The Royals have traded catcher Martín Maldonado to the Chicago Cubs, according to Ken Rosenthal. In return, the Royals will be reuniting with pitcher Mike Montgomery, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Maldonado left Monday’s night game in the sixth inning, leading to speculation that the Royals had engineered their second trade in as many days. Jeffrey Flanagan confirms the Royals have officially announced the deal.
The 29-year old left-hander was originally selected by the Royals with the 36th overall selection in the 2008 draft, but was part of the trade to the Rays for James Shields. Montgomery eventually found his way to the Cubs, and was a serviceable pitcher from 2016 to 2018, posting a 3.35 ERA between the rotation and the bullpen, and peaked in 2017 as a 2.2 WAR player, according to Baseball Reference. He has struggled this year, however, with a 5.67 ERA and a poor strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 innings of work. Montgomery is not particularly young, but he would be under club control through 2021. He will earn $2.44 million this year, roughly what the Royals were paying Maldonado.
The 32-year old Maldonado was hitting .224/.288/.359 with six home runs in 73 games, heading into action Monday night. The Royals had signed Maldonado to a one-year, $2.5 million deal back in March once they learned Salvador Perez would miss the entire season with an elbow injury.
Maldonado has never been much with the bat, but he has been sought after for his framing ability, his ability to handle pitchers, and his strong arm behind the plate. He has been a 1.1 WAR player this year, according to Baseball Reference.
The Royals will call up catcher Meibrys Viloria from Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where the 22-year old was hitting .264/.344/.332 in 63 games. Montgomery will start in Bailey’s place on Friday. The Royals will have to make another roster move to make room for Montgomery.