Today, as expected, the Chicago Cubs called up outfielder Lou Montanez from AAA Iowa, where he was hitting a robust .369/.429/.573, and playing a fair bit of center field. You may remember Montanez as that-kid-the-Cubs-drafted-third-overall-back-in-2000-but-who-flopped-horribly. He’s working his way back, and although he’s not yet found significant Major League success, he could prove a decent fourth/fifth outfielder type. He’s 29.
The move, as you know, was precipitated by the extended absence of center fielder Marlon Byrd, who will be out for some time with a number of facial fractures.
The choice of Montanez is interesting for a couple reasons – but not because he was selected over Tyler Colvin, who was ineligible to return until May 27. Instead, it’s the selection of Montanez over Fernando Perez that’s interesting. Perez, unlike Montanez, is already on the 40-man roster. He’s also out of options, so if the Cubs would ever want to send him back down, he’d have to pass through waivers. The choice, therefore, indicates – in addition to the Cubs preference for Montanez – that the Cubs expect Montanez to stay up with the big team for some period of time. It also indicates that the Cubs are satisfied with Tony Campana as the “speed/defense” guy on the bench. None of this is surprising – just interesting.
The corresponding move hasn’t yet been announced, but with 13 pitchers on the roster, it will be one of the young relievers going down. Odds are strong that it’s Scott Maine or Justin Berg.