In keeping with ancient baseball tradition, we're passing final and lasting judgment on a recent baseball controversy. That's why we call this Kangaroo Court -- it's a nod to the old days when a veteran player would preside over clubhouse "legal proceedings" and mete out fines based on baseball-related offenses. For instance, if you fail to advance a runner, take too long rounding the bases, wear the wrong jersey to batting practice, or in the case of former Red Sox manager John McNamara use aerosol deodorant as hairspray, you get fined by the judge. These days, the Kangaroo Court is a clubhouse relic of the past, but we're here to revive it and to bring the mechanisms of baseball justice to bear on present-day dust-ups, hostilities, and close calls. 

Today, we're addressing Miguel Montero's public comments about now-ex-teammate Jake Arrieta. In case you missed it, Montero blamed Arrieta's slowness to the plate for the Washington Nationals stealing seven bases against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. Montero's comments were not well received, as Anthony Rizzo called him selfish and the Cubs designated Montero for assignment, effectively ending his career in Chicago.

The case for Montero

Montero is correct in everything he said. Pitchers are almost always more responsible than catchers for stolen bases; Arrieta is slow to the plate and was the main reason the Nationals ran wild; honesty is the best policy; and so on.

That's about the best you can say here without reaching into the fog. For instance, one might be tempted to say the Cubs -- who have disappointed all season long -- could stand to benefit from the kind of public accountability Montero dispensed on Tuesday night.

But the counterpoint is Montero's comments resulted in his banishment from the roster, effectively hurting the Cubs by lowering their talent level. As such, that's not the most practical argument.

The case for the Cubs

It's almost never a good idea to call out a teammate. Sure, Montero has every right to be annoyed with Arrieta's disregard for baserunners -- especially because, as he noted, he gets blamed for it -- but what's the upside? Arrieta isn't likely to change his approach because Montero went public.

Compounding matters is the fact Montero framed his message in a selfish way. He wasn't worried about the Nats stealing bases and scoring runs and winning the game -- he was worried about how those stolen bases reflect in his individual statistics. That's not a good look. None of this is.

Additionally, Montero just created more drama for a team that already had a sufficient share. Presuming Montero intended to remain on the roster, he did nothing but make everyone's jobs more difficult by airing the Cubs' dirty laundry.

Four CBS Sports judges weigh in

Jonah Keri: They were all right. Montero is right on Arrieta, since pitchers are much more responsible for stolen bases than pitchers. The Cubs were right to DFA him, since Montero isn't very good, and sniping at teammates when you're the defending champs and struggling is a bad look. And Rizzo was right to be frustrated at Montero, since airing your grievances toward another player to the press never leads to anything good.

Matt Snyder: If you can't even throw the ball to second base from behind the plate, you aren't a big league catcher anymore and should shut your mouth. Montero also complained about a lack of playing time after his team won the freaking World Series.
"Thanks for the grand slam in the NLCS and see ya" is the proper sentiment. And, yes, Rizzo was dead on.

Dayn Perry: Montero is right about pitchers having a lot to do with stolen bases, but so what? Montero can't throw anymore, and that also has a little something to do with it. Even framing it as something like, "We just couldn't control the running game tonight," would've been fine and accurate. Instead, he laid all the blame on Arrieta and did so in very public fashion. That's not cool. Maybe coming from a clubhouse-leader kind of catcher, you might interpret this is an attempt to motivate, but we know from past experiences that Montero is prone to letting his mouth get ahead of his brain.

R.J. Anderson: Montero made valid points, but he made them in an incorrect forum. Catchers are supposed to be good communicators, ones skilled in knowing how to take blame and pass credit. Maybe this was a last resort. But, man, he had to know how this would look -- and he did it anyway. As such, it's hard to feel too bad for him, even after he was designated for assignment. Hopefully everyone involved learned a lesson here.

The verdict

Let's be clear once more: Montero's criticisms were on point. His choice of framing and medium, however, leave us no choice but to side with Arrieta and the Cubs.