Miguel Montero is on the move.
The Arizona Diamondbacks dealt the two-time All-Star catcher to the Chicago Cubs for two players confirms the team's Twitter account:
The trade doesn't come as much of a surprise. It was no secret Arizona made the 31-year-old available to the highest bidder.
On Dec. 6, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers had a preliminary deal in place that would've sent Montero to Los Angeles for a package that would've included Andre Ethier.
Rosenthal's sources revealed that Arizona's owners put the kibosh on the potential trade.
Two days later, Rosenthal and fellow Fox Sports reporter Jon Morosi revealed that the Cubs were potential suitors for Montero:
Rosenthal added that the two teams had been discussing the trade over a weeks-long period:
Few, if any, MLB followers would consider Montero the best catcher in the league, or a top-five catcher for that matter. In September, Bleacher Report's Zachary D. Rymer ranked the 35 top catchers in baseball. Montero came in at seventh.
In his summary of Montero's ability, Rymer wrote:
Montero’s a better player than the surface stats indicate, which has a lot to do with how the surface stats don’t give him proper credit for his receiving skills. But even outside of that, good health has returned him to being a catcher who can get it done with his bat as well as his glove.
While Montero wasn't an elite player at his position, he undoubtedly has a lot of value, especially given how hard it can be to find a good catcher.
Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk questioned the move, wondering why the Diamondbacks would be so willing to part with Montero without having any solid replacement in sight:
After a disappointing 2013 season, Montero rebounded well in 2014, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 72 runs. He also had a slash line of .243/.329/.370. While those numbers aren't close to his peak of 2011 and 2012, they were at least steps in the right direction.
Good catchers are scarce in this year's free-agent market, and the crown jewel, Russell Martin, already signed a five-year, $82 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
A player of Montero's caliber wasn't going to be available through free agency.
Trading for Montero won't radically alter the Cubs' fortunes in 2015, but it was a shrewd move that gives Chicago a ready-made MLB catcher in an otherwise thin market.