The Nationals have designated catcher Miguel Montero for assignment, per a club announcement. That’ll open an active roster spot for the activation of backstop Matt Wieters and clear a 40-man place for Moises Sierra, whose contract was selected with fellow outfielder Adam Eaton hitting the DL.
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Montero, 34, received the nod as the reserve catcher to open the season after signing a minors deal over the winter. His contract included a $1.3MM salary in the majors, though according to Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com (Twitter link) it was not fully guaranteed.
While he was once a solid regular behind the dish, Montero has trailed off in recent seasons. He still knows how to draw a walk, but is just a .211/.316/.343 hitter since the start of the 2016 season and didn’t quite reach that standard in his Grapefruit League action this spring. On the defensive side, Montero’s once-sparkling framing numbers dropped in 2017 and he had marked difficulty controlling opposing runners on the bases.
Of course, some of those same sorts of questions are still also facing Wieters, who is coming off of a forgettable 2017 season in D.C. He’ll look to get back on track now that he has recovered from a minor oblique injury, though it’s possible he will increasingly need to share time with the younger Pedro Severino, who bypassed Montero after Wieters went down. It’s questionable at best whether Severino will hit consistently in the majors, but at this point the Nats have good cause to give him an opportunity to show he can. On the whole, the catching situation remains a major source of uncertainty for the D.C. organization.