Montero, 34, joined the Nationals on a minor-league deal after a whirlwind 2017 season that saw the Cubs DFA him in June when he criticized pitcher Jake Arrieta for allowing seven stolen bases. The Cubs dealt him to the Blue Jays in July, and he posted a disastrous .138/.248/.241 slash line over 101 plate appearances — a major downgrade from the .286/.366/.439 line he’d posted in 112 PAs for the Cubs. He managed to win a job in spring training, beating out 24-year-old Pedro Severino, who was a very highly-regarded prospect at one point but has seen his star fade a bit over the past year.
Unfortunately for Montero, starting catcher Matt Wieters went down with an oblique strain on April 2, forcing the promotion of Severino and giving the young catcher an opportunity to prove himself. Severino took full advantage of that opportunity, hitting .368/.520/.494 over 25 big-league plate appearances. Montero, meanwhile, went 0 for 11 with two walks to start the season.
Montero missed three days while on the paternity list over the weekend, which gave Severino even more of a chance to make his case for a long-term job. Montero returned to the active roster for Tuesday night’s game but lost his roster spot — with Severino remaining on the big-league club — as Wieters returned from the disabled list on Wednesday.
With Montero no longer on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, the team had an open roster spot for veteran outfielder Moises Sierra, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday.