Cubs trade for Royals C Martin Maldonado as Willson Contreras hits IL

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9045/" data-ylk="slk:Martin Maldonado">Martin Maldonado</a> is a defensive specialist at catcher. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Martin Maldonado is a defensive specialist at catcher. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Suddenly needing some reinforcements at catcher, the Chicago Cubs dealt for Royals catcher Martin Maldonado on Tuesday to replace injured starter Willson Contreras.

The price for the trade was a player who threw one of the most important pitches in club history.

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Cubs trade Mike Montgomery for Martin Maldonado

In exchange for Maldonado, the Royals received left-handed reliever Mike Montgomery.

Montgomery is best known for throwing the final pitch of the 2016 World Series after being called in to relieve Carl Edwards Jr. in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Cleveland Indians. Montgomery earned the first save of his career by retiring Michael Martinez.

Of course, it’s not 2016 anymore.

Montgomery has struggled significantly this year with a 5.67 ERA and an even-worse 6.21 FIP in 27 innings. Montgomery is currently posting career worsts in both strikeout and walk rates, and has more than doubled his career 0.9 HR/9 with a 2.0 mark this year.

Per Jon Heyman, the Royals saved around $400,000 with the exchange. Montgomery also comes with two more years of team control, so there could be some decent upside if Montgomery just needs a change of scenery to turn things around.

Why did the Cubs need Martin Maldonado?

The move by the Cubs seems to be in response to an injury to starting catcher Willson Contreras, who reportedly landed on the IL with a right foot strain. However, Contreras is reportedly not expected to be out for long.

Maldonado has never been a slugger and was looking the same this year with a .224/.288/.359 slash line, but he’s a former Gold Glove winner that Cubs pitchers should be happy to work with.

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