Cubs acquire veteran catcher Martin Maldonado from the Royals for Mike Montgomery

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 25: Kansas City Royals catcher Martin Maldonado (16) in the eighth inning of an MLB game between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals on May 25, 2019 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – With the team in the thick of another race for a National League Central division title and a fifth consecutive playoff berth, a few moves between now and the end of July trade deadline figured to be on the way.

Late Monday night, after a Cubs’ loss at home, one took place.

Following a 6-3 loss to the Reds, the Cubs made a trade with the Royals to pick up catcher Martin Maldonado in exchange for pitcher Mike Montgomery.

On the way to Chicago is a solid defensive catcher who won a Gold Glove at the position in 2017 with the Los Angeles Angels, which may be needed as Willson Contreras deals with a foot injury that has sent him to the IL. Gone is a relief pitcher who struggled most of the 2019 season yet owns the distinction of getting the greatest out in the history of the Cubs’ franchise.

Maldanado has been in the majors for nine seasons, earning praise for his prowess behind the plate with the Brewers (2011-2016), Angels, (2017-2018), the Astros (2018), and the Royals this season. Per Cubs media relations, his 37.3 percent success rate in throwing out baserunners who try to steal is the best of any catcher in the MLB since 2011 with a least 600 games.

Before the trade, Maldonado was playing for the Royals against the White Sox but was pulled in the later innings as the trade was being finalized. His acquisition may have been made, in part, to Contreras’ being placed on the 10-day Injured List with a strain to his arch muscle in the foot.

Montgomery departs the Cubs after spending parts of four seasons with the club and is known for getting the most famous out in team history. The left-handed pitcher got Michael Martinez to ground out to Kris Bryant in the tenth inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Indians at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 to clinch the Cubs’ first championship in 108 years.

Since then, Montgomery served primarily as a reliever but as an occasional starter as well, going 14-17 with a 3.74 ERA from the middle of the 2016 season through 2019. This season was a rough one for the lefty, as he sported a 5.67 ERA in 20 appearances, with 18 strikeouts compared to 13 walks.

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