Nov
02

What happens if the Yankees trade Montero?

By

(Kathy Willens/AP)

During the three and a half years of RAB’s existence we’ve gotten excited about a number of prospects. At our inception it was Phil Hughes, and it quickly turned to Joba Chamberlain (and even Ian Kennedy). The latest in the prospect craze is Jesus Montero. He is considered by many talent evaluators, including Baseball America’s Jim Callis, to be the game’s best hitting prospect. The only question is of whether he can catch in the bigs.

At the end of the regular season I answered a mailbag question about the Yankees catching situation in 2011. Ideally they’d carry Montero, Jorge Posada, and Francisco Cervelli. That would allow Montero and Posada to rotate between catcher and DH, with Cervelli serving as a true backup (i.e., plays once a week). But we know that ideal situations don’t often come to fruition. Plenty stands in the way of the Yankees and their heavy hitting catcher rotation.

Reader Mike writes in with an interesting question about the situation:

Isn’t 2011 the make or break year to use Montero? I mean lets say the Yankees want to go with Posada/Cervelli at C and someone else DHing that means Montero will end up in AAA again. But won’t that block Austin Romine‘s development? Isn’t Romine due for a promotion to AAA, and you can’t have both those guys on the same level considering both need to be playing everyday in the minors.

I’m not sure it’s a make it or break it year, but it certainly will mean something for Montero’s development. There’s a decent chance that Montero breaks camp with the team and plays the role described above. Yet there’s still a good chance that he opens the season back in Scranton. That means Romine starts in Trenton again, since, as Mike mentions, both players at this point need to catch full time. Romine could then move up to AAA once the Yankees are ready to promote Montero. Splitting the season between AA and AAA might be a good thing for Romine, who still has plenty of development ahead of him.

That might not seem interesting; it actually sounds pretty normal. What’s interesting is the question I asked myself after reading Mike’s question: What happens if they trade Montero? He might be the team’s best hitting prospect since Nick Johnson, but he’s not untouchable. As the Yankees rebuild the pitching staff this winter they might find that Montero helps them more as trade bait. We can all make a list of what players the Yankees should target if they trade Montero, but what I want to know is what the team plans to do at catcher in that scenario.

Going with Posada and Cervelli again is a poor idea. Posada started just 78 games at catcher, 10 fewer than in 2009. The Yankees simply cannot count on him to provide much production behind the plate. I doubt they sign a DH this off-season, in fact, because Posada will have to fill that spot often. That leaves Cervelli as the starting catcher, a role for which he is not suited. As a once-a-week back-up he’s more than adequate. Even if he has to spot start while the starter goes on the DL, you could do a lot worse. But if he’s the only one who can take on full-time catching duties, the Yankees should look elsewhere for a better alternative.

On the free agent market there aren’t many upgrades. Victor Martinez is the best of the lot, but there are a number of points against him: 1) He’ll cost a draft pick, 2) He’ll be 32 next year, 3) He has defensive issues, 4) He’ll almost certainly be overpaid by a catching-starved team. There are a couple of free agent catchers, John Buck and Miguel Olivo (should his option be declined), who can hit for power, but that’s the only dimension to their games. Perhaps the Yankees could look to one of these guys as a one-year stopgap, but I’m not sure that they present that large an upgrade over Cervelli.*

While Olivo had 3.2 WAR and Buck 2.9, they did it with over 100 more PA — and there’s no guarantee that they can repeat that in 2011. At the same time, I expect Cervelli’s defense to improve, since most of it consisted of mental lapses, which is a correctable issue.

Another option is to work a trade. This would likely be for a player coming off a down year, such as Mike Napoli, or a 2012 free agent. Again there aren’t many attractive names there, though Ryan Doumit does stand out a bit. The Pirates recently acquired Chris Snyder, who will likely start behind the plate for them in 2011. That means the Pirates can trade Doumit, who is one of their better bargaining chips. The only issue is that he is also not a great defensive catcher. Neither is Napoli. But, since Montero isn’t, either, I’m not sure the Yankees would be losing out in this aspect.

There will be temptation this winter, particularly if Cliff Lee signs elsewhere, to trade Montero in order to upgrade the pitching staff. But doing so would leave the Yankees in a bind of sorts. The available veteran catchers are not world beaters; Montero could potentially outhit them all next year. He might not stick at catcher in the majors, but he’ll hit anywhere, even if it’s DH. After looking at the alternatives, I think it’s better to hold Montero and try to use other pieces, or just cash, to upgrade the pitching staff.

Categories : Players
  • CP

    He might be the team’s best hitting prospect since Nick Johnson, but he’s not untouchable.

    I just went and looked at Johnson’s minor league numbers. As a 20 year old he hit .345/.525/.548/1.073 in AA (581 PA). If only he had been able to stay healthy….

    • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

      From 1996-1999 (age 17-20), he hit a collective .308/.460/.494/.953. In addition to that awesome slash line at AA as a 20 year old, he walked 123 times (and was hit by a pitch 37 more times).

  • Justin

    What happens is we do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeuUjUVVK2A

    (If you can’t watch, it’s the soul song “Cry Together.”

    • Justin

      Ha, it’s a soul song, so it’s a love song. But you understand the point I’m making.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Very good article. I would only trade Montero for a young #1 type starter, and there are very few, if any of those available. Zach Grienke is not the answer. With his fragile eog, the NY media and fans would eat him alive. Don’t see any others available, so I think Montero is staying.

    • Mister Delaware

      Social anxiety and depression “fragile ego”

    • KDB

      I agree. The Royals have catching prospects, they don’t need Montero. If the yanks trade him, he has to go to a team in need of
      a catcher. Also, the Yanks don’t need to do anything to him until
      Swisher’s contract is up. Defesive liabilities often wind up in right field. The bat is the thing.

  • The Three Amigos

    There is a good chance Montero starts at AAA and Romine at AA anyway. Montero could use a little more instruction and after Romine’s terrible 2nd half it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him to get a little more experience at AA.

    Can Montero really be as bad as he is made out behind the plate? Jorge was pretty awful there last year, is Montero that bad at 21? I can’t believe that. He only has to fake it for 6 years before a move to first happens.

    • Jobu

      I read 6 years and had to go check it on Cot’s. You are correct, but what really hit me is that in 2016 both Mark Teixeira and Arod will be on the Yankees. That could be a very sad year to watch.

      • Justin

        You mean like when we still had Giambi and Mussina? Had a few things broken differently, 2008 wouldn’t have been so bad.

        The contracts won’t sink us unless we execute poorly over the next few years.

    • Tampa Yankee

      There is a good chance Montero starts at AAA and Romine at AA anyway. Montero could use a little more instruction and after Romine’s terrible 2nd half it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him to get a little more experience at AA.

      This is my take on it. Keeping Montero down for a couple months also delays his arb clock as well. Once Montero is called up, if Romine is doing well, move him up to AAA. I’m sure a Moeller-type catcher could be signed and stashed at AAA as the back-up/spot starter too.

      • murakami

        Right.

        Unless he just blows them away so much that they must bring him north, this is logical to me, too.

        Trading Montero is what Cashman nearly did, but the hand of God – or Jack Z’s stupidity, one – saved him from what saved us all from having to watch him punish AL pitching for the next six years, including ours.

        This blog entry says Montero is not untouchable. Obviously, Cashman agrees, or he would not have made him available for a few months of 32-year old Cliff Lee.

        That’s not to say he shouldn’t be untouchable, because he virtually should be. Montero and Cano will be the anchors of the lineup for the next half decade. You don’t trade young, up the middle position players with the upside and slug these guys possess, especially when you can’t cry about a bare cupboard of young pitching in your system.

        The Lee trade would have been a terrible, terrible move. Cashman should be thanking Jack Z.

        • CP

          Unless he just blows them away so much that they must bring him north, this is logical to me, too.

          Isn’t that what he did in the second half this year?

          Also, isn’t the coaching he’ll get from Pena in the majors as good as what he’ll get in AAA?

          • murakami

            I’m with you. I think he can be mentored up here without disgracing the franchise and pissing off the starters, while we take advantage of The Bat.

    • Short Accurate Answers

      Can Montero really be as bad as he is made out behind the plate?

      Yes.

      Jorge was pretty awful there last year, is Montero that bad at 21?

      Yes. Possibly worse.

      I can’t believe that.

      Inconsequential.

      • murakami

        Posada was bad this year, but he was also injured and out of the lineup a good deal. That’s what age does, although other than some loss of slug (probably shoulder related), he can still hit fine. I don’t see why he can’t catch 70-80 games, which will keep his bat even fresher.

        Montero has improved behind the plate. I saw him catch six times, over a spread out period of time, and he seemed a lot more comfortable behind the plate. He can split the time with Posada, and whoever else is back there as a stopgap.

    • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

      NOTE: I just chose to jump in here – but am following The Three Amigos lead…

      Gee isn’t there a key NYY mgt. type who was a catcher? are you telling me Giradi can’t step outside his office & give Montero – THE NUMBER 1 NYY PROSPECT some one on one to improve his defense? what is Montero doing right now? Playing video games & drinking rum punch?

      • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

        Probably recovering from his infection.

        • Mister Delaware

          By soaking it in rum punch???

          • batman

            i love rum punch

    • Chris

      Pena and Posada would be a great influence on Montero. I think they should let him start with the big club. Who knows. He may be Swishers replacement in another year once Romine is ready.

  • mike c

    if we don’t get lee, we definitely should look into trading jesus for a great SP. we’re going to be backlogged at DH with arod in a couple years, so the kid might not have a position to play where he can succeed at on this team

    • Jobu

      Unless he can actually play catcher.

      • mike c

        right but in that case, the hole at SP would be more of an issue to fill than the hole at C

    • Fair Weather Freddy

      Question is, what great starting pitcher is available? Forget Grienke. He won’t be able to handle NY with his fragile ego.

  • Tony_in_SI

    Like the Hugh question, not sure I would trade him for anything the other teams would do. What do you think?

  • Crosetti32

    I wouldn’t want to see the Yanks trade Montero…I think his bat is too valuable to trade away, especially with many Yankees hitters (jeter, posada, a-rod) getting long in the tooth.

    If Montero cannot catch in the big leagues, why not groom him for the outfield, with an eye on Romine to take over. In the meantime, get veteran catcher as a stop gap

    • Jobu

      There is the possibility that he could be a horrific, Dunnesk abomination in the outfield. That could be a reason not to groom him for the outfield.

    • a plethora of pinatas

      Let’s groom him to be Jeter’s replacement at SS.

      • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

        How about grooming him to replace Rivera? Mo can teach him the cutter on the side. Plus he can channel Babe Ruth by dominating at the plate and on the mound.

        • a plethora of pinatas

          No. SS is a more valuable position. Montero is only 20, he can still learn to be more agile and quicker. He can easily lose 30 lbs and 4 inches to be more of a prototypical SS.

          • murakami

            Umm….hahahaha.

            Umm…NM.

          • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

            I would like to see how Jesus would lose 4 inches. I assume it would be a part of Saw 4D, to be released before Halloween 2011.

            We are still joking about all this, right? God I hope so.

          • dkla

            bring in larry bowa to needle and goad montero into a skinny husk of a man. once he’s 5′ 10″ and 160 lbs, it’s as simple as

            jesus to short
            jeter to left
            gardner to center
            granderson to right
            swisher to the 8th
            joba to catch

            /shoots self

            • Corporate Scum (formerly Joe West’s Music Career)

              Nick Swisher’s career ERA is a sparkling 0.00.

              Just Sayin.

    • murakami

      I agree with the rest of your post, but I just want to assure you that Montero is not a candidate for the OF.

      He could at best, fake playing right field, but he really doesn’t have the foot speed, like, at ALL, to play OF.

      He’s much less dangerous behind the plate, and really reports of his suckiness, as far as I’m concerned have been greatly exaggerated, along with a sort of wide-eyed naivete that over rates “catcher defense and pitch calling.”

      He’s got Pena, Posada & Girardi to work with him, plus Wynegar during ST. If he is god awful, they will adjust, but I don’t think he will be. We “survived” with Posada all these years. The whole issue is just overblown, over rated.

      • http://theblogthatruthbuilt.com Craig

        And seriously, why does everyone act as if having a near full-time DH is like having Precious as your girlfriend? Let him mash at DH – the runs he creates, after all, would count the same. I understand that guys like A-Rod and Jeter will need extra rest moving forward, but honestly, in 2-3 years those two will be getting full games off instead of DH duty.

  • larryf

    rookie catcher wins a world series 2 years in a row! He is not that bad defensively. His arm is as good as what we have had and he will improve.

    • murakami

      I’m guessing you’ve seen him for yourself, too.

      I think people who have not, and who have relied on derivatives on this subject, will be pleansantly surprised when they don’t see a baboon with two left feet back there. He’s more athletic than given credit for, too.

      The thing is dead for me, until either the Yankees declare they don’t believe he can catch, or they trade him – in which case, it’s dead any way. :D

      • larryf

        I’ve seen him several times and his defense is fine in my opinion. As good as we have already.

  • UncleArgyle

    If they trade Montero, it better be for somebody really, really, good and in his mid 20′s

    • http://theblogthatruthbuilt.com Craig

      If Hanley Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Justin Upton or Miguel Cabrera came to the Bronx in exchange for Montero I wouldn’t break anything in my house.

      • http://theblogthatruthbuilt.com Craig

        I’ll add Troy Tulowitzki to that list. So sick.

  • http://twitter.com/simmonsclass Sam

    “What happens if the Yankees trade Montero?”-http://youtu.be/DMSHvgaUWc8

    Seriously, it’ll just end up with another year of Posada/Cervelli with Cervelli getting more PT. Romine probably starts the year in AAA if Montero is gone so they’ll push to have him start in 2012. Sets everything back a year but it really depends on the haul you get back for Montero and if it includes a catcher.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    What happens What happens if the Yankees trade Montero? They’ll get Zack Greinke.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      IF Zack Greinke wants to come to the Yankees. It is, after all, up to him.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        My point was if they trade Montero, that’s the guy it’d be for. That or someone else of that caliber.

      • dc1874

        make a deal with greinke…pitch one day..the other three days lock him in soundproof room w/no contact of outside world..

  • nsalem

    If we trade Montero for a top notch starting pitcher, I hope it works out better than
    when we traded Johnson for a top notch starting pitcher. Think careful
    Brian.

  • the other Steve S.

    Geez, I hope we don’t trade him. Anybody remember Tom Dodd or Dale Murray? We got them for Fred McGriff.

    • Yank the Frank

      I remember Dale Murrey. He pitched a lot like Arthur Murray.

      • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

        Yeah because he was dancing out of the way of those balls banged back at him…

        * I love how I type like sh*t – I know it’s GiraRdi-sigh

  • larryf

    I really hope we don’t trade him. It is the perfect spot for him. Veteran players everywhere and great catching mentors to learn from and he can bat down in the lineup until he really heats up and then slowly move up as Jeter moves down…

  • JT

    Besides Zack Greinke,

    Who are the other SP’ers on the trade market ?

    • Jimmy McNulty

      AJ Burnett.

      • Jobu

        Kenny Williams is that you?

  • felixE

    Perhaps a more apt title “Why the Yankees Won’t Trade Montero”

  • MikeD

    This is a critical area for the Yankees now for the reasons outlined. I’ve tried not to get too “attached” to the idea of Jesus Montero being on the Yankees because I’m not sure there’s the right fit. The Yankees tried moving him to get Halladay. They tried moving him to get Lee. Quality names for sure, but it also says he not an untouchable, and considering the Yankees need a catcher real soon, then it strongly implies they may not believe Montero will ever be ready to step in and catch on the MLB level.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Montero catching for the Yankees in 2011, but it won’t be Jesus, it might be Miguel. Kevin Towers just arrived in Arizona, he knows the Yankee farm system and the Yankee needs, and Miguel Montero is now arbitration eligible, so he’s going to be more expensive. Arizona would be open to moving him and I’m sure would value some of the Yankees young arms. He’s a lefty who could easily hit 20+ HRs at Yankee Stadium with a .350 OBP, if healthy.

    Just one option.

  • bottom line

    Montero is best hitting prospect since Nick Johnson? That’s probably selling him short.

    I would argue that with one possible exception, Zeus Motero is the Yankees’ best power hitting prospect since the Mick himself. Montero has 40 HR potential. In the last 60 years, who have the Yankees produced with such power? I can think only of Jay Buhner. (And Buhner did not have the around hitting skills).

    Yes, Johnson was a first-class hitting prospect. But he did not offer the promise of Montero’s power. This kid should not be traded.

    • larryf

      This. And he will be inexpensive for quite a while which is more than we can say about our infield.

    • Justin

      I’d say a certain HOF SS would have to be the best since Mickey. (40 hr potential is great, but 3,000+ hits nearly achieved has, well, already been done).

      But he’s the best since then.

    • CP

      Johnson had better OBP skills than Jesus, but Jesus has better power.

    • Thomas

      Yeah, but Montero did not have Johnson plate discipline. Also, Soriano had 40 HR power. As a prospect, Ruben Rivera had 40 HR power, he may have sucked in the majors but he had similar offensive power potential.

      • murakami

        No, no, nothing like Soriano. This guy’s a born hitter. He doesn’t flail away on offspeed pitches all day and run into HRs. He doesn’t have a big hacking swing. Different altogether and hits to all fields.

    • murakami

      His opposite field power is just unreal.

      If they trade him, I’m selling my house and moving to Vermont.

      • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

        Can I get your season tickets before you return them?

        • murakami

          Er, sorry, they’re right over the plate. I’ll keep them and come back when the Killer Bs era commences.

          BTW, Dude, it’s not exactly hard to buy a season ticket plan. Granted, they’ll shove you way down one of the lines, but…

  • CountryClub

    I’m not saying I agree with it, but I’d be surprised if he isn’t traded this winter. This is all specualtion on my part, but I get the feeling that the Yanks love his bat (of course) but just don’t see a way to get it in the lineup. They probably don’t see him as a catcher and they can’t plop him at DH since they need that spot for Posada, Arod, etc… If they can make him the centerpiece of a deal for a young starter or a young stud OFer, I think he’s gone.

    • Mike HC

      There is no doubt that if the deal is right, he is tradeable. But you have to remember that he will only be 21 next season. This team will look very different in 5 years when Jesus will still only be 26. There is no rush to have an obvious spot for him. Let him ease into the lineup and see how things shake out 3-5 years down the line before making any definitive statements that he won’t have a spot. Shit happens that you can’t predict.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Hold on to him. He’s going to bring value of some kind regardless of what position he plays and at this point, Romine’s development should have minimal impact on Montero’s. It seems as if Romine could use a little more time in Trenton and Montero could use some more time in SWB. I agree with Joe: keep Jesus and use other pieces/cash to upgrade pitching if it comes to that.

    • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

      I agree on all fronts except for Montero definitely needing more time in SWB. Financially NYY might not see a good deal for another catcher or a veteran bat that would be good enough to DH frequently or spell A-Rod at third/play other positions if necessary.

      If that’s the case, Montero right now is the best in-house offensive option to see time at both C and DH, even in spite of his game still requiring some polish. Since he could hit 8th or 9th in the lineup, and wouldn’t be pressed into needing to catch right away, why not let him break in from early April on?

    • pat

      Romine’s development should have minimal impact on Montero’s

      True that. Romine could use plenty of time in Trenton next year. It has become apparent that his d could use a lot more work than we previously thought, and he had a pretty abysmal second half with the stick. Frankly I’m surprised he’s even playing in the AzFl right now considering a lot of his problems last year can most likely be attributed to being tired. Part of me thinks the Yanks might actually be trying to build his trade value back up a little by letting him mash in the thin zona air for a few weeks before shutting him down.

  • Nolan

    The Yankees have plenty of DHs so Montero’s value to us is much lower if he can’t catch. In 2011, Posada is going to DH around 50% of the games (or at least he should if the yanks want him to stay healthy all year). If Montero’s defense is about equal to posada than plug him in and let him and Posada DH and Catch. That’s the best solution as you have average defense and above average offense at catcher and DH for 100% of the games.
    If Montero can’t catch it’s probably not worth it because you can’t play Montero at catcher…meaning you have Posada and Montero splitting time at DH (above average offense) but you have a below average catcher (Cervelli) on both offense AND defense playing 50% of your games.
    Plus you have the AROD problem. Arod’s past season would suggest that the man is not as healthy as he once was and that putting him at DH more in 2011 (and beyond) is the best way to keep him healthy and producing offensively. As the years go on we’re better off moving Arod to DH (maximizing his health and productivity) and moving Jeter to 3b (where is lack of range is not as big a deal).
    This is a really long way of trying to explain that Montero at DH blocks Posada from DH in 2011 and Arod from moving to DH in 2012 and beyond.
    If Montero can’t be an everyday catcher we should move him for an above average starting pitcher or shortstop because that’s where the yankees are weakest. And we should find a catcher through free agency that is an upgrade over Cervelli until Romine is ready to take catch in the majors.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      I disagree that Montero’s value is drastically lower as a non-catcher. Even if he plays DH, the fact that he’s cost controlled is what helps him. If all goes well (obviously no guarantee of this), he can probably produce around the league average DH for a fraction of the cost.

      Montero’s value comes not only from his bat and (possibly) his position, but the fact that he’s young and cheap.

    • Mike HC

      I also don’t think the answer is shifting Jeter from SS to anywhere. He should either be the Yanks shortstop, or the old timers game shortstop. Putting him anywhere in between is not going to be good for anybody. I still like him at short for another 3-4 years even, so I’m not putting him in the grave yet. I just don’t like the idea of shifting around the old guard just to find spots for them. Either they can produce up to standards or they can’t be on the team.

      And Montero is going to hopefully be one of those beast hitters that don’t even need a position. Catcher, first, outfield, DH, whatever, who cares. Just get him in the lineup. Hopefully.

      • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

        If Jeter isn’t playing shortstop he gives no value to the team at all. Well that’s if he’s playing at 2010 levels.

    • Camilo Gerardo

      jeter only has less than optimal range up the middle because he doesn’t get good jumps I thought. That won’t really translate to the hot corner

  • Adam

    What will happen? RAB will implode, taking the universe with it…

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Yeah, since the Rangers lost the Series there’s no excuse to not go all out for Cliff Lee and there’s no excuse not to sign him. Trade Montero only if an elite SS becomes available, Cliff Lee should be enough to fix the rotation for a few years. After that hope that one of the Killer Bs becomes serviceable.

    • Jay

      Unless of course, you know, Cliff Lee turns them down…

  • tomaconda

    If the Yankees are going to go out and get a catcher I think it should be defense first bat second. I’ve said it before I think Gerald Laird would be a great aquisition. He plays great D has a great arm and has shown that he has the ability to his in the past. Maybe KLong can help him out but even if he can’t he will still be an upgrade over Cervelli.

  • tomaconda

    If I were going to trade Montero the list would be pretty short and I dont think any of the other teams make the trade. Hernandez, Wainwright, Verlander, Weaver, Jiminez, Lincecum, Hamels maybe, Price, Lester Kershaw. Can’t see any of these guys coming back in a deal.

    • http://theblogthatruthbuilt.com Craig

      You can cross Lester and Price off that list immediately. No way we would want to see him terrorizing us 19+ times a year. On a talent level you are absolutely right though…give or take a guy or two.

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

    Unless you can package him into a deal for a certain 24 year Venezuelan starting pitcher…then keep Montero. There aren’t any elite free agent bats out there either.

  • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

    It’s almost like I was crazy to want Chris Snyder at the deadline as insurance for a 40 year old catcher and a 20 year old catcher who may or may not be here next year.

    • AndrewYF

      Chris Snyder’s OPS with the Pirates: .566

      His salary for 2011: $5.75M, with $0.75M buyout of 2012.

      Yup, you were crazy.

      • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

        Not as crazy as making a judgment off a 142 AB sample size with a .184 BABIP.

        • Thomas

          His career high OPS is .800 and he was usually at .775, which was before his injuries. I’d rather the Yankees not pay $6.5M for a .775 OPS player, especially for a backup.

        • AndrewYF

          Okay, Chris Snyder’s OPS the past two years: .692

          What a shock, it’s the same as Cervelli’s over the past two years! And guess which player is actually more valuable because of the higher OBP instead of SLG?

          Even ignoring his simply awful time with the Pirates, Cervelli is a much better option for the Yankees than Snyder. He shows better contact skills, and also costs $5M less.

          I’ll take budget flexibility over the possible increase in backup catcher homeruns, thanks.

  • Mike HC

    I think the Yanks are planning on having Posada catch the majority of games next year. He didn’t have a great year this past year, but he certainly didn’t fall off a cliff either. He is going to be the guy with Cervelli as the main back up and Montero as some sort of third catcher/DH/Slowly breaking into the majors type role.

    If they trade Montero, then it will just be Posada and Cervelli which is still probably at least top ten production from the catchers spot.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      When you say majority do you mean like the most out of the three? Or majority of the games in total?

      I believe he’ll catch the most out of the three, but if you plan on having him catch 90-100 games well that’s not a good plan IMO.

      • Mike HC

        I guess that I would hope he could catch about 90-100 games, plan on him catching about 70, and dread the thought of him catching like 30. That is how I would play.

        • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

          Yeah I think a 70-70-22 split would be best-case scenario from the three

  • Dalelama

    After seeing a team with a shit line-up win the WS by humiliating the team who humiliated us it should be clear how bad our pitching is and if we need to trade Montero to improve it so be it. Personally I would move Gardner and Swisher first but if that can’t get it done bye-bye Jesus.

    • Mike HC

      Hopefully we can get Lee for nothing though. You can’t complain about CC, Lee, Pettitte, Hughes foursome. You just have to hope they perform.

      • hornblower

        Stop counting on Lee to solve the Yankees problems. Montero will be the face of the next generation of the team along with Betences, Brackman and Romaine. Build the bullpen and obtain some stopgap starting pitching for the beginning of next season.
        Posada will break down soon enough.
        No team trades a No.1 starter these days. You have to find your own.
        Be patient or the Yanks will be looking up at Toronto, Tampa and Boston for years.

        • Mike HC

          Counting on Lee to solve the Yankees problems? I said you “can’t complain” about our starting rotation with Lee, but apparently I was mistaken about that. You can complain.

          And I also want to keep Montero, hence why I don’t want to trade for a starting pitcher and just sign Lee. And of course I want to continue developing pitching on our own. That goes without saying.

          Not sure who you are railing against here but it surely ain’t me.

          • murakami

            Oh, sorry dude. That wasn’t for me.

        • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

          “Stop counting on Lee to solve the Yankees problems. Montero will be the face of the next generation of the team along with Betences, Brackman and Romaine.”

          How about you stop counting on 4 prospects who have never even touched the majors to solve the Yankees problems….

          I’m not disagreeing with you, but your comment seemed pretty insane to me considering those 4 guys you mentioned have proven almost nothing thus far in their careers.

      • murakami

        Sorry, but I can’t believe that Yankee fans, and perhaps Yankee brass, have decided the entire Yankee Universe hinges on somebody else’s 32 year old pitcher.

        It’s like, sign Lee or else we have to trade Montero.

        With our flawed pitching, we won 95 games and, as the defending World Series champion who used the same staff essentially to win it all the previous year, we went back to the ALCS.

        We had injuries. Suddenly, people are talking like this is the ’06 staff.

        It’s really nuts, when this kind of GroupThink happens and no one ever bothers to take a look back an re-examine the conclusions.

        I am not in favor of signing Lee, for reasons I’ve stated here before: he’s going to be 33, 34, 35, 36 and possibly 37 during his Yankee tenure, and his presence will likely mean the spigot gets turned off, even as arms are ready to spring forward through our system.

        BUT: I now see the blackmail I am being faced with in this polarized world that runs on all things Cliff Lee:

        If we do not get Lee, we must trade away Montero.

        No one even considers that the thinking that our pitching staff is moribund is flawed. And no one even considers that Lee, like Halladay, may pull up lame.

        • Mike HC

          Am I going crazy? Where in my comment did it say Cliff Lee is the answer to all the worlds problems and Montero must go?

          It is like you guys are arguing against yourselves. You don’t want to sign Lee, fine? But don’t act like people are brainwashed if they think one of the best pitchers of the last three years is a good signing.

          • murakami

            Not speaking of you. There’s a general glazed over infatuation with Lee, which is fine. But it seems to have moved to “We MUST have Lee or we are dooooooooommmed!!!”

            My frustration is to the general gloss about having to have Lee. I’m aware there’s a minority that seems more sane.

            Any way, the worse of the two options is trading Montero.

            • http://theblogthatruthbuilt.com Craig

              It’s not crazy at all to suggest that the Yankees need Cliff Lee to make a serious run in 2011-2012. As it stands right now the Yankees have CC, Hughes and Burnett. That gives us a No. 1, No. 3 (No. 4 in a perfect world) and a No. 5 starter. Let’s say Pettitte comes back. We still need a No. 2 guy. Pettitte was great in 2010 (when healthy) but he is not a No. 2 starter. Maybe Hughes is on his way to being that guy, but do we want the Yankees to go into 2011 banking on that? Absolutely not. Are the Yankees doomed without Lee? Eh, not sure I would go that far. They could be in some trouble though.

  • Dick Whitman

    I just traded for Ryan Doumit in a video game season and hit a walk off pinch hit HR in his first AB!

    OMG IT’S FATE. Get it done, Cashman.

    • David

      IETC

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    I agree that the most likely scenario is Montero starts the season back in Scranton to get a little more steady work after ST and Romne begins back at Trenton with Montero getting called up sometime in May and Romine being promted to Scranton. I kinda give Romine a pass on how he is doing in the AFL cause he simply looks worn down after the long season. Kinda surprised the Yanks even sent him there since scouts even said he looked worn out at the end of the season.

  • lordbyron

    The Yankees would be wise to stay away from Doumit. He is arguably the worst defensive catcher in MLB, is injury prone, struggled with the bat last year and, at $6+ mil a year, no bargain financially.

    • AndrewYF

      But he’s a veteran and can hit the ball really far!

  • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

    Wait why should we be concerned if Romine doesn’t go in AAA for a couple months? Romine hasn’t teared up AA and a couple months there wouldn’t kill his development if Jesus doesn’t get traded or called up immediately.

    • Mike HC

      Yea. Romine’s development is such an afterthought in this it is not even funny. He is really a non factor.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Russell Martin might get nontendered, and if he does they should sign him and dump Frankie or move him back to Scranton. That way Montero can DH at the ML level and only catch maybe 20 or 30 games, and they’ll still be fine at the catcher position.

    • AndrewYF

      It would be interesting, but looking at the dearth of catching talent in the majors, I doubt he could be had for a pittance. Also, there’s no real guarantee he’d be better than Cervelli – he’s been injured the past two years, and his power has dissipated because of it. Who knows if he’ll be able to be the same player.

  • Frank

    How about if Navarro is non-tendered by the Rays? It could very well happen. He’s relatively young, a pretty good defensive catcher and can hit better than Cervelli. He could serve as a stop gap until if/when Montero proves he can handle the job.

    • Clay Bellinger

      I don’t even know that Navarro provides an upgrade over Cervelli at this point…outside of 2008 he’s been horrendous.

  • Tank Foster

    Oh please don’t trade Montero. Big mistake. There aren’t more than 3-4 players in MLB for whom it would be a good trade, and those ain’t gonna happen.

    Hitting is going to be a problem for the Yankees going forward; they NEED this guy.

    • Clay Bellinger

      I doubt that they will…they only way they’d deal him is for a top-notch pitcher…like Greinke and he may be the only one available. It would go against there ongoing “get younger” initiative. They have to keep entering young talent into the lineup.

    • murakami

      Well, exactly. Why are people so cavalier about a young up the middle guy who has scouts rhapsodize is Edgar Martinez with sick power, and also Frank Thomas??

      I suspect some don’t believe he’s that good, but HE IS, HE IS!

      • larryf

        I agree. A special bat. The guy was a 20 year old man amongst boys at Scranton.

  • Jay

    What about moving Romaine instead?

    • murakami

      Very nice with sliced tomato, some arugula, onion and a few olives for good measure. I would say, Cerignola are best.

      • Clay Bellinger

        hahaha…workplace lol

  • Leo

    I would just like to know by anyone who has offhand knowledge or had the pleasure of seeing him play. Is Montero’s defense really as bad as advertised that he would be a liability in the C position? His hitting ability needs no more praise; we all know he’s gifted in that area. Regardless of where he ends up position wise, I like everything I’ve read up on the kid and I hope he sticks with the Yankees for years to come.

    • murakami

      He’s not really that inept, and he has improved. He has a good arm, and his feet have gotten better. What’s more, the kid really wants to get better. His mother was a catcher, apparently.

    • DJH116

      I had milb.tv this year just to see Montero catch in Scranton and personally I don’t think he deserves to get bashed as much as he does. He reminds me right now of Victor Martinez and even though Victor is considered one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball he is good enough considering his bat.

      I think Montero will end up being the same way he never will be considered that good behind the plate but he will be good enough to stay back there for at least the first 6 years of his career.

  • Danny T

    How about having him slipt time with Jorge this year, next year move A-Rod to DH, Jeter to 3B and trade Montero for Stephen Drew and a pitching prospect? Just a thought.

  • Klemy

    I hope that Montero is not traded. I do believe it will happen if lee signs elsewhere, not that I think it has to happen. I just think it will in that scenario.

    He can be the face of our offense in the coming years as our vets are aging and not producing nearly as well. Potential bats like this don’t come along every day, so I really hope we can hold on to him because we probably are going to need him.

    As for his defense, I do believe people worry about it and expect the worst due to mostly 3rd person statements. I doubt very seriously that most people who criticize him have seen him play defense. I guess I just take it with a grain of salt that most people hear his defense is bad and pass it on. He could very well be historically bad, but I’m going believe what the organization thinks before the majority of fans. That statement by the organization will come by their actions with his development in the next year as far as I’m concerned.

  • Bulldozer

    Trade Montero this offseason or before August 1st. If he can’t catch, scouts think he probably can’t, he has more value to another club. Everyone here seems to think that he can play catcher easily even though most scouts will disagree. Remember when scouts scoffed at McCallister’s ability and we were all up in arms about that? Who was right about that?

    Everyone is acting like he is a lock for the HOF already. The biggest leap is from AAA to the bigs, and why risk it if you can get value from him.

    • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

      Lol McCallister. Totally solid comparison.

      • Bulldozer

        Because?
        Scouts don’t think Jesus can catch in the big, and scouts didn’t think ZMac could start in the bigs. Yankee (not all, obviously) fans think Jesus can catch in the bigs, and they thought ZMac could start in the bigs. I never said anything about Jesus’ hitting ability, that would be silly.

        • Bulldozer

          If you want me to put it in simpler terms, I can try.

          Some people on this board:
          Yankee fans are smarter than scouts when it comes to Montero’s catching ability.

          Me:
          Scouts are a better source of information when making projections on kids in the minors.

          • http://theblogthatruthbuilt.com Craig

            Talent. That is the key here. Montero has the best bat in Minor League Baseball as a 21 year old. No, that does not automatically translate to MLB production, but the Yankees need to take a few years to find out. The Yankees have smart people in their organization. They can find a way to work around Montero’s lack of defensive ability. In most cases trading him would simply be stupid.

    • Shaun

      Scouts also thought cano was only good enough to be a utility piece. Scouts also though Tim Lincecum wasn’t going to even break into the bigs, scouts said Albert Pujols wasn’t going to be good. Also scouts everywhere said Javier Vazquez was going to the best 4th starter in the Majors. Funny how life proves people wrong.

      • Gonzo

        Wonderful. Pick out the outliers and you could make any point look one way. Excellent work.

        You>>>Scouts. Is that what you are saying?

        • http://theblogthatruthbuilt.com Craig

          No. He’s asking, “could the scouts possibly be slightly mistaken on Montero’s inability to EVER become an AVERAGE catcher?”

          I’m not trying to say I’m more qualified than any scout out there, but scouts are frequently, across all sports, contributing to garbage decisions or grossly underrating a player’s ability. You can call them outliers, but there are a ton of cases to draw from where scouts have been dead wrong.

  • Camilo Gerardo

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Shaun

    We are royally screwed if Montero is traded. Watch if it happens he is going to make life miserable for yankees. You don’t get rid of a Miguel Cabrera like bat, you keep it and ride that pony until he retires. Romine hasn’t been impressive in 3 months, and Sanchez is still 4 years away at least. We need a catcher and cervelli is not gonna cut it.

  • http://twitter.com/JoeySportstalk JoeyH

    “That would allow Montero and Posada to rotate between catcher and DH”
    Except the fact that Jorgey is a horrible catcher. How about rotate Montero and Posada at DH and Cervy and Montero at catcher. The man is simply horrible behind the plate.

    • JAG

      B/c you need a catcher every game and resting Montero can only do him good. The less Cervelli has to play, the better.

  • dan genovese

    please do not trade our best hitting prospect…………

  • Ted Nelson

    “Splitting the season between AA and AAA might be a good thing for Romine, who still has plenty of development ahead of him.”

    Yes. Maybe it is, but I don’t know if pushing Romine is the right move. He hasn’t faired particularly well against High A or AA pitching. I’m not an expert on when to promote players, but I have no problem with Romine in AA. Even if the Yankees use Montero in the Bronx, they could still acquire a AAA catcher to provide some depth and keep Romine in AA to start the season.

    “The only issue is that he is also not a great defensive catcher. Neither is Napoli. But, since Montero isn’t, either, I’m not sure the Yankees would be losing out in this aspect.”

    Yeah… Doumit is pretty awful defensively behind the plate. I’m not sure he’s even a C.
    Doumit’s career OPS+ isalso 103. I’ll take Napoli over him probably, personally. With Doumit you are definitely not gaining much over Jesus defensively (even if Jesus is bad), and you are pretty likely to be losing offensively (though of course who can say how Jesus will do).

  • wilcymoore27

    I don’t see any realistic scenario in which trading Montero makes sense.

    • Accent Shallow

      Seconded.

      I’m very nervous about his supposed inability to stay at catcher, but if the bat is what they say it is, well, you find a place for him to play.