We have not yet heard the results of Miguel Montero's MRI, which happened Sunday.
But the Cubs catcher has a jammed thumb that forced him out of Saturday's game, and those kinds of injuries are problematic for catchers.
The Cubs are a playoff-contending team this year. According to this article Joe Maddon says the team would be "fine" using Taylor Teagarden and David Ross behind the plate "for now," I can't imagine them wanting to go with those two on any sort of long-term basis if Montero is, say, out for several weeks.
So you're likely going to think "Kyle Schwarber." Here's what Maddon said about promoting Schwarber:
Manager Joe Maddon said they have not discussed promoting catcher Kyle Schwarber, who was called up for six Interleague games in American League ballparks to be the designated hitter. "For right now, we have not gotten to that point," Maddon said of Schwarber joining the team. "Schwarber’s always in consideration for what we’re doing in the future. I don’t know how he’s been playing or what we think of him as a catcher now."
There's no doubt that Schwarber's bat would help the Cubs' sputtering offense. His defense, though... not so much. It's beyond any thought of passed balls, too. I don't think I'd want an inexperienced catcher in a playoff race handling pitchers, trying to throw out runners, etc. In my view, Schwarber needs much more development as a catcher in the minor leagues before he can become a competent big-league catcher.
What to do, then? Perhaps, look around to see if there's a veteran catcher who might be available by trade at not too high a cost, either in dollars or prospects.
I did some looking around at catchers in the big leagues this year. There is one who fits the bill.
Now, before you go ballistic on that suggestion, hear me out. A.J. is having a pretty good offensive year for the Braves, hitting .283/.315/.439 with six home runs in 223 at-bats. He doesn't walk much (nine times), but he doesn't strike out much either (21 times). He knows the league, knows Wrigley Field, isn't being paid very much ($2 million, the Cubs could easily assume the rest of the contract) and is likely retiring at the end of this year. The Cubs could probably get him for a couple of A-ball pitchers.
Lest you think this idea is completely crazy, the St. Louis Cardinals did exactly this when Yadier Molina went down with an injury last summer. They acquired A.J. to stabilize their catching situation until Molina came back. Granted, they didn't have to give up any talent to get him -- the Red Sox had released him and the Cardinals simply signed him. FWIW, A.J. caught Jon Lester three times while both were with the Red Sox last year, caught 11 of Justin Grimm's 17 starts with the Rangers in 2013 and he and Jason Motte were teammates in St. Louis last yaer, so he has at least some familiarity with the Cubs staff.
Maybe I'm off base here, or maybe I'm onto something. Maybe Montero will be fine after the break and the Cubs won't need to do anything.
But if they do... well, why not? What do you think?