Well that escalated quickly.
So let’s start here. It seems some have forgotten that Miguel Montero also bitched his way out of Arizona. We all thought it was cool and cute when it was basically him trying to beat the ever-loving shit out Adam Eaton. But he wasn’t a pleasant presence around there, so they shipped him up here where the Cubs thought that sort of FIRE AND DA PASSHUN would play well. And it did for a little while there, but Miggy was always the same red-ass he always was.
What I will say is that Miggy is obviously a proud guy, and he knows probably just as well as anyone when Trea Turner and the Nats are racking up seven steals in less than four innings that his name is going to be slathered all over the internet and a FOF on Deadspin and MLB.com and the whole thing. And that must suck, because yes, in a vacuum he’s right. They’re running on Arrieta. He’s really slow to the plate. Always has been. It didn’t matter when he gave up barely two runners per game. It matters now when he’s walking six alone per game.
Still, that’s not the kind of thing you can do. Especially when on parade day you’re bitching about your role in the playoffs, when Willson Contreras had earned his playing time and David Ross had a niche carved out that apparently couldn’t be touched (and I’m still skeptical of that, and get more so with every second Ross is on my TV yelling, “DID SOMEONE SAY PERFECT GAME?!”).
I’ve seen some speculate or straight up say that Montero’s bitterness started to arise with the adulation that David Ross got. But Ross was actually a better offensive player than Montero last year, to go along with being three times the defensive player. If you can believe that, which I couldn’t really. So if there was jealousy there, that’s just petty because Montero was getting outplayed. That’s out there for everyone to see.
Still, this whole thing raises more questions than it answers. Let’s start with the smaller one. Victor Caratini is on his way up, presumably to be the backup catcher. But he’s 23, and his development needs more than simply once or twice a week, doesn’t it? Is he going to split time with Willson? Because Willson is starting to hit. Are they going to move Willson to the outfield more often? Because there are already too many people out there for the ABs are available. It’s probably not worth worrying about just yet.
What is is what exactly is going on with the Cubs team and what Joe Maddon has a handle on and what he doesn’t. It’s not like there have been a lot of “events.” This is basically the only one. Certainly Maddon isn’t responsible for whatever is going on with Addison Russell, even if we add that to the list of things that have made this season less than enjoyable.
But we’ve commented on how the Cubs just don’t seem as “locked in” this year as they were last year. Mental errors, with Maddon calling out Contreras for missing a sign on Sunday. The defense hasn’t been as good. Some ABs haven’t been as focused or productive. And now this.
Look, basically nothing has gone wrong in Maddon’s tenure here. He showed up in ’15, all the young talent was ready, and while they didn’t really take off until August we were all having too much fun with what we had to really care. Then it got super fun.
The only blip last year was that three-week stretch in June and July before the break, and when the Cubs had already racked up enough wins to be 30 over .500 before that, no one got too tied up about it. So the petting zoo, the magician, the themed road trips, that’s all cool when things are copacetic.
Your Anchorman road trip looks pretty stupid when you go 0-6. Your Wooderson look on life looks a little less rosy when your team is still around .500 and your catcher is popping off until he gets tossed out the door. At some point, order has to be restored, no?
What I’d really like to know about Miggy is why he or Bosio can’t seem to get Arrieta’s motion back to what it was in ’15. Why they haven’t notice he’s throwing far more across his body than he was then, even if that’s part of his deception. Why he can’t find the zone on the glove side. If we could answer those, maybe no one would care or notice the base stealers.