The Rundown: Jay is Maddon’s New Sidekick, Miggy Becomes US Citizen, Cubs Field Three Catchers at Once

Not everyone was turning cartwheels when the Cubs signed Jon Jay to a one-year, $8 million deal this winter. Whether it was his Cardinals pedigree, his injury-plagued down years, or his relatively pedestrian skillset, it makes sense that the move wouldn’t cause many ripples. But if your opinion has changed since watching Jay with the Cubs, you’re not alone.

In fact, Joe Maddon felt the same way at one point.

“I’ve described him as being an acquired taste,” Maddon recently told the media. “I didn’t get him when I first saw him. I mean, if you watch from a scout’s perspective, there are certain guys when you walk in the ballpark and to see them once or twice, you don’t quite understand where the benefit is. He’s the guy where you watch for a week straight, you totally get it. Love having him here, man, absolutely.

“I mean, of course his batting average and stuff is high, but the way he’s playing does not surprise. He always works a good at-bat, he’s never in trouble, he gets two strikes and the at-bat’s not over. Sometimes he does his best work with two strikes.”

The Cubs brought Jay aboard largely for his presence in the clubhouse, whether that be to serve as emotional adhesive or to show Albert Almora Jr. how to be a big league centerfielder. No one can really replace what Grandpa Rossy brought to the team over the last two seasons, but Jay was seen as something of a Ross Light.

“When you watch him on the bench and how he interacts and then watch the conversations, even when he talks to me, there’s all this stuff,” Maddon added. “He brings a lot to the table. He knows what it’s like to be on a championship caliber team and he’s just wonderful to be around.”

Wow, Joe, sounds like you’re really high on this guy.

“If I needed a son or a sidekick, I’d go for Jon Jay, I think.”

That’s incredibly high praise when you’re talking about a man who’s only played for Maddon for a few months and who’s surrounded by a notoriously strong group of character guys. You kinda get the feeling sometimes, though, that some of the younger guys are just outside their skipper’s range when it comes to really seeing eye-to-eye. Maddon can clearly relate to them and all that, just that Jay seems to be more on the that next level.

In that, he’s like Ben Zobrist or even Davey Martinez, guys Maddon can count on to understand and relay his message even without him having to share it with them. You’ve got to have one or two of those on any great team, and it helps when they perform like Jay has been thus far.

Miggy and wife become citizens

Between getting back to Chicago around 5 am from the weekend set in Boston and getting to the ballpark Monday afternoon, Miguel Montero and his wife found time to become US citizens. Very cool stuff.

From the sounds of it, Miggy is already steeped in American jingoism. As he told the mediahis first act as an official citizen was to tell Ryan Dempster to get out of his country. I mean, can you blame him?

Maddon gets weird

With the game well out of hand in the 8th inning, Joe Maddon just said “F— it” and embraced the weird by playing all three of his catchers at once. Matt Szczur stayed in the game in left after pinch hitting, so Kyle Schwarber moved from left to catcher. Willson Contreras moved from catcher to third and Miguel Montero entered the game to play first base.

It was the first time Miggy had played any position other than catcher in the majors, though he has pitched before. The ball tends to find guys in these situations, so as you’d expect, the first play of the inning was a grounder to Contreras, who fielded cleanly and threw to Montero for the out.

Brett Anderson has fun at his own expense

After admitting that his outing was “kind of a colossal failure from the get-go,” Brett Anderson shared another visual from from the early going in Monday’s game.

The weather was pretty awful during the first couple frames, which begs the question of why they even started it when they did rather than push an already-delayed game back another half hour. Perhaps the Cubs asked the Mets training staff whether they felt the field was physically prepared.

More news and notes

  • After refusing an MRI prior to his most recent start, Noah Syndergaard left with an injury and was later diagnosed with a partially torn lat
    • This could be a matter of the 17 pounds of muscle the pitcher gained to play Thor in Marvel’s Infinity War
    • Any allegations aside, this is an egregious failure by the Mets medical staff
      • Yoenis Cespedes and Matt Harvey had already been handled poorly
      • The Mets pitching staff has a pretty awful recent track record in terms of health
    • I can’t imagine the union being happy about this
    • Injury prevention is more important than diagnosis and rehab, but the Mets completely blew it on that front
  • The Red Sox have placed Steven Wright on the DL with a knee sprain
  • If you’re looking for a different sort of Cubs book from those that are coming at you from all angles, My Cubs: A Love Story by Scott Simon is a more personal tale of fandom
    • More full review coming soon
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