trying to contend.

In return, the Cubs get a solid defensive catcher who projects for around a 70-ish wRC+. That seems like the sort of player you ought to be able to add in a PTBNL-or-cash deal, not something that requires an actual asset to pick up.


Also: Montgomery is under team control through 2021. Maldandado is a free agent at the end of this year.

I looked up Montgomery's numbers at Fangraphs this morning, 33% of all balls in play against him are line drives. Over 40% are considered hard hit. So whatever he's doing, it ain't fooling anyone. His changeup was his best pitch by far last year by Fangraphs' numbers, but it's been a bad pitch this year. (All his pitches score negatively this year). Whatever's going on, the Cubs clearly don't trust him. They haven't given him a spot start all year.
   17. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5862236)
Least insightful hot take:

After how poorly Candy did as a Cub, I don't like seeing anyone named Maldonado on the team.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5862237)
Alzolay.


I was already kind of counting him in the rotation until Hamels is back. He's supposedly almost ready... but you never know until they actually activate him, do you?

I think the Cubs had to pay a little bit more because they wanted the deal finalized immediately - the same day their catcher went on the IL.

Other teams aren't going to do them a favor by rushing through a PTBNL-or-cash deal just out of the kindness of their hearts.


So call up Taylor Davis for a couple of days, until you have all your ducks in a row. The gap between Maldonado and a random AAA warm body isn't big enough to be worth all this agita.
   19. JJ1986 Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5862238)
if another Cubs starter gets hurt, who goes into the rotation?
Jason Vargas is available.
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5862239)
After how poorly Candy did as a Cub, I don't like seeing anyone named Maldonado on the team.


After all these years, I still get Candy Maldonado confused with Carmelo Martinez.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5862240)
I think the Cubs had to pay a little bit more because they wanted the deal finalized immediately - the same day their catcher went on the IL.

Other teams aren't going to do them a favor by rushing through a PTBNL-or-cash deal just out of the kindness of their hearts.



So call up Taylor Davis for a couple of days, until you have all your ducks in a row. The gap between Maldonado and a random AAA warm body isn't big enough to be worth all this agita.
I agree, it's a little bizarre. It seems intentional that they wanted someone immediately who they liked better than their AAA guys, but I'm not sure why.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5862241)
Jason Vargas is available.


Yeah, and Jason Vargas is also Jason Vargas. Why not keep the Vargas-caliber pitcher you already have, cut out the middle man, and send the Mets $25k or a low-minors reliever for Rene Rivera?
   23. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5862244)
Yeah, and Jason Vargas is also Jason Vargas. Why not keep the Vargas-caliber pitcher you already have, cut out the middle man, and send the Mets $25k or a low-minors reliever for Rene Rivera?

I was actually mentally comparing Maldonado to Rivera, whom the Cubs acquired in 2017 after Contreras went down with a hamstring pull and they had to use Alex Avila as the starter for a spell. Pretty similar players.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5862246)
Yeah, and Jason Vargas is also Jason Vargas.
Thus the availability.
   25. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5862248)
.
   26. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5862249)

After how poorly Candy did as a Cub, I don't like seeing anyone named Maldonado on the team.


Well, "Maldonado" literally means "badly given"
   27. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5862250)
Thus the availability.


Sure, but again, if you're trading for a guy who's not an upgrade on what you already had, why not just keep the guy you already had, given that he's younger, and cheaper, and has more years of control?
   28. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5862251)
Maybe they need someone to beat up reporters. Monty didn't seem to be willing to do that.
   29. DCA Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5862254)
EDIT: I'm no mathematician, but I assume this means his career OPS+ heading into his three-year streak of exactly a 73 OPS+ was 73. It's uncanny.

Not necessarily (OPS+ is a sum of ratios with different sample sizes, AB and PA). But in this case, correct.

Maldonado had a 73 career OPS+ after the 2016 season, and after 2017, and after 2018, and today.
   30. JAHV Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5862258)
I know Maldonado can't hit his way out of a wet paper bag, but I loved his glove work with the Angels. The pitching staff raved about working with him. I'm not sure if he's lost any of that in the couple years since he was traded, and I'm also not sure if some of his pitching staff guidance will be minimized due to joining a team midseason. But otherwise, Maldonado is a great defensive backup catcher, either to catch a pitcher who might be struggling or to come in as a replacement late in games.
   31. Master of the Horse Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:54 PM (#5862263)
Totally agree with 30 as Maldy was beloved by the Brewers when he was on the team. He has to start his swing yesterday to hit a legit fastball but he can catch
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5862264)
What kind of time-share between Caratini/Maldonado is likely while Contreras is out? 50-50?
   33. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:10 PM (#5862270)
I'd guess Maldonado catches Lester, and maybe then just day game after night games. Caratini 75/Maldonado 25.

Cubs are starting Alec Mills tonight, and don't need another 5th starter until August; sounds like they expect Hamels back then. But Chatwood, Alzolay and now Mills all got the extra starts ahead of Monty for various reasons.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5862272)
Thanks
   35. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5862275)
My confusion lies with the Royals. Why would they prefer Mike Montgomery to, like, literally any 19-year-old in Lo-A with a curveball?
   36. Master of the Horse Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5862278)
35--Because.............Royals
   37. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5862280)
Maldonado wasn't acquired for his bat, he was acquired for his glove. He has traditionally been among the leaders in framing and won the 2017 Gold Glove award.


My confusion lies with the Royals. Why would they prefer Mike Montgomery to, like, literally any 19-year-old in Lo-A with a curveball?


Yea, that's my question. I guess they figure if Montgomery goes back to starting and has some success, he can be flippable and get you more than what Maldonado would have gotten. Montgomery had shoulder problems this year, so this is a good way to "buy low" on him, stretch him out as a starter, and possibly sell him high if he can keep the ball on the ground. Plus it improves their team now, which is stupid to consider, but is almost certainly a factor for them.
   38. Nasty Nate Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5862285)
They get Montgomery for 2 more years, and they don't have a playoff spot this year to risk if they want to see what he can do. It makes perfect sense to me from their side (unless of course there's an argument that they could have done better on the trade market with Maldonado in the next 2 weeks).
   39. PreservedFish Posted: July 16, 2019 at 01:58 PM (#5862292)
I think it's more likely that Montgomery becomes a useful asset to the Royals than the Cubs' 34th best prospect, which has been the going rate in such trades lately.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:03 PM (#5862293)
My confusion lies with the Royals. Why would they prefer Mike Montgomery to, like, literally any 19-year-old in Lo-A with a curveball?
Maybe they think he's Jeff Montgomery?
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5862295)
My confusion lies with the Royals. Why would they prefer Mike Montgomery to, like, literally any 19-year-old in Lo-A with a curveball?

Seriously? Because from 2016-18 Montgomery threw 354.2 IP with a 126 ERA. Most Lo-A guys never sniff the majors.
   42. Itchy Row Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:20 PM (#5862302)
Maybe they think he's Jeff Montgomery?
Or Mike Moustakas.
   43. PreservedFish Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:21 PM (#5862303)
I mean, look at the top pitchers this year. Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Charlie Morton, Matt Boyd ... mediocre MLBers turn into excellent MLBers all the time.

Beyond that, focusing on the fact that "the next great Royals team" is probably half a decade away is silly. The Royals need assets.
   44. Zach Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:27 PM (#5862306)
Montgomery was a pretty hot prospect in the Royals' system for a while. If you had told me that a) The Royals were going to win a World Series, and b) Montgomery would someday get the last out in the World Series, I would have drawn entirely the wrong conclusion.
   45. Zach Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5862308)
The James Shields trade returns:

Rays get:
Mike Montgomery
Patrick Leonard
Jake Odorizzi
Wil Myers

Royals get:
Wade Davis
James Shields

The great thing about that trade is that in different years you could make a case for Myers, Davis, Shields, or Odorizzi being the best current player involved in the trade. Leonard is still in AA, but maybe Montgomery can extend the streak.
   46. geonose Posted: July 16, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5862316)
Royals get:
Wade Davis
James Shields

And Elliott Johnson!!!!
   47. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5862337)

Montgomery was a pretty hot prospect in the Royals' system for a while. If you had told me that a) The Royals were going to win a World Series, and b) Montgomery would someday get the last out in the World Series, I would have drawn entirely the wrong conclusion.


@paintingcorner
If you told 2011 me that Mike Montgomery and Bubba Starling would make their Royals debuts in the same month, I would be getting pretty pumped for the 2014 season.
   48. Spahn Insane Posted: July 16, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5862341)
Montgomery's been traded for some interesting talent. Apart from the numerous quality players involved in his trade to Tampa, he was the long-awaited trade return for Daniel Vogelbach, who was assumed to be trade bait for an AL team from the word go (blocked by Rizzo at first base, and not likely to succeed at any other non-DH position).
   49. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 16, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5862352)
Because from 2016-18 Montgomery threw 354.2 IP with a 126 ERA. Most Lo-A guys never sniff the majors.


Sure, but most low A guys could probably do better than a 126 ERA.
   50. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 16, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5862361)
Maldonado wasn't acquired for his bat, he was acquired for his glove. He has traditionally been among the leaders in framing and won the 2017 Gold Glove award.

Then I presume the Cubs are acquiring him, in part, to try and teach this to Contreras and Caratini. Those two young catchers have some good defensive skills but score poorly in pitch framing.
   51. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 16, 2019 at 05:10 PM (#5862371)
Post #49
Heh.
   52. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5862374)
Some folks here are seriously under-stating his value the last few years. As a starter (38 Cub starts over 2+ seasons) he's been league-average (43% quality starts, average game score of 51, 4.03 career starter ERA). For a 6th starter, that's ####### gold! Your typical 6th starter is replacement level or worse and here's a guy who can be league-average when you need to plug him in. Then as a reliever, he's been one of the few true multi-inning relievers around -- 47 multi-inning appearances in 81 GR over the last few years. You can't compare a guy like that with one-inning guys. His career relief ERA is 3.22, almost all with the Cubs and greatly inflated by this year's crap. Joe has mostly steered him away from high leverage but in his 13 "save situations", he's had 9 holds, 3 saves and just 1 blown save which came this year.

For the Cubs, in those first 2+ seasons, 4 WAR, 1.8 WAA ... plus this year's crap. That was good performance.

Sadly, I think he's in the trade to balance the money -- he was making 2.44, Maldonado 2.5. The poor cash-strapped Cubs (they're eating cold beans out of tins I'm sure) didn't want to limit other deadline moves by taking on an extra million or so.

   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 16, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5862375)
Is there anyone associated with the Cubs who you don't think is any good, Walt? Russell is a valuable player, Montgomery is "gold" for his role...do we just not get how Descalso is a solid role player too?
   54. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: July 16, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5862387)
Please, Face...

I think it's pretty clear that I have seized the eeyore mantle from McCoy while he's on maternity leave so I'll kindly ask you to run all such comments through me first.
   55. Brian C Posted: July 16, 2019 at 09:36 PM (#5862437)
Monty obviously wasn't useless but I think "gold" is overselling it. He was a functional sixth starter - granted, such a guy is a bit of a luxury in MLB, where teams often struggle to find 4 good starters, much less 6.

But still, "gold" would be someone you'd entertain bumping up to a bigger role, not someone that you're happy to get out of the rotation when a real starter comes back. It's perfectly probable that he'd have been a full-time starter for a bunch of teams the last few years if not with the Cubs, but those probably wouldn't have been very good teams.

   56. PreservedFish Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:32 PM (#5862447)
Dude had like a 3.50 ERA for the Cubs going into this year. He could've been a full-time starter for about 27 teams.
   57. Brian C Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:46 PM (#5862452)
He had a 3.89 ERA as a starter combined in 2017-18 with the Cubs while being babied by Maddon (barely 5.0 IP per start). That's decent, of course, but it's also a guy whose workload and matchups were very carefully managed and I'm skeptical that it translates to a very successful full-time starter.
   58. Lindor Truffles Posted: July 17, 2019 at 02:46 AM (#5862476)
We’re not selling jeans here, but does Maldonado have the worst body in MLB? Sandoval and Houston’s house brand-named Tyler White would be competition.
   59. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 08:57 AM (#5862488)
He was a functional sixth starter - granted, such a guy is a bit of a luxury in MLB, where teams often struggle to find 4 good starters, much less 6.

I think this is the common, massive over-rating of starters by rotation slot. An average 6th starter is someone with a 80 ERA+.
   60. SoSH U at work Posted: July 17, 2019 at 09:58 AM (#5862502)
I think this is the common, massive over-rating of starters by rotation slot. An average 6th starter is someone with a 80 ERA+.


I think it also undersells the need for a sixth starter. It is rare the team that won't give a full rotation slot worth of starts to pitchers outside the 1-5 spots on the staff.



   61. PreservedFish Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5862505)
Guys, this is just a new thing for Cubs fans. They've never had the chance to act entitled before. Let them have their fun!
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5862508)

I think it also undersells the need for a sixth starter. It is rare the team that won't give a full rotation slot worth of starts to pitchers outside the 1-5 spots on the staff.


Absolutely.
   63. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5862515)
Idk.

Entitled would be demanding someone send the Cubs a Monty for Taylor Davis.... this is more puzzled over the trade and a recognition that they got good value of Monty for 2.5 years, but the shine has been badly tarnished this year.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5862521)
but the shine has been badly tarnished this year.

Given what we know about relief pitcher volatility, I'm surprised you guys would get down on him so quickly.
   65. JAHV Posted: July 17, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5862554)
We’re not selling jeans here, but does Maldonado have the worst body in MLB? Sandoval and Houston’s house brand-named Tyler White would be competition.


It's got to be Vogelbach on the Mariners, right? That guy is husky.
   66. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 17, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5862558)
The worst body in MLB is normally a relief pitcher. Think Ray King or Mike Zagurski. Or a pitcher named Bartolo.

I can't think of one right now off the top of my head. Tommy Hunter is kind of husky and also injured (another bad aspect of a body), but he doesn't compare to Tyler White or Vogelbach.
   67. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5862559)
Montgomery says he asked for a trade at the start of the year when it was clear he wouldn't make the rotation, and the Cubs have been trying to accomodate him, and just struck a deal this week.
   68. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 17, 2019 at 02:21 PM (#5862591)
The worst body in MLB is normally a relief pitcher. Think Ray King or Mike Zagurski. Or a pitcher named Bartolo.

I can't think of one right now off the top of my head. Tommy Hunter is kind of husky and also injured (another bad aspect of a body), but he doesn't compare to Tyler White or Vogelbach.
Pitcher: Matt Albers

Batter: Willians Astudillo.

QED.

   69. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5862593)
The worst body in MLB is normally a relief pitcher. Think Ray King or Mike Zagurski. Or a pitcher named Bartolo.

There was a reason they called Rich Garces "El Guapo".
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5862618)
The worst body in MLB is normally a relief pitcher. Think Ray King or Mike Zagurski. Or a pitcher named Bartolo.

Or a Molina.
   71. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 17, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5862636)
Bryan Shaw looks like he'd have a heart attack if he tried to mow his entire lawn.
   72. Spahn Insane Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:12 PM (#5862653)
Montgomery says he asked for a trade at the start of the year when it was clear he wouldn't make the rotation, and the Cubs have been trying to accomodate him, and just struck a deal this week.

Interesting. Not like it was ever likely he'd crack a rotation that contains Lester/Hendricks/Hamels/Quintana/Darvish.
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5862660)
Interesting. Not like it was ever likely he'd crack a rotation that contains Lester/Hendricks/Hamels/Quintana/Darvish.

Don't you expect at least one full lost season (combined) out of your top-5? You should pretty much always expect your 6th SP to get 20 GS.
   74. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5862667)
Interesting

If only there were a Cubs specific blog on this very webpage that some extremely young person kept everyone up to date with the current Cubs news...

Don't you expect at least one full lost season (combined) out of your top-5? You should pretty much always expect your 6th SP to get 20 GS.

I agree with both the fact that the Cubs overpaid *and* that Montgomery wasn't going to continue to have a role on the team this year - again, Cubs have started 8 different guys so far and never appeared to consider starting him. They could totally be wrong about that, but him being the odd man out at least explains the rationale.

EDIT: For a team trying to make the playoffs a lefty who can't get lefties out and isn't going to start tends to get squeezed. He has control left, but he's also already 30.
   75. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:47 PM (#5862675)
I agree with both the fact that the Cubs overpaid *and* that Montgomery wasn't going to continue to have a role on the team this year - again, Cubs have started 8 different guys so far and never appeared to consider starting him. They could totally be wrong about that, but him being the odd man out at least explains the rationale.

EDIT: For a team trying to make the playoffs a lefty who can't get lefties out and isn't going to start tends to get squeezed. He has control left, but he's also already 30.


Sure. It's not a surprise they got rid of him, just a surprise they gave him up for a backup C.
   76. DCA Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:10 PM (#5862693)
again, Cubs have started 8 different guys so far and never appeared to consider starting him.

Well, we don't know what they considered. But the Cubs rotation has been pretty healthy - 17+ starts for everyone in the regular rotation.

Montgomery missed about a month from early April to early May, and has not pitched particularly well, including a run of bad outings in late June - early July. He last pitched July 2nd.

The Cubs have had 6 starts outside their top 5 SP.

Chatwood - 3 starts. One in April (Monty was out). Two in late June, could conceivably have gone to Monty but I think Chatwood is probably ahead of Monty in the SP pecking order, he's being paid more and was a full-time SP last year.

Adzolay - 2 stats. Late June and early July, could conceivably have gone to Monty.

Mills - 1 start. Yesterday, the day after Monty was traded.

So it's really just 4 times that he was passed over, all during a short time interval when he wasn't pitching well (neither Chatwood nor Adzolay were very good during their spot starts, so Monty probably wouldn't have been worse). There's really no evidence that he wasn't the #1 option (or #1a or #2 behind Chatwood) for a spot start when the season begin, or in May when he returned with a 5 IP 0 ER relief appearance.


   77. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:17 PM (#5862696)
Montgomery says he asked for a trade at the start of the year when it was clear he wouldn't make the rotation, and the Cubs have been trying to accomodate him, and just struck a deal this week.


In which case, fair play to the Cubs for making it happen, even if it hurts their roster a bit.
   78. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:23 PM (#5862702)
76 - one minor nit, the Cubs announced Mills as the starter days before the trade; perhaps that made Monty speak up again about his trade request. Also, Alzolay was good in one start/bad in the other (and good in his ML appearance of 4+IP backing up a Chatwood start). Also, just because Chatwood is paid more doesn't put him ahead of Monty, at least IMHO, because Chatwood was unbelievably awful last year as a SP while Monty wasn't (in fact, Monty stayed in the rotation last year ahead of Chatwood so something else caused that change this year).

Whether it was only 4 times or not, he was clearly still lower on the depth chart, which is all my point was.
   79. Brian C Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5862717)
One thing that needs to be said for Yu Darvish is that even though his walk rate for the year is still mediocre, and even though he's still giving up too many homers (although none in his last 2 starts), he's just about stopped walking people over the last 5 weeks or so. His last 7 starts, he's walked 6 guys and struck out 48 in 42.2 IP.

IOW, he's become about 75% less excruciating to watch.

ETA: During his post-game interview, he said that he's always given up a lot of walks, so not walking people over his last 7-8 starts has been "the most surprising thing" to him. So, there's that.
   80. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2019 at 07:30 PM (#5862740)
If anything, Snapper and SoSH understate it -- when I looked at this years ago (so maybe things have changed), an average team gave over 40 starts (I think it was 42) to guys with an ERA of 85 or worse. So 1.5 rotation slots give or take. Of course many of those were just awful teams with awful rotations while the Cubs are a very good team with (usually) pretty good SP health and especially so far this year. But the main reason Monty hasn't been a full-time SP with the Cubs is because they are a good, high-payroll team with, what, $80-90 M tied up in SPs.

Still, no matter how you slice it, it was 4 WAR, 1.8 WAA in 2+ seasons from a 6th starter/long reliever. Every team needs a 6th starter and unless you're lucky enough to have a top pitching prospect who's ready, there probably isn't a better one out there than Montgomery.

As to guys on the Cubs who aren't any good ... well, this may come as a surprise to you but the Cubs of the last few seasons are (a) a pretty darn good team and (b) run a $200 M payroll. There shouldn't be anybody on the Cubs who sucks and it's quite clear that their intention in roster management is to not have guys who suck, even down into 7th-8th relievers. They do have a bad habit of carrying a useless 25th man ... so much so that for most of the year, the useless 25th mand Descalso has been the 24th man. They get it wrong sometimes (Descalso, Duensing) but the Cubs sign guys like Brad Brach for a reason and that is (an attempt) to keep utter crap off the field as much as possible. (And given the quality of the minors pitching the last few seasons, it would have been utter crap.)

You might also note that in my bit on Monty, I say nothing about his 2019. He might be done, I wasn't excited to see him entering games, I've got no problem with him being traded (although neither Ryan nor Rosario have earned my faith either). I was criticizing the obviously incorrect nonsense that he hasn't BEEN a good pitcher. He has been a good pitcher and successfully filled a valuable role where the vast majority of teams really struggle (6th starter, long reliever). It's not my fault some of you apparently have no idea what successful 21st century roster construction looks like.

As to "gold" ... sure. Again, the guys filling his role are usually replacement level or worse. He performed above-average compared to the average ML pitcher but his actual peer group is much worse than that. So WAA under-states his contribution relative to his role and his WAR is probably a better estimate of how many wins he added to the Cubs from 2016-18. Without question, change his role to full-time SP and now his peer group is an average full-time SP and he's ... likely still an average SP for the last few years.

From 2016-18, Monty threw 355 innings, including his time with SEA. Do you know how many pitchers made it to 300 innings for 2016-18? 120. 120. 4 per team. Monty ranked 56th in WAR. From 2016-18, Monty had 355 IP and 5.7 WAR -- Darvish had 327 and 6.3. Chris Archer had 551 IP but only 4.5 WAR. Patrick Corbin had 545 IP but just 6.3 WAR. Alex Wood is similar with 364 IP and 5.0 WAR. Collin McHugh is a similar guy with 320 IP and 4.3 WAR. Maeda 435 IP and just 3.9 WAR. Of the 55 pitchers ahead of him in WAR, Corbin is the only one with even 10 relief appearances. Bundy (450 IP, 4.5 WAR) is the first guy behind him with more than 10. He's simply been the best at what he does.

So let's drop the IP limit to 100 to bring in some relievers. Monty is still 63rd in WAR for 2016-18. The Cubs have had the 63rd most valuable pitcher as their 6th starter and (what) 5th reliever ... "gold" seems a reasonable enough description.
   81. Brian C Posted: July 17, 2019 at 09:01 PM (#5862755)
I was criticizing the obviously incorrect nonsense that he hasn't BEEN a good pitcher.

Who actually said this, though?
   82. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 17, 2019 at 09:35 PM (#5862760)
Don't you expect at least one full lost season (combined) out of your top-5? You should pretty much always expect your 6th SP to get 20 GS.

As others have noted, Montgomery isn't really their 6th starter. They'll pass him over for Chatwood and the prospect, and the other prospect. Montomgery is about 9th on the depth-chart.

Looking at it a bit more, the Cubs rotation is designed to have less need for a 6th starter, let alone a 9th starter. (Doesn't mean they have no need, but it plays less a role for them than most clubs). Most clubs need a 6th starter because they don't have a real 5th starter. Hell, at least half of the league scuffles to find a fourth starter. The Cubs have dependable veterans in all five slots.

Obviously, there is still the chance of injury - or for that matter the chance that someone will suck (see Tyler Chatwood's 2017 season, for instance). But the odds of a Cubs starter sucking are less than that of the end-of-rotation guy on most clubs. As for injuries - well, that's a real concern. Hamels is down right now & Hendricks missed some time earlier this year. But even there, look at the track records for these Cubs starters for a second.

Jon Lester? He's had over 30 starts for 11 straight years.
Cole Hamels? 30+ starts for 10 of the last 11 years.
Jose Quintana? Hasn't missed a start since joining the majors seven years ago.
Kyle Hendricks? Since joining the MLB five years ago, he missed a month in 2017 and a little bit this year.
Yu Darvish? He's the only one with a real serious injury history.

Even with Darvish's injury history, if you include the starts that Hendricks and Darvish made in the minors before making their MLB debuts, these five pitchers have a combined 1,003 starts from 2012-18 - that's 143 starts per year. (Again, this includes Darvish missing all of 2015 and three-fourths of 2018).

It works out to the 20 extra starts noted in the quote that begins this rambling post. But that's 20 starts among all other pitchers, not just the sixth guy. And Montgomery isn't the 6th or even 7th guy. The Cubs had multiple swingmen, and they ranked Montgomery on the bottom of them this year, it seems.

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