Cubs

Miguel Montero heating up brings a dynamic presence to Cubs lineup

Miguel Montero heating up brings a dynamic presence to Cubs lineup

With all the talk about the Cubs boasting an AL East-style lineup, they've gotten this far offensively without much production from Miguel Montero.

The two-time All-Star catcher has a .762 career OPS, but has yet to really hit his stride at the plate after missing almost three weeks with a back injury.

Montero has an .873 OPS since returning from the back ailment in mid-May and sports a .350/.458/.600 slash line in his last seven games, including a homer his first time up Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Montero's big weekend helped raise his season OPS to .732 and showed how he can give this Cubs lineup a dynamic look when he's on his game.

"That really lengthens the lineup," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The other team has to definitely respect that after hitting behind [Ben] Zobrist made Zobrist a better hitter, especially when [Montero] hits a home run the first time at the plate.

"He's gonna do that. He's gonna hit home runs. I like that he's gotten his hits to the left-field side; he's gonna hit home runs to the left-field side here, also."

Maddon talked up Montero's receiving skills behind the plate and actually feels the veteran catcher is essentially at the latter end of spring training in terms of his swing thanks to that back injury.

The Cubs are currently carrying three catchers on their roster and can afford to be conservative with Montero's playing time, especially with David Ross (.828 OPS) discovering the Fountain of Youth. 

But Montero returning to form consistently could be a huge boost to a lineup that already features four likely 2016 All-Stars in Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

wrigley_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

3:00 - Listener question: Espada or Ross? Kelly Crull shares some inside info on Joe Espada

7:30 - Kelly talks about David Ross' second interview for the Cubs managerial job.

11:30 - Listener question: Say it is Espada, do you see any way David Ross comes on as a coach behind Espada?

13:30 - Listener question: Could the team regress further due to a lack of familiarity with a new manager?

20:10 - Listener question: How hard will Theo and Jed go after Gerrit Cole? And if he's not available who else is?

23:30 - Listener question: Are you trying to extend Castellanos?

26:00 - Listener question: If you sign Castellanos are you also trading Kyle Schwarber?

28:45 - Listener question: Should the Cubs trade Kris Bryant? What would they get back in return?

33:00 - Lighting round: Will Nico Hoerner be the opening day second baseman and keep the job in 2020?

33:10 - Lightning round: Will the Cubs bring back Cole Hamels?

33:45 - Can we and should we clone Javy Baez so we have a fresh Javy when he retires, or is that unethical?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Subscribe:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

The Cubs' managerial search is in full swing as they continue to line up intriguing candidates to replace Joe Maddon. In recent weeks, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada's name has been floated out as a strong candidate, with reports stating that the Cubs had already scheduled their second interview with the much sought after coach

While the fact that Espada is such a strong candidate in the midst of a World Series run has led many to believe he is the runaway favorite right now, it is still very much so a wide-open race. 

It was reported that while not extremely publicized, former Cub David Ross is believed to have had his second interview with the Cubs organization this week. 

Ross, who was extremely clutch in the Cubs 2016 World Series win, has an obvious and extended history with the organization. And while there are no concrete reports on the nature of any follow-up discussions between Ross and the Cubs, it was stated that the two sides have in fact at least had those expanded conversations.

As Kelly Crull hinted at in her tweet, Ross's position with the franchise definitely makes his negotiations about the managerial opening a bit more fluid, which may lead to fewer updates on his specific discussions with the team.  

Ross and Espada certainly sound like the favorites to land the Cubs' managerial opening, as our own David Kaplan stated that manager Joe Girardi, who has been connected to the Cubs throughout this search, looks like the front-runner for the Philadephia Phillies managerial spot. 

The 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros kicks off on Tuesday night. Traditionally you do not see MLB franchises make their managerial hiring announcements during the World Series,  so the Cubs' announcement could come on one of the World Series off-days, as early as Thursday. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.