By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) – Chicago’s two major league baseball teams could be in the hunt for Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero.
Under the new management of vice president of baseball operations Tony La Russa and general manager Dave Stewart, the Diamondbacks appear ready to dump Montero’s salary and start the season with a new catcher.
A run-producing left-handed hitter, Montero had a significant dip in batting average during the 2013 season (.230) and wasn’t much better in 2014 (.243). Despite the drop in average, he’s a .264 lifetime hitter. Montero hit 13 home runs and drove in 72 runs in 489 at-bats last year.
Both the Cubs and the White are looking for an upgrade behind the plate. Low on-base percentages and average defensive skills from their catchers may be why the Chicago ballclubs are motivated to change it up.
The Cubs, White Sox and Dodgers were among the interested parties in Montero, the Arizona Republic reported. With no heir apparent near the major league level in Arizona, either White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers or Cubs catcher Welington Castillo would more than likely be involved in a trade. Flowers had a .297 on-base percentage in 2014; Castillio finished at .297.
Montero will turn 32 in July.
“He put a lot of pressure on himself last season,” said a scout who knows Montero. “He saw the injuries and lack of production on the team. He came out of his natural swing during the year. Miguel is a solid clubhouse player who has good leadership ability. I think he has a few big years still ahead of him.”
Both the Cubs and White Sox are looking for quality left-handed run producers. Montero’s .342 lifetime on-base percentage is also something that the teams supposedly involved want to address and increase in 2015.
Montero signed a five-year, $60-million deal in the winter of 2012. He has three years remaining, with $40 million still owed on the deal. He was a NL All-Star in 2014 despite the rough finish.
Montero is known as a good defender, with an average arm and quick release. Signal-calling is believed to be a strength for Montero.