After a disappointing 2017 season, Miguel Montero will look to reignite his career with the Washington Nationals in 2018.
Mark Zuckerman of MASN reported the catcher has agreed to a minor league deal with an invite to the major league camp for spring training. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports added that he will make $1.3 million plus incentives, assuming he makes the big league club.
He will compete with Pedro Severino for the No. 2 spot on the roster.
Montero started last season with the Chicago Cubs and hit well with a .286/.366/.439 slash line in 44 games. His defense was a problem behind the plate, particularly when it came to throwing out base stealers.
The opposition was successful on 58 of 63 stolen-base attempts when Montero was catching last season. That became a problem during his time with the Cubs, as he criticized Jake Arrieta after a June 27 game against the Nationals when they went 7-of-7 on stolen bases.
"That's the reason they were running left and right today, because they [Arrieta] were slow to the plate," Montero told reporters after the game. "Simple as that. It's a shame it's my fault because I didn't throw anyone out."
The Cubs designated Montero for assignment the next day before he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 3. His offensive performance dropped off following the deal, as the 34-year-old hit .138/.248/.241 in 32 games.
Montero has had a difficult run over the past two seasons. His minus-0.5 FanGraphs wins above replacement since 2016 ranks last among all catchers with at least 450 plate appearances.
Washington is taking on a buy-low gamble with Montero. He did hit .248/.345/.409 in 2015, his last season as a regular starting catcher, so the hope will be he can return to being that kind of a hitter and get help from his pitchers to make it easier to catch would-be base stealers.
With Matt Wieters expected to remain the starting catcher, Montero won't face a great deal of pressure trying to have a successful 2018 coming off a strange journey last season.