In the words of Ron Burgundy: “Well, that escalated quickly.”
A day after catcher Miguel Montero publicly called out pitcher Jake Arrieta, the Chicago Cubs designated the catcher for assignment.
On Tuesday, Montero publicly blasted Arrieta and the Cubs pitching staff for the Washington Nationals baserunning success, a performance that saw them rack up 7 stolen bases en route to a 6-1 victory over the Cubbies.
“That’s the reason they were running left and right today, because they were slow to the plate” Montero said. “Simple as that. It’s a shame it’s my fault because I didn’t throw anyone out.”
Although Montero issued an apology on Wednesday, it did little to shield him from the kickback from Cubs president Theo Epstein and manager Joe Maddon who both said that Montero’s comments necessitated a roster change.
“When something goes wrong on the field we expect our players to take the blame, step up and proactively assume the blame for it, even if it’s not their fault,” Epstein said. “That’s the way to be a good teammate. He completely agreed when it was pointed out to him and he apologized.
“After thinking about it some more, I just came to the conclusion that now more than ever we need to be a team. This was an example of being a bad teammate publicly and that we’d be better off moving on and not standing for it.”
Maddon also chimed in with his thoughts on Montero’s demotion.
“Regardless of Jake saying it would not have impacted the clubhouse, I think it would have. There are too many young guys in there that are impressionable. You don’t want to foster, nurture or condone that kind of message.”
“I called Jake to apologize,” Montero said duringan appearance on ESPN 1000 Chicago on Wednesday.
“I called Jake to apologize,” Montero said (h/t ESPN).
“It was the heat of the moment. He’s grinding out there; I’m grinding behind the plate. It’s tough. It’s the heat of the moment. I said what I said — yes, I’m responsible. I talked to him to apologize because I feel like I should step up and apologize, and I did.”
Montero’s comments drew the ire of teammates such as Anthony Rizzo, who fired back shortly after Montero’s criticisms were aired.
“We win as a team, we lose as a team,” Rizzo said during his weekly appearance on ESPN 1000 Chicago.
“If you start pointing fingers that just labels you as a selfish player. I disagree. We have another catcher [Willson Contreras] who throws out everyone who steals, and he [catches for] Jon Lester who doesn’t [throw] over. It’s no secret. Going to the media with things like that, I don’t think it’s very professional.”
Chicago called up Triple-A catcher Victor Caratini to take Montero’s spot on the roster.