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Nationals sign Miguel Montero to minor-league deal

The catcher will compete for a backup job in Washington.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago Cubs Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals signed catcher Miguel Montero to a minor-league deal Thursday, according to a team announcement. The deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Montero will compete with prospect Pedro Severino to be the team’s backup catcher behind Matt Wieters, though Wieters’ struggles last year may mean his leash in Washington is a short one. Washington utilized Jose Lobaton as a backup for the last four years, but he signed with the Mets earlier in the winter.

Montero, 34, got off to a strong .286/.366/.439 line in 44 games with the Cubs last year before controversial comments about teammate Jake Arrieta (coincidentally, in Washington) led to the Cubs trading him to Toronto. He hit just .138/.248/.241 in 32 games as the Jays’ backup in the second half of the season.

Montero is a veteran of 12 major-league seasons with Arizona (2006-14), Chicago (2015-17) and Toronto (2017), owning two All-Star appearances in that time. He’ll reunite with general manager Mike Rizzo, who signed him in Arizona, and manager Dave Martinez, who had been the Cubs bench coach.