SAN DIEGO – The immediate impact of the Welington Castillo trade for the Cubs is that one of the best hitters on the team this season, Miguel Montero, will get even more playing time.
The two-time All-Star seemed disappointed during spring training at the idea that his playing time would be reduced this year after catching more games than any other catcher in baseball the last three seasons. The Cubs acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a December trade.
But despite the less regular playing time and often facing an unfamiliar bench role, the lefty hitting Montero stayed upbeat and took a .313 average and .930 OPS into Tuesday’s opener of a six-game West Coast road trip.
“I understood the situation that we had three catchers and that they all needed to play,” he said. “And I understood I was going to get more days off against left-handed pitchers. But obviously, it was hard on me. I’ve been positive. I never showed my teammates that I wanted to play [over them].”
Castillo, who was traded to the Seattle Mariners Tuesday for reliever Yoervis Medina, made eight starts behind the plate before the trade. Backup David Ross also has made eight.
“I like to be in the lineup. I like to compete,” Montero said, “and I like to help the team as much as I can, which everybody in here does.”
Manager Joe Maddon said Montero will start all three games in this series against the San Diego Padres, with David Ross on tap for pal Jon Lester’s start Friday in Arizona.
And Maddon made no guarantees that Montero will automatically see a huge uptick in starts. He’ll still look at matchups, especially against left-handed starters.
“That’ll be a case-by-case basis,” Maddon said