Miguel Montero has never been accused of holding his tongue, so it wasn’t a shock that he let it wag when he joined the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 this past Friday. Despite limited action, Montero factored heavily in the Cubs’ World Series run, launching a pinch-hit grand slam against the Dodgers and collecting the decisive RBI in Game 7 of the World Series.
His lack of playing time wasn’t a surprise at all, particularly given that he wasn’t even a lock for the playoff roster before his hitting came back down the stretch. But on the day they shared their title with the largest non-religious gathering in human history, Miggy was still a little bitter about the way he was used.
“It was a different emotion because I didn’t get a chance to play,” the backup catcher lamented. “I was a little disappointed, to be honest, because I felt like I did a good job in the regular season but was left out a little bit. It made me feel a little like not important or maybe not as good to be in this lineup.”
“I think the toughest part for me is they never communicated with me,” Montero continued. “I’m a veteran guy. They talk about veteran leadership. I have 11 years in the game and two All-Star [appearances]. I expected to be treated a little better. I was expected to get communication. Just let me know. Put me in the loop. That was the toughest part for me because I never understood what my role was going to be.”
Listen, I get the whole communication thing and the idea that all players, veterans in particular, deserve to know their role. But does a guy who had clearly been supplanted as the regular backstop and whose arm was better served over mashed potatoes than throwing out runners really need to be complaining about his playing time? I mean, he was used in the playoffs pretty much exactly as he had been late in the regular season.
This is already water under the bridge and it’ll be in a stagnant retention pond somewhere by the time I actually run this, but I’ve been asked about it a couple times and I felt like sharing. Honesty is normally a good thing, but just like great food or beer or [insert your own vice here], there is such a think as too much of it. It’s just not a good look to be complaining about playing time when you’re celebrating and will be returning to the team next season. Unless, of course, he doesn’t want to return.
I can’t imagine Montero is trying to drive a wedge between himself and management or that he’s angling for a buyout or something. Then again, he’s not really in line for anything more next season. Willson Contreras is only going to get more run and I’d imagine Kyle Schwarber is still going to pick up a start behind the plate here and there. You can’t really count on an aging catcher who’s perpetually nicked up and who has a noodle arm.
What’s really odd in this whole thing is that the dude has constantly referenced his own mortality this season. Not only did he admit Contreras’s superiority, but he even said he thought the Cubs were going to release him at one point. Heck, he tweeted out the Vine I snagged of the time he lofted a throw to no one in particular in one of those WTF moments that made you wonder if he should have been in the concussion protocol. Were those all just moments of levity? Was this?
Miggy’s an emotional guy and he wears his heart on his sleeve regardless of the situation. This appears to have been an instance in which his candid nature just got out in front of his better judgment’s skis and he popped off with something better left unsaid, at least publicly. Sometimes you just need to know when to shut the heck up and swallow your words. I still can’t imagine it being an issue in the clubhouse and I highly doubt Joe Maddon will give it a second look, though the two would do well to sit down and clear the air at some point.
Like Seth Gecko once said, “It’s not a big deal, unless you make it a big deal.” There’s very little that could possibly be a bigger deal than a World Series title, so this little issue will surely go the way of David Caruso’s career following his departure from NYPD Blue (Didn’t he do a movie called Jade or something? With Angie Everhart?). By the time spring training rolls around, we’ll have forgotten about this little kerfuffle and it’ll be nothing more than a footnote. Except that I can pretty much guarantee some fan is going to bring it up at CubsCon.
It won’t be as awkward as Dave Martinez being asked about burying the hatchet with Ryne Sandberg, but could still raise an eyebrow or three.