Oct
28

What Went Right: The Cliff Lee Non-Trade

By

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Earlier today Joe broke down the negative impact of the failed Cliff Lee trade, and that part is obvious enough. The Yankees lost out on a world class pitcher and ended up falling to Lee and the team that traded for him in the ALCS. We all know the Yanks would have been a considerably better team in 2010 if the trade had gone through, but there’s a chance the Yankees will be better off in the long-run.

The reason they might be better off down the road is quite simple: they get to keep top prospect Jesus Montero. Keeping the other prospects rumored to be involved in the deal – David Adams, Adam Warren, Eduardo Nunez, Zach McAllister, Ivan Nova, and whoever else’s name popped up at one time or another – is nice as well, but Montero’s the real prize. He is not only the team’s best prospect, but also their best offensive prospect since Derek Jeter, and it’s not hyperbole.

While certainly not over-the-hill, the Yankee offense is a bit … experienced, if you catch my drift. Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, arguably the Yanks’ two most important hitters, are 36 and 35-years-old, respectively. Jorge Posada is 39. Mark Teixeira will turn 31 less than two weeks into the 2011 season and Curtis Granderson hits the big three-oh a few weeks before that. Nick Swisher turns 30 next month. Robbie Cano (28) and Brett Gardner (27) will likely be the only regulars under 30 on Opening Day 2011, so clearly the Yankee lineup is going to need an infusion of youth at some point soon.

Montero figures to provide that. The soon-to-be 21-year-old catcher from Venezuela has already spent a full season at the Triple-A level, an age when most American kids are wrapping up their junior year of college. After a slow start (.312 wOBA through June) in 2010 (perhaps you could call it an adjustment period), Montero posted a .433 wOBA over the final two-plus months of the season. He hit 15 homers in 46 games after July 10th, almost matching his 2009 season total of 17 big flies. There’s little doubt that Montero can mash – Jim Callis of Baseball America recently called him the best hitting prospect in all the land – and while there are questions about his ultimate position, that will be nothing more than a formality if the bat lives up to the hype. The Yanks will find a spot for him, they’d have no choice.

It’s not just about pure production either. The Yankees aren’t cheap, with several contracts (Jeter and A-Rod again being the most notable) paying players premium dollars for their decline phases. The Yanks can certainly afford those contracts, but having Montero at a below market rate for six years (three pre-arbitration, three arbitration-eligible) helps offset some of the albatrosses. Those savings and surplus value give Brian Cashman the flexibility to shore up other areas of the team as needed.

Of course Montero isn’t guaranteed to hit or do anything really, which is what makes this so tricky. Lee is as close to a sure thing as there is in this game right now, prospects are just rolls of the dice. Montero is an elite offensive prospect, something the Yanks desperately need, and they’ll come out smelling like roses if he hits and they manage to sign Lee as a free agent this offseason. That’s far from a given, but considering the current construction of the Yankee roster, it’s easy to make a case that they’re better off keeping six years of Jesus Montero instead of trading him for four months of Cliff Lee.

Having Montero around is nothing more than a minor comfort as we watch Lee and Rangers compete in the World Series, but the kid has the potential to be a core piece in several future contending teams, and that’s what the Yankees are all about. Winning now, and winning every year.

Categories : Minors
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Mrs. OBP Jesus Maquinito

    “.433 wOBA over the final two-plus months of the season. He hit 15 homers in 46 games after July 10th”

    I like Jesus.

    • Big Stein

      Jesus is our savior!

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Mrs. OBP Jesus Maquinito

        Jew for Jesus here

        • Big Stein

          L’Chayim

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Montero figures to provide that. The soon-to-be 21-year-old catcher from Venezuela has already spent a full season at the Triple-A level, a time when most American kids are wrapping up their junior year of college… There’s little doubt that Montero can mash – Jim Callis of Baseball America recently called him the best hitting prospect in all the land.

    If Jesus Montero was a 21 year old defensively challenged catcher from Hillsborough, Florida, attending South Carolina on a baseball scholarship, and he had declared for the 2010 June draft, where would he have gone?

    Second behind Harper? First overall?

    Keep in mind that his stats with a metal bat against college pitching would probably be some ridonkulous, Bondsian .470/.650/.890 or something like that.

    #randomthoughts

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Mrs. OBP Jesus Maquinito

      Slightly OT but it is only just beginning to dawn on me just how good Bonds was.

      But anyway. If Jesus had been American and gone to college he would have been taken too high in the draft for the Yankees to have ever had a legitimate shot

      • Big Stein

        Bonds had such a sour relationship with the media he never got his due. The key to bonds success was his ted williams like vision.

        • All Praise Be To Mo

          Also the use of performing enhancing drugs.

    • pat

      I was thinking the same thing about Sanchez earlier today. 17 years old with prodigious power, hitting ability and the tools to be a good catcher. They’d both probably be Top 5 easily.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        If he were American/Puerto Rican, he probably never makes it to college, because he’s a top-10 pick out of high school.

        • pat

          Well yeah, that’s what I meant. Sanchize would have been taken out of HS.

    • Thomas

      I suspect Montero would have been drafted out of high school, but if he went to college, I’d say he’d go 2 behind Harper.

      Harper has Montero beat in athleticism, defense, speed, and arm. Harper’s power is probably equal to Montero’s, but Montero is probably better average wise (not sure who is better discipline wise, likely Harper). Harper is also younger and played with wood.

      So in terms of prospects, I’d say Montero would have been number 3 in this draft after Harper and of course any Red Sox draftee.

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “So in terms of prospects, I’d say Montero would have been number 3 in this draft after Harper and of course any Red Sox draftee Casey Kelly.”

        Omnipresent.

      • Jerome S

        Bryce Harper probably might have him beat in average, too.
        But they’re about three years apart in age. When they get to the majors, Harper will be the better bat.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          When they get to the majors, Harper will be the better bat.

          Maybe.

          • Riddering

            To be fair, the unnamed scouts Jerome spoke to were very confident on that point.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, that’s a pretty bold statement… You could say “I feel he projects to be a better bat.”

    • Avi

      “If Jesus Montero was a 21 year old defensively challenged catcher from Hillsborough, Florida, attending South Carolina on a baseball scholarship, and he had declared for the 2010 June draft, where would he have gone?

      Second behind Harper? First overall?”

      If Montero went into the draft after performing in the minors as he did, I think he definetly goes first overall.
      Because:
      A) He’s closer to the majors by about three years.
      B) He’s much more of a sure thing than Harper at this point. Harper has awesome talent but if he stalls in the minors he won’t be the first immensely talented guy to do so.
      Callis has also said he likes Montero’s ceiling and potential better than Harper’s
      C) Positional value. Montero actually has a chance to catch in the Majors.

      My Fellow Yankee fans: We have the BEST prospect in baseball.
      Accept it, embrace it.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Right with an aging lineup and the Lee contract going to be hefty; the Yankees won’t have a lot to get a power bat in a couple years. We can’t count on Cano for the next few years to come so Jesus is definitely needed on this team.

  • Big Stein

    Cliff Lee was really exposed last nite. Let the Rangers have him.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      He really exposed the Yankees in G3.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Yeah, CC Sabathia really got smacked around in the 2008 NLDS with the Brewers, he was really exposed. It’s a good thing the Yankees never signed him.

      Wait, what?

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Don’t forget after Pettitte’s poor performance in the 1999 WS when the Yankees traded him away, never to hear from him again.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          you mean we didn’t get rid of that motherfucker after his first World Series start? He clearly couldn’t handle it.

          • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

            Only because he had a good start after that. He got lucky. In 1999 his true colors came out.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      Yeah because one bad start means he is a bad pitcher.

      /Rolls eyes

    • gc

      Hoping this is sarcasm. The guy didn’t just all the sudden go from post-season all-time great to SUCK in one week. He had a bad game. It happens.

    • pat

      He was really exposed…. as being a human? At least now we know he’s not a T-1000 nanomorph mimetic poly-alloy assassin sent from the future to play baseball.

      • CBean

        Unless this was just part of his fiendish plot to make us all relax our gaurd…

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        He was really exposed…. as being a human?

        That’s what he wants you to think.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      lol wat

      • Jimmy McNulty

        The correct spelling is: lolwut

    • steve s

      What may have been exposed was that the effects of the cortisone shot he took in the back may be wearing off. Buyer beware on this guy

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        If only there was some way to have him not pitch from November to February to give his back time to heal, so that he could recover from the injury that caused him to need a cortisone shot.

        If only…

        • steve s

          Do you really want to spend $20MM plus on a 32 year pitcher with a bad back? Do you think it is a great inferential leap to think Lee’s performance last night was injury related rather than just an off night?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Do you think it is a great inferential leap to think Lee’s performance last night was injury related rather than just an off night?

            Yes.

        • nathan

          Aren’t back issues chronic. Have read somewhere once you have them they are there to stay.

          • Thomas

            Yeah. Often time back issues are chronic, but plenty of pitchers have had back issues and still been very successful like Randy Johnson (also I think David Wells and Clemens).

            • nathan

              Yep Thought so.

              Right, even Andy has back lockups often.

              Ofcourse if it gets locked up at the most inopportune time then it sucks. Wells’ back locked up prior to the 2003 WS start I think.

    • Thomas

      Unless you means at some point last night he was naked, then you are wrong he was not exposed.

      • toad

        In the shower?

    • JerseyDutch
    • Riddering

      Lee may have been able to fool the crappy Yankee offense but those Giants weren’t going to let Lee get away with throwing that slop!

    • Mister Delaware

      18 inches and that Cody Ross line drive might had ended all Clifflee free agency talk. That was a rocket.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Of course Montero isn’t guaranteed to hit or do anything really, which is what makes this so tricky. Lee is as close to a sure thing as there is in this game right now, prospects are just rolls of the dice

    Hitting prospects who hit for both power and average at all levels of the minors while being young for each level, though… those prospects are the most sure thing of all the non-sure-thing prospects in baseball.

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for

      Pitchers who throw 100 with movement and control?

      • theyankeewarrior

        Injury ends all of that

      • Jon in CUO

        Position player prospect > pitching prospect, if only for injury reasons.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        TINSTAAPP

        • Jon in CUO

          I like how we all had the same thought at exactly the same time, yet expressed it in three completely different grammatical formulations.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Bangwagon.

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Like the #1 overall pick who is now recovering from Tommy John surgery?

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for

          Obviously pitchers are greater injury risks all else being equal. But we have the same projectability tools for pitchers tracking through the MiL to ML as we do for position players, do we not? I would say that a pitcher who throws 100 with movement is no less projectable than a 300/400/500 type. i was thinking of projectabillity rather than “sure thing” though I acknowledge that TJSC specifically wa talking about sure things.

          But re: Strasburg specifically I think it’s a little early to say he didn’t work out no?

          • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

            Yeah, I just was more referring to the “sure thing” part, which injury throws a big wrench into. As far as what actually happens on the field (pre-injury), I think you could make a solid case that the flamethrower is more major league ready.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Oh, absolutely, a guy like Strasburg who throws 100ish with movement and command is the most major league ready of any baseball player, probably ever.

              He’s not a sure thing, though, because nobody who throws 100ish can ever be a sure thing due to the massive innate injury risk that comes with throwing a baseball 100 miles an hour.

    • Avi

      “Hitting prospects who hit for both power and average at all levels of the minors while being young for each level, though… those prospects are the most sure thing of all the non-sure-thing prospects in baseball.”

      Well said. I would add especially guys that make contact and don’t strike out a ton.
      Dallas McPherson, Brandon Wood, Joe Borchard are three examples of guys who hit for big power in the minors but also struck out a ton.

  • RL

    they’re better off keeping six years of Jesus Montero instead of trading him for four months of Cliff Lee.

    Repeated for emphasis

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Mrs. OBP Jesus Maquinito

      yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

    • Jimmy McNulty

      We really don’t know how good six years of Montero will be, if he’s Miguel Cabrera fine…it’s better. If he’s a bust…well then they’re boned.

      • RL

        It’ll take a few years to determine if he’s a bust. He’ll still have trade value and, with some luck, they can get more than a 4 month rental

        • Camilo Gerardo

          I have faith that Jesus will not bust.

      • Ted Nelson

        It’s a valid point that we don’t know… We also don’t know how good 4 months of Lee would have been. However, with the information we have available, it’s hard not to project Jesus to be a good/very good major league hitter even in a below-average case scenario. He doesn’t have to be Cabrera to be valuable.

      • toad

        Nor do we know what four months of Lee would have been worth. Easy to say he would have brought a WS win, but who knows? Postseason series’ are always iffy.

  • John

    Hypothetical question: What if you were the Yankees GM, you somewhat had Cliff Lee back in July on your roster, and Texas proposes a trade to send their prospects Montero, Adams, Nunez, McAllister, Nova, … for Lee. What would you have done in this case?

    • RL

      Entirely different situation. My team is close to the top of the division (Oh wait, so was Texas), I have the best offense in the league, since I already have Lee and the ability to pay large salaries, I can probably re-sign him, so I don’t make the trade. Instead, I find out who has Justin Smoak and trade with them.

      :-)

      • nathan

        I see what u did there

    • pat

      We’re not rebuilding and likely would have been in first place. Never would have been done. Especially not for the package the Rangers sent to Seattle.

      • John

        But do you agree that everyone who agreed with the non-trade must also agree with doing this trade since it is basically the same thing?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          No, because the people who agreed with the non-trade did so under the auspices of the Yankees being the Yankees and having a goal of winning every single World Series.

          Trading away Cliff Lee for prospects isn’t Yankee-like, because it’s intentionally lowering our chances of winning this year to gain prospects to be better for future years. That’s not analogous to choosing to not intentionally increase our chances of winning this year because it lowers our chances of winning in future years more than we’d like.

          • John

            I understand your point. My point is solely based on me being a consequentialist, thus analyzing a trade only by looking at what each team gets (in this case both the non-trade and my hypothetical trade lead to the same returns). But I understand your deontological argument ;).

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              My argument is probably more utilitarian than deontological, I’d say.

              • John

                Unless you factor in other things (response of fans and of MSM), doing a cost-benefit analysis of both the non-trade and the hypothetical trade yield the exact same results. Basing your argument on the fact that the hypothetical trade “isn’t Yankee-like” is purely deontological since you judge the “rightness” of the trade according to a set of Yankee rules rather than according to the consequences of it.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  Okay, I see where you’re going with this. Fair enough.

                • Ted Nelson

                  I don’t want to get into the philosophy stuff and am just commenting at the end of the string…

                  It’s an interesting point, but I do think it’s a bit different because of Lee’s impending free agency. That’s what tips the scale for me… If Lee is signed for 3 more years, I would be a lot more inclined to accept a Montero trade for him. Since the Yankees can go out and sign Lee this offseason, the consequence of a non-trade has the potential to be the prospects + Lee are Yankees. If they trade him away as he nears free agency, I think it’s safe to say the Yankees chances of signing Cliff Lee over the offseason go down… although I guess that’s not a fact. Would be very unconventional, though.

                  • John

                    I was assuming that every player signs with the team that offers the most money. Bearing that in mind, the chances of re-signing Lee does not go down by trading him to Texas.

                    To end the discussion, I’m not sure I would have made such a trade (sending Lee to Texas for a set of prospects that includes Montero) although I am pleased that the “real” Lee trade didn’t go down. I think the reason for what isn’t just because that “isn’t Yankee-like,” as TSJC said, but also because a GM can be much more criticized for doing a trade than for not doing a trade.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “I was assuming that every player signs with the team that offers the most money.”

                      It is legitimate, outside the box thinking… but it would just be a pretty unprecedented move I would think. At least for such a high profile guy.

                      I think the free agency angle does change the dynamics, though it’s tough or impossible to quantify.

        • pat

          Huh?

          • CP

            If you’re the Yankees, and on July 9th were given a choice to have Cliff Lee for the rest of the season (and then he becomes a FA) or that group of prospects, which would you choose?

            • pat

              If I couldn’t resign him and basically had to make a trade I’d take the Montero package (heh heh) undoubtedly.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                That.

                The only way that I deal away Lee for a Montero-lead package of prospects in this alternate universe scenario is if Kristen Lee was beaten within an inch of her life in the Yankee Wives box at YS3 by some drunken thug fans and Lee announced that in no way, shape, or form would he ever resign with the Yankees that winter.

                • Riddering

                  I love you, Tommie.

                  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    It’s hard not to, I admit it.

                    • Riddering

                      But it’s also a hard experience loving you, babe.

    • Thomas

      If I was the Mariners GM (or another rebuilding teams GM) and someone offered me the Montero package or the Smoak package for Lee, I would make the trade.

      If I was the Yankees, I would not trade away Lee (short of a team offering Hanley, Tulo, or Heyward, etc), since I was trying to win the WS and he would give my team the best opportunity to do so.

      • Jerome S

        I wouldn’t trade Lee even if someone offered Hanley, Tulo or Heyward. Well, maybe Heyward as part of a big package. But I do mean a big package!

      • Ted Nelson

        Heyward’s successful rookie season gives him the edge, but through AAA I would say Montero projects to be about as good a hitter as Heyward long-term.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    With Posada having 1 more year to go, they can still afford to be patient with Montero. I’m sure he’ll get every opportunity in ST to make the team. But the better bet is that he starts the season back in Scranton to continue to refine his game, especially defensively and assuming no injuries, he would come up in late May or early June.

    • CP

      What would he really refine in his game with 2 months at AAA that he couldn’t just as easily do with those 2 months in the majors?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        He’d refine the “not becoming a free agent until after 2017″ part of his game.

        • CP

          You only have to keep him down for 10 or so days at some point in the next 6 years to achieve the same goal – it doesn’t have to be right at the start of the season. And the super-2 arbitration probably isn’t as big a concern because that may change in the next CBA, and won’t save as much for the Yankees as delaying FA would.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            You only have to keep him down for 10 or so days at some point in the next 6 years to achieve the same goal.

            Really? Then why do all these small-market teams constantly push back their prospects’ debuts until May, if 10 mere days will accomplish the same goal?

            • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

              I thought pushing them back to May/June was to delay Super-Two status.

              • CP

                Right. The cutoff is typically in the last week of May.

                As for free agency, the rule (per Wikipedia) is:

                Service time, for purposes of salary arbitration and free agency, is 172 days; a season is 182 days long.

                So that means a player needs to be down for at least 11 days to not accrue a full season of service time.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  Gotcha.

                  Even still, having Montero’s arb clock start in 2015 instead of 2014 will save the team probably 10-20M in salary when we negotiate a Cano/Pedroia style contract extension buying out the end of his team control and the first few years of his free agency, I’d warrant.

                • Tom O

                  He could still be a super 2 at that point though. Super 2 status is calculated by playing time compared to the rest of the league. Even if he didn’t play a full season, a Super 2 is a player who played an amount of games above a certain percentile of players in the league, at his position. Unfortunately I don’t recall the percentage, but generally that is why teams keep players a bit more than just the minimum to not accrue a a full season, they’re trying to ensure that the player will not fall into that top percentile. They could always send them down for a week or so late in the season, if it seems apparent that they might be a Super-2 qualifier, but most teams would rather do it right at the beginning of the season and not have to deal with it at all later.

          • Ted Nelson

            If he comes up and starts raking, when are you going to send him back down? I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s a possibility.

            Also, some would argue that catching in real live games is better experience than the games Posada doesn’t catch and practice work. Some would argue he’s not ready to catch in the majors even a little bit, and even a full season in AAA would help him accomplish that. I don’t know what the right answer is, I’m just saying that it’s not the obviously right move to start him in the Bronx. There are arguments either way.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    I think it’s stupid to evaluate this one way or another. As TJSC pointed out to me, and I pointed out to him, we don’t know where Cliff Lee goes. If Lee brings the Rangers a WS, I don’t think anyone can honestly say that they think he’ll leave. which isn’t to say that he won’t leave if he does win a WS. Fact is, if the Yankees don’t sign Cliff Lee they’ll have serious rotation issues. Pettitte’s getting older, and while it’s hard to imagine Burnett being worse than the was this year it isn’t out of the question…he’s on the wrong side of 30 and showed a dip in stuff, particularly with his curve ball, last year. That leaves the Yankees with some unfavorable options, and they may end up trading Montero for Greinke. Which, IMO, is a loss anyway you look at it. Trading Montero for a worse pitcher, and getting bounced in the playoffs.

    • nsalem

      I’m quite certain Cliff Lee will be a Yankee very shortly no matter
      what Texas does in the WS. Win, Lose or Earthquake.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
      • CP

        Both Pedro and Lowe left Boston as FAs right after being WS heroes. Obviously, their not exactly the same, but winning a WS does not guarantee that a star player stays.

        • Thomas

          The major difference is Boston thought both of those players were finished and they didn’t want them back badly. The Yankees would want Lee.

          • CP

            Boston wanted Pedro back (not sure about Lowe), but were only willing to offer a 3 year deal. The Mets gave him a 4 year deal, so he went there.

            I could see a similar scenario with Lee.

            • Thomas

              Sorry, let me clarify. The Red Sox wanted Pedro and Lowe back, but at their price not the player’s price/market value. The Yankees are more willing to pay what he wants (ie pay him the most).

              • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                The Yankees are more willing to pay what he wants (ie pay him the most).

                But we really have no idea what the Rangers are willing to pay him, which is the gigantic mistake in assuming he’s coming to the Yankees.

              • CP

                My point was that if Lee wins a WS, it’s not a guarantee that he stays in Texas – just like winning the WS was not a guarantee that Pedro and Lowe would stay in Boston.

                The Red Sox made them offers that were less than the what the Mets/Dodgers offered, so they left.

                I expect that Texas will offer Lee less than the Yankees will offer. I don’t know if Lee will leave for the better offer, but it’s certainly reasonable to expect that he will.

                • Thomas

                  Agreed. I think I misinterpreted your point.

  • ChrisS

    I’m a big fan of the non-Lee-Montero trade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

    Sorry Joe, I liked this article a lot better.

  • Scout

    “[W}hile there are questions about his ultimate position, that will be nothing more than a formality if the bat lives up to the hype.” It is more complicated and challenging than that.

    If Montero ends up as a DH, he blocks that spot for an aging A-Rod, who is unlikely to remain at third for more than a couple of years without becoming a defensive liability. First base is also occupied. As a lumbering type, Montero might convert to the outfield, but he’ll likely be a defensive liability, hardly fitting the “more athletic” mode Cashman espouses.

    So the real hope lies in his ability to be a serviceable major league catcher. On this point there remain serious questions across baseball. We have to hope that the Yankees’ public position — that Montero will stick at catcher and become an average receiver — proves correct. Because the other alternatives are not pretty, and he’ll have to carry something like a HOF bat to offset the defensive problems.

    (The situation again highlights just how awful the A-Rod contract is for the long-term success of the team.)

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Mrs. OBP Jesus Maquinito

      By the time A-Rod’s a full time DH, Montero may be giving the Yankees more production. So do you keep DHing A-Rod then and leave your star on the bench? I sure hope not.

      (keep in mind that this scenario may very well not develop, I’m not that delusional)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        What probably happens is you keep DHing Montero and keep running old-ass ARod out to 3B and cross your fingers that disaster doesn’t strike.

        Or maybe you move him to LF and live with Johnny Damon, Pt. Deux.

        • Jerome S

          A-Rod still plays a pretty killer 3B for a 35 year old (being the son of Zeus that he is). He’d probably be pretty successful playing the corner OF spots.

          • JohnnyC

            A-Rod doesn’t track balls in the air very well. He still wobbles under pop ups at 3rd Base. It’s DH or nothing when his range and arm at the hot corner is worn down to a nub.

            • Camilo Gerardo

              I think Alex will be athletic enough to be 3B for the duration as well

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I can’t wait for 27 years from now, when Yankee all-time great Jesus Montero is elected into the Casey Kelly Memorial National Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot and is inducted into Cooperstown by Senator Nicholas Swisher (NY-TRI2DH), and plucky young 18 year old blogger Vanessa Axisa writes an excellent post entitled “Dodging A Bullet: A look back on how the Yankees almost traded away ‘Mr. 875′ for a pitcher they signed the following winter” on http://www.riveravetheocho.rab.

    (I can only assume that by that point, Mike, Ben, and Joe have used the unprecedented wealth generated by the biggest blog in the history of time to buy the entire internet, including all of the new subdermally implanted telekenetic domain protocols.)

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for

      I bow. No. Kneel. I kneel before Zod.

      Best. Post. Ever.

    • Big Stein

      Only way Montero gets in the Hall is if he signs with Boston where Millar and Varitek can make a hitter out of him.

    • CBean

      Later Nick Swisher becomes President?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I foresee him getting fed up with the bickering Congress and retiring from public service to found the Swisher Global Initiative that eradicates homelessness and poverty in 10 years.

        He’ll be replaced in the Senate by Curtis Granderson, who also wins on the TRI2DH party line.

        • Jon in CUO

          I’m looking forward to President Swisher pointing, waving, and saluting to the Public Gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives during his State of the Union addresses.

          • Thomas

            Nick Swisher was born in 1980 in Columbus, Ohio. Thus, he is ineligible to be the US President.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              You can’t argue with the facts, Jon. He’s right.

        • CBean

          Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter

        • Jerome S

          So we can look forward to a Governor Gardner?

    • Anthony Murillo

      Yeah…I love you.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I get that a lot.

    • nsalem

      Hope he is a better senator than some certain “perfect” former
      mlb pitchers.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        What, you mean it’s not cool to publicly talk about sitting Supreme Court Justices possibly dying of pancreatic cancer?

        Since when?

        • Thomas

          Just because it was on last night:

          Jerry: And what’s with people getting sick?
          Jerry: I mean, what’s the deal with cancer?
          Man in audience: I have cancer!
          Kramer: Oh, tough crowd.

        • nsalem

          He’ll be gone in January and Ruth is still with us. His successor may be another horror show. Kentucky IS next to Ohio.
          Maybe Nick can be more like New York Knickerbocker #24.

  • larryf

    Seeing the ropes this guy hit at Scranton as well as his plate discipline-it was just so impressive. He caught well too. Jesus is good at baseball-and he has nice parents too!

  • Jon in CUO

    Jesus Montero hit on my girlfriend at a minor league game. Cliff Lee…well, we all know about Kristen Lee, don’t we?

    Case closed. The Cliff Lee Non-Trade rules.

    • nsalem

      and so did Kei Igawa.

  • larryf

    Montero faster than any catcher…

    named Molina

  • mryankee

    I actually am happy that Montero is still around, Lee is a must unless you can trade for Greinke or someone of that ilk. Also someone please comfort me and tell me Bucholz is not better than Hughes, because Hughes really choked the second half.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Hughes is still two years younger than Buchholz, and is pitching in uncharted territory for him. That’s the reason he faded.

      • UncleArgyle

        Hughes is younger, but I doubt in two years he’ll develope the secondary pitches of ButtHolz. Although I think Hughes has an edge in the “mental” aspect of the game.

      • mryankee

        Thank you it was very upsetting watching Hughes struggle and Bucholz thrive. I really hated it a lot. To be on topic I gotta say long term keeping Montero might be good fortune. I have to believe that a lineup with Tex,Arod,Cano,Montero has to be productive.

        • Anthony Murillo

          Bucholz is one of the FIVE ACES, Hughes has no shot of being better. No Yankee pitcher does. We’re doomed.

          • Xstar7

            Over/Under: 0.5 rookie of the year awards for Jesus next year

            • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

              I’ll take three.

    • Johnny O

      Not sure the Hughes/Buchholz comparison is relevant? I’m comforted by the fact that the Yanks made the ALCS and the Sawx missed the playoffs. And I’m comforted that we still have Jesus Montero (keeping this comment on-topic).

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It’s mryankee. Welcome to the ride.

        • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

          Whoa, we’re just waiting in line for the ride. The actual ride is batshit insane trade proposals and random criticisms of the Yankees FO (on prospect profile threads.)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Montero for Verlander AND Grady Sizemore.

            Make it happen, Cashman.

      • UncleArgyle

        I live in New England, its like Christmas for Sox fans now that the Yankees are out of it. It’s pretty pathetic. Sorta like a Paraplegic making fun of someone for spraining their ankle.

        • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

          I live in New England, its like Christmas for Sox fans now that the Yankees are out of it. It’s pretty pathetic. Sorta like a Paraplegic making fun of someone for spraining their ankle.

          FTFY

          • UncleArgyle

            I don’t blame you for that attitude. The Education quality drops pretty dramitically once you drop below Connecticut. Its cool, we actually enjoy doing the Mental Heaving lifting for everyone up here :)

            • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

              It’s true, the education quality is pretty bad on Long Island and in the Atlantic Ocean.

              • UncleArgyle

                I was really just joking. Well, not about the “education is better up here and we run shit” part, but about anything personally offensive. That part was tounge in cheek. And by “below connecticut” I guess I should have been more clear and said something like “the rest of the country”, for reasons I’ve stated above….

                • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                  I’m not offended at all. I wouldn’t trade my education at Atlantis U for anything.

                  • UncleArgyle

                    I don’t blame you. I heard their Ultimate Frisbee Team was the shit too.

              • Captain Bawls
            • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

              Also, this comment might win “Most Ironic Comment of the Year” award.

            • the other Steve S.

              I love it when people refer to other people being stupid and misspell dramitically.

              • UncleArgyle

                lol yeah oops. this wesbite needs spell check.

                • Rob NY

                  Or you could stop worrying about other people’s spelling. That would probably be less dramitic though.

        • Mister Delaware

          Are you well outside of Boston? I’ve noticed that the further I get from Boston proper the bigger dicks Sox fans tend to be. Like they’re trying to show off their Boston-ness. I wear a Yanks hat 50% of the time I leave the house to almost no negativity.

          • UncleArgyle

            Yeah, I’m pretty far from Boston.

            • Mister Delaware

              I’d love to do a thesis on this.

              • UncleArgyle

                It’d be intresting.

          • JerseyDutch

            I think that’s true. Of all my friends that are Sox fans — yes, I have a few — the biggest tools are one that lives in New Hampshire and one in Ohio (or maybe in his case he’s a tool because he lives in Ohio, dunno.) The ones I know that live in the Boston area aren’t too bad.

  • Dave the Ox

    Not sure if this has been discussed ad nauseam but what about turning Jesus into a position player other than first base. To wit: he’s defensively challenged at catcher; does it necessarily follow that he’d be defensively challenged at every other position?

    • Thomas

      He is not fast or athletic enough to play other positions, which is why the common thought was first base if he can’t stick at catcher. There is a possibility he plays corner OF, but his range would likely be very poor since he is slow.

      • JohnnyC

        He’d have to play left field like Greg Luzinski used to: facing in the direction the coaches tell him the batter is liekly to hit the ball in order to somewhat make up for his ponderous lack of speed.

        • Dave the Ox

          Christ. Forget that.

          /no pun intended/d

    • Mister Delaware

      I think Vlad last night was a nice reminder of how moving up the spectrum (or onto the spectrum) is much easier said than done.

  • Kevin Ocala, Fl

    In five years Cliff Lee will be in his dotage. In five years Montero will be a 3-4 time All Star and people will be talking about HOF. Seriously.