Cleat Geeks

Wrigley Weekly Wrap-up


MikeMontOn Wednesday, the Cubs acquired Mariners lefty Mike Montgomery in a four-player deal. The Cubs sent Triple-A slugger Dan Vogelbach and Double-A pitcher Paul Blackburn to Seattle, they were sent Triple-A pitcher Jordan Pries in return. The team has been lacking a lefty reliever and Montgomery immediately fills that void. He has 18 starts in his two-year career, including two this season. “I was a little sad at first, understanding that I’m not going to be here with these guys in this city. But at the same time, I’m excited because I’m going to a good team and I’m ready to go contribute any way I can and help them win a World Series,” Montgomery said. He also said that he didn’t see the trade coming. “Montgomery is somebody that has really good stuff and has been performing well this year. We think he’s coming into his own a little bit,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “He’s someone who can help us this year and long into the future. We paid a price to do that. We traded a couple of really good prospects for him.” Lefties are hitting .164 off Montgomery in 2016, and he has a 2.34 ERA in 32 games, including 30 in relief. “Sometimes with these bullpen pieces, it’s important to get them on the way there, maybe hasn’t fully arrived yet,” Epstein said. “I’m not saying he’s Andrew Miller, very few are, but we traded for Andrew Miller in Boston when I was there in November 2010, hoping he could put it together in the bullpen someday. And he did. That’s how some guys are. If you wait until they are fully established the price tag is virtually impossible to acquire.” Montgomery was a former first-round pick of the Kansas City Royals and he was traded to Tampa Bay in the 2010 James Shields deal. That was when Joe Maddon was managing the Rays. Maddon described Montgomery as a “big left-hander with a very good arm.” Epstein said that Montgomery was always on the Cubs’ radar and while he isn’t a household name, the Cubs believe “he has a chance to take off and maybe be the type of guy that, a year from now, you couldn’t get in a deal of this size.”


Vogelbach was selected by the Cubs in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft. Unfortunately, there was no place for him in the Cubs organization right now. Vogelbach was being blocked at the big league level by MVP candidate Anthony Rizzo. At 6 feet, 250 pounds, Vogelbach’s body type doesn’t allow for another position besides designated hitter so he will fit better in the American League. “Dan has done a great job. Sad to see Dan go. … But also happy for him to get an opportunity, going to an American League club,” Epstein said. “This is going to be a chance for him to get at-bats at the big league level. I’m sure he’ll be up here pretty soon and he’s going to be around for a really long time. He can hit and he’s got great energy.” Vogelbach, 23, was hitting .318 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 89 games for Triple-A Iowa.

Pries had a 7-3 record with a 4.93 ERA between Seattle’s Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma this season. According to Epstein, the right-hander can fit as either a starter or a reliever, and the club plans to move him into the rotation at Triple-A. “He’s got a good slider. He can protect our rotation,” Epstein said. Blackburn had a 3.17 ERA and was 6-4 in 18 starts with Double-A Tennessee.


Dexter Fowler is back! On Friday, Fowler was activated off the disabled list and he returned with a bang. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and scored two runs in the Cubs’ 5-2 victory over the Brewers. Fowler hit a 3-1 pitch from the Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson to straightaway center for his 18th career lead-off homer and fourth this season in the first and hit a two-run double in the second. “It feels like Opening Day,” said Fowler, who finished a triple shy of the cycle. “It feels good to get back on the field and get back with these guys.” Fowler, sidelined since June 19th with a right hamstring strain, went 1-for-5 with a double, walk, and scored two runs on Wednesday when he played both games of a doubleheader with Triple-A Iowa. He started in center field in the first game and went 0-for-3, striking out twice then he was the designated hitter in the second game. “It’s a wonderful evening for him, and it’s really apparent how important he is to us,” Maddon said. “I was watching him in center field between innings and he’s laughing with [shortstop Addison Russell] and with Jason [Heyward] out in right field, and it just looked right.” Fowler’s absence was definitely felt. When he led off, the Cubs were 43-18 and they went 11-17 without him. Fowler was batting .290, and ranked among the National League leaders in on-base percentage before he injured his hamstring. “I have to try to pick it back up where I was and go from there,” Fowler said. Fowler was happy to be back around “the boys” and he added that “it’s like coming back home.”

Roster Moves: With Fowler back, outfielder Albert Almora Jr. was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The newly acquired pitcher Mike Montgomery was added to the roster and pitcher Spencer Patton was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Pitcher Joe Nathan was added to the roster on Sunday and pitcher Adam Warren was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Trade Watch: The Cubs are working on a deal with the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman. Class-A shortstop Gleyber Torres is a centerpiece in the deal.

Side Notes: Chris Coghlan (rib) and Jorge Soler (hamstring) have continued their rehab assignments at Double-A Tennessee, as they work their way back to the Major Leagues.

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