The Chicago Cubs tonight surprised everyone by acquiring veteran back-up catcher Martin Maldonado for swing man Mike Montgomery. Immediately, we knew that meant Willson Contreras’s foot situation was worse than everyone was thinking, and indeed, he’s headed to the Injured List.
Willson going to IL with a strain of the arch muscle on his right foot. MRI revealed a strain. Medical staff said playing on it could make it worse. Don't expect it to be longer than 10 days.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 16, 2019
Theo confirms trade, Montgomery for Maldonado. Contreras to IL w strain of arch muscle on his right foot. Was feeling better but MRI revealed strain.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) July 16, 2019
Theo Epstein said that they don t expect Contreras to miss-more than ten days or so .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) July 16, 2019
If it’s true that the Cubs think Contreras is only going to miss another 8 to 10 days, then why wouldn’t they just call up Taylor Davis instead of making a trade? Well, there are two possible answers:
1.) The Cubs are full of baloney on the timeline for Contreras, and they are actually afraid he’ll be out much longer; or
2.) The Cubs have wanted Maldonado all along, and this was the final push to just go ahead and get something done.
Given that the Cubs did pursue Maldonado in the offseason, and you never know what might happen in future injuries to Contreras or Caratini, I suspect it’s more number 2 than number 1, even if the Cubs’ timeline on injuries has been notoriously flabby.
So, let’s be positive, and say Contreras is mostly fine, and the Cubs just wanted Maldonado anyway. This gives them cover to take it very easy with Contreras’s return, gives them the flexibility to use him more in the outfield, gives more starting time to Caratini, and gives them an excellent receiving catcher (whose skills and tips might just rub off on their other two guys).
This could wind up being a really positive thing. And, to be fair, the Cubs didn’t lose any current contributions from Mike Montgomery, who has been unusable this year as a reliever, and even fell behind Tyler Chatwood, Adbert Alzolay, and Alec Mills as a fill-in starter.
We’ll have more on Contreras, and on new Cub Maldonado, soon. As for Montgomery, we will always have The Final Out. His roster spot will be taken by Alec Mills for his start tomorrow.