Saying Goodbye to Jesus

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All teams have a mixed record of success in drafting and then developing young talent into adept major leaguers. But it’s widely assumed that the Yankees have taken prospect mismanagement to new heights, that they are the bulls in the China shop of player development. Sadly, this reputation isn’t entirely unjustified. A sometimes necessary byproduct of life as a perennial juggernaut is that young players within the organization are often rushed or marginalized for the sake of feeding the machine. Some of us have mixed feelings about this, and I’d argue that being exposed to this M.O.

"Here's hoping Joe Saunders is as cool a locker buddy as you were, Jesus." (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

over time turns us all, to some degree, into mini-Steinbrenner shopaholics who pine for a rush that only acquiring the shiniest new toy on the market can satisfy. And yet, considering the team’s current circumstances, the reasons for cutting ties with such a spectacular young player like Jesus Montero aren’t as rash as some might think.

The Yankees have already shown their willingness to part with Montero on multiple occasions, and will do so again given what the club deems to be a suitable scenario. As fans, we can only hope that “suitable” doesn’t also mean trading away Jesus for yet another lockdown long reliever or a pack of miscellaneous B-prospects. But he shouldn’t be considered untouchable, not right now. Because, while it’s astonishing to think the planet’s most successful sports franchise could be so flip about its most coveted position player prospect in generations, there are four main reasons why the Yankees view him as expendable.

A Decimated Pitching Staff

The current tired narrative of the week is that the Yankees have a code-red short-term urgency for starting pitching, and it’s all that diva Andy Pettitte’s fault. This, of course, is only partially true. Assuming they insist on finishing ahead of Toronto in 2011, acquiring a reliable, if unsexy, starting arm will far outweigh all other concerns going forward. But don’t blame A.P. Pettitte’s waffling notwithstanding, there’s nothing new or astounding about the Yankees’ shortage of quality starting pitching. In fact, in retrospect, it was delusional to think the Yankees could win a World Series championship last year with a hobbled Andy Pettitte, an overtaxed Phil Hughes, and a perpetually beleaguered A.J. Burnett taking turns behind the Big Stoppa’.

And here’s the thing: the starting pitching situation may have actually gotten worse since then, and that’s not even accounting for the probable loss of Pettitte and the failed courtship of Cliff Lee. While he remains a bona fide rock, the 2,127+ innings on Sabathia’s arm will eventually begin to take their toll. Hughes will be freed from a strict innings count but, per the Verducci Effect, he’s not out of the woods yet. And despite the incontrovertible fact that Ivan Nova is, along with Mo, King Felix and Tim Lincecum, on a short list of the coolest-looking pitchers in the game, his unflappable mound persona comes along with an eye-gouging 1.452 WHIP and a limited arsenal. And then, of course, there’s the endlessly maligned Sergio Mitre, slotted in at No. 5. While Yankee fans have been saddled with the reputation for being spoiled, supercilious brats (because apparently most sportswriters have never been to Fenway Park), followers of any team would have a legitimate reason to revolt if any one of their starting pitchers came with a career WAR of -1.6.

That an already toilet paper-thin free agent market for starting pitching is now in its one-ply stage makes pursuing a deal for a reliable arm even more crucial, providing the search doesn’t begin and end with plucking Freddie Garcia from the island of reconstructed labrums. And because even the most doltish of G.M.s are aware of the Yankees’ current dilemma, Brian Cashman and Co. will indeed be gouged for the privilage of acquiring the likes of Joe Saunders or Kyle Lohse. With that said, if the Yankees do decide to go big, Joba alone won’t make it happen. But a package centered around Chamberlain and Montero could net a front-line starter. Either way, hold fast to your Joba memories (grainy YouTube alert).

The Closing Window Theory

We hear different variations of the same trite maxim every year: “There is no next year,” The window’s closing,” “This team is built to win now.” Normally, I dismiss these defeatist clichés, not just because Michael Kay admonishingly wedges them into YES telecasts during lopsided losses, but because being constructed to win one year doesn’t necessarily preclude a team from winning the next – or three years down the road, for that matter. But as the Yankees’ roster is currently assembled, the “window of opportunity” claim may have a bit more validity than usual. For one thing, the average age of Yankees hitters last year was 30.4, which should remain fairly steady for this year as well. Compare that with the age of the position players from the 2009 championship team (30.5) and, in case you were wondering, the famed Shredding My Soul Into 1,000 Pieces squad of 2004 (32.2) and there should be little-to-no cause for alarm, at least for the time being.

The problem arises when we consider how few of the elder position players will be leaving anytime soon. In 2013, for instance, A-Rod will be 38, Jeter 39, Teixeira 33, and Cano (assuming he re-signs) 30. The Yankees’ continual difficulty in developing viable position prospects, combined with a fetish for relinquishing first-round draft picks means that the team’s overall age, at least for the next several years, will slowly, methodically, diabolically continue to rise. Of course, this further fuels the argument that 2011 might be an optimal time to go all-in for a starter.

Outrageous Expectations

When Montero falters, the career trajectories of countless other stars whose initial mediocrity belied their lofty scouting reports will be ignored. Barry Larkin and Pudge Rodriguez both struggled to make their own beds during their rookie campaigns; the best hitter since Babe Ruth was merely adequate during his. More recently, uber-prospect Jay Bruce finished his rookie season in 2008 with a .317 OBP and a 97 OPS+. And after 887 major league at-bats, the monstrously can’t-miss talent that is Matt Wieters has yet to exceed 97 OPS+. I bring up Bruce and Wieters not because their rookie seasons were such catastrophic failures but because they really weren’t. Sure, they fell short of projections; in fact, they were both downright mediocre. On a team with a more patient front office and a less fervent fan base, being just sort of okay during one’s first full season in the majors is actually a cause for sober optimism. On the Yankees, either player would’ve been packaged by now for Carlos Marmol. When expectations are high in the Bronx, mediocrity doesn’t play, rookie or not. But then, we already knew this. Poor guy.

So, other than OPS-ing at .850 or being packaged with Hector Noesi for Felix Hernandez, what will it take from Montero to satisfy skeptical Yankees fans and a trigger-happy ownership group? Will he need to eclipse a caught-stealing of 34 percent, an OPS+ of 86, and an OBP of .299? If he does, he’ll have yielded better performance in these categories than Sandy Alomar, Lance Parrish, and Javy Lopez, respectively.

Jesus Warts

As great as Montero is projected to be, right now he’s a trunk filled with gold on a desert island. That nearly all of his scouting reports come attached with cautions of defensive shortcomings that make his value as a long-term Yankee backstop a major point of uncertainty. The problem is, as of this moment, catcher is the only position that even remotely makes sense for both Jesus and the Yankees. Moreover, Montero’s purported lack of athleticism would preclude a transfer to either of the outfield corners. A move to first base is also a non-starter, with Mark Teixerra locked up through eternity with an infinity player option. And with the DH rotation set to be occupied by Posada, Jeter, and Rodriguez for at least the next half-decade, stashing Montero there for any significant amount of time is also out of the question.

So if the organization doesn’t view Montero as a long-term solution at catcher, and if his short-term utility will be limited due to inexperience and the vagaries of youth, it could be argued that the moment to package him is now, while the hype machine is turned to 11. Hank or Levine or Newman will propose it, and Cashman will balk. Making his stand to the Yankees’ brass, he’ll detail the folly of trading away young, cheap, premium position players who might one day flourish into young, cheap superstars. But judging from the new top-down decision-making process that seems to have taken hold of the current regime, his case will likely fall upon deaf ears.

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

    The title terrified me thinking that Jesus was traded. I ran to MLBTR to check and did a big Sigh.

    • LGY

      I was thinking the same thing, dammit Brock

      • Monteroisdinero

        Me three. I will be sickened if he is traded this year. Give the guy 2 shared, Russell Martin years-less if he proves he can take over behind the plate. I think the Yanks will be very happy with him catching and batting 8th or 9th this year from opening day but I am biased since I saw him in person several games at Scranton. Or bring him up a la Posey and let’s see what happens.

    • http://www.retire21.org first name only male (formerly Mike R. – Retire 21)

      Me too.

    • Brock Cohen

      Sorry about that, Joseph. I considered “Goodbye Jesus” as a title but thought that would be even more trauma-inducing. Now that I really think about it, there’s not much of a difference.

      • rb

        Maybe it would’ve been a good idea to add a question mark – “Saying Goodbye to Jesus?”

    • Jose the Satirist

      Agreed. It was a great article but can you please change the title to something that doesn’t create ambiguity and panic.

    • Tom T

      Another +1. Please never do this to me again.

      • Ellis

        What a cruel title. I have heart palpitations.

        Change it please?

    • badadvice

      I agree why would the title be written like that. grrrrr maybe we should say goodbye to the person that wrote it?

    • Corey

      Word of advice rookie. NEVER START A POST WITH SAYING GOODBYE TO JESUS

  • David

    It all depends on what they really think of him as a catcher in the major leagues. If he can play that position at a major league average level or close to that, he has incredible value. On the other hand, if he can’t catch, can’t play outfield, and first base and DH are not open for him, what is wrong with dealing him for a top starting pitcher? Nothing at all.

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

      There’s also the DH spot to consider. After this year Posada will almost certainly be gone, so you could pick your spots with Jesus behind the dish and (hopefully) have Martin take most of the workload.

      http://www.baseball-reference......jo01.shtml

      We’ve been here before, with Posada. He was called up (to stay) in 1997 and it took the better part of 3 seasons to get the everyday Catcher’s job from his current manager. He started 52 games at catcher in 97, 85 in 1998 and 98 in 1999. He wasn’t the Yankee everyday Catcher until 2000, when he started 136 games at the position.

      If the Yanks take 3-4 years to work Montero in behind the dish, 1B isn’t as far away as it seems. Tex’s contract expires in 2016.

      • Brock Cohen

        Hope you’re right.

        Devil’s advocate: Check out the ’97 starting rotation v. the 2010 one. The holes weren’t as gaping back then, and Posada wasn’t as valuable a commodity.

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

          Poasada’s an interesting case in player development. He was an unheralded 24th round draft pick, and his minor league stats don’t blow you away. He’s actually been a better MLB player than he was a minor league player.

          http://www.thebaseballcube.com.....sada.shtml

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

        BTW-Montero will still be just 27 years old in 2016. Born in November, so he’d be 27 for the 2017 season as well.

    • http://www.itsaboutthemoney.net Brien Jackson

      Yeah, that was my first reaction. I mean, if the presumption is that A-Rod is the primary DH, and he’s still productive, then if Montero can only DH or play 1st, it wouldn’t make sense NOT to swap him with a team who needs him for pitching.

  • PaulF

    “In fact, in retrospect, it was delusional to think the Yankees could win a World Series championship last year with a hobbled Andy Pettitte, an overtaxed Phil Hughes, and a perpetually beleaguered A.J. Burnett taking turns behind the Big Stoppa.”

    – No it wasn’t. The Yankees rotation going into the 2010 playoffs was better than the rotation going into the 2009 playoffs. Phil Hughes had two bad games after a great game against the Twins, the Yankees didn’t hit Lee or Lewis, and the Yankees lost the ALCS in 6 games. There was nothing inevitable about that.

    • Brock Cohen

      The difference in 2010 was that A.J. was considerably worse, Hughes was well over his innings limit, and A.P. was hampered.

      And we’ll never know for sure, but Hughes looks completely gassed in Game 2. He needed 88 pitches to get through 4 and had no bite or on any of his pitches. Could have easily just not had it that day, though.

      • PaulF

        Hughes was gassed in Game 2 of the ALCS but not in the previous game where he threw a gem? And Hughes was on 6 days rest. Hughes had a couple bad games against a team that hit great in their home park. Their doesn’t need to be an explanation for that.

      • RiddlemeThis

        “Hughes was well over his innings limit”

        Not really it was believed to be about 180-185 innings; Hughes pitched 186 innings on the year. It was higher than he ever did before but he was right on the nose when it came to his limit.

  • pleaseNo

    I saw the title and checked if it was April 1st.

    • Mister Delaware

      Or April 22nd.

      /christianity’d

  • Monteroisdinero

    He can catch. Can we please get Mr. Wynegar on the line and see what he thinks? The hell with everyone else.

    • David

      Then he has tremendous value, and the only way they should consider trading him would be for a superstar pitcher. This is very simple. These are the type of decisions that baseball people get paid the big money for. The most important scouting is of your own players.

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

      Think about that for one second. Do you really think someone who is employed by the Yankees is going to publicly knock one of their prize assets and remain employed with the team for very long?

      Put another way, whose opinion do you trust more? Independent sources like BA/BP or those that come from the team itself?

      • The Real JobaWockeeZ

        Well FWIW Frankie Pilliere thinks Jesus can be a really really bad defensive catcher but can stick.

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

          Sure, but you need a competent backup to play against teams like the Rays and Red Sox, or they’ll run all over you. Plus, if he’s as un-athletic as we hear, Burnett could be an issue as well, the way it was with Jorge. You can’t balls going through his legs with men on base, like that (late august 09?) game when Jorge caught AJ against the Red Sox.

      • Poopy Pants

        Isn’t that what they did with Joba?

  • http://yanksdraftsandprospects.blogspot.com/ Jake H

    Jesus only has to have Mike Piazza’s D for him to be a great player with his bat.

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

      …and in order to have a bat like that, he’ll need Piazza’s connection for B-12 shots.

      • Mike HC

        He probably has it.

  • Mickey Scheister

    Sad but true, let him start his MLB career the way he started his AAA career, the verbal onslaught of hate will not be great. If he is traded I really hope it’s not for a 3-4 starter (Joe Saunders) but packaged for an ace.

  • http://twitter.com/bryanl26 Bryan L

    Excellent post.

    I do believe that Montero doesn’t have a long term role on the team due to his defensive issues, but I still wouldn’t move him unless we get a top pitcher in return. Joe Saunders and Kyle Lohse probably won’t do.

    If you can’t get a top pitcher in return, keep him and take our chances with his defense.

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

      +1

      My sentiments exactly. You don’t just give him away, but he’s not untouchable in the right deal.

      • pete

        but none of the pitchers mentioned in the post are anything close to “the right deal”.

    • Brock Cohen

      Agreed. The Yankees will hate themselves in two years if they swap Jesus for a Joel Pineiro – and that’s not meant to be slight against Pineiro.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ngoral Jake LaMotta’s Left Hook

        Why would they swap Montero for Pineiro… that makes no sense, and they wouldn’t do that anyway.

      • The Real JobaWockeeZ

        I’m sure Levine won’t care.

        • FIPster Doofus

          He might when Cashman resigns.

          • Chris

            Cashman is an average GM and extremely replaceable. He can leave anytime he wants. I’d rather have kept Kevin Towers anyway. At least he can evaluate pitchers.

            • http://twitter.com/bryanl26 Bryan L

              This is sarcasm, right?

              • Chris

                Yeah Cashman is a great GM. The Giants, Marlins, White Sox and Cardinals have as many rings as the Yankees over the last 10 years and have each spent probably a BILLION dollars less in payroll than Cashman has.

                • RiddlemeThis

                  Hint Hint

                  Cash didn’t have full control until 2005; he’s done a good job since he’s been (mostly) free of interference from the big heads since he took over(mostly Hank’s interference)

                  • http://www.itsaboutthemoney.net Brien Jackson

                    And World Series rings are a horrible barometer to use to measure a GM, since the playoffs are mostly a matter of luck. Division titles, total games won, and other things from the regular season are a far better measure of controllable success.

                    • http://twitter.com/bryanl26 Bryan L

                      This.

                      See 2010 San Francisco Giants

  • ADGXIII

    I read this site everyday but rarely get into the comments section. I do have to say though, this post strikes me as pessimistic, speculative drivel. I do not know why you insist on, and write as if, Montero being traded is a sure thing. You completely overlook the depth of the Yankees minor league system (they can make trades without dealing him you know) and seem to think that Cashman and Co. are complete and utter morons (granted with the Soriano deal that might not be too far off). If a bunch of bloggers and their readers can recognize the immense talent that Montero possess then don’t you think the “baseball” people can as well. Mark my words Montero will be the next dynastic Yankee fixture. If he comes up this year and sticks with the team you should lose your “job” as the new writer of frivolity for RAB.

    • 51cq24

      it’s also illogical and contradictory.
      “As fans, we can only hope that “suitable” doesn’t also mean trading away Jesus for yet another lockdown long reliever or a pack of miscellaneous B-prospects.”
      ok, but then he seems to suggest that joe saunders or kyle lohse would be acceptable targets. or is that just pessimistic drivel? hard to tell. but this is my favorite:
      “The Yankees’ continual difficulty in developing viable position prospects, combined with a fetish for relinquishing first-round draft picks means that the team’s overall age, at least for the next several years, will slowly, methodically, diabolically continue to rise. Of course, this further fuels the argument that 2011 might be an optimal time to go all-in for a starter.”
      aha! the yankees, particularly their position players, are getting older. they can’t develop prospects, so the logical conclusion is that they will trade their best position prospect! very astute.

      • Nostra-Artist

        You wouldn’t be saying that if this was posted by a woman.

        Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish up a book I’ve been working on. I haven’t finished coloring it yet.

        • 51cq24

          i dont get it.

          • pete

            yeah me neither

    • David

      Great post. Exactly right. This is the most bizarre Yankee offseason in a long time.
      2009 – Win World Series.
      2010 – Lose in six in ALCS after winning 95 games.
      2011 – Should be better than 2010. Just need some reversion to the mean from several players, which is very likely. Now a top five or so farm system. Retained all pieces of that so far,including Montero.
      Bloggers, fans, etc. – Act like we are the Cleveland Indians.

    • Nostra-Artist

      You know, I think I’ve figured out why there is so much vitriol for the 3 new writers. These must be people who submitted applications for the job, didn’t make the cut, and are now looking to poke holes in every misplaced word uttered by the newbies.

      That’s my explanation, and I’m sticking to it.

      • wow

        Spot on.

      • ADGXIII

        I don’t have any problem with the new writers, I have a problem with speculative non-analytical crap. But obviously “Nostra-Artist” you just take everything written on here as gospel and deride anyone who disagrees with a post as an inferior intellect. I think you should stop spending so much time on a yankee blog and try to get out more.

        Now if you’ll excuse me I must master oh so difficult lines of my coloring book.

    • OldYanksFan

      Not only that, how many impact bats MIGHT the farm produce in the next 3 years? Now, how many impact pitchers MIGHT the farm produce in the next 3 years? It seems to me that while Pitching is the problem in 2011, after that, with ARod aging, Jeter’s decline and Jorge gone, that offense might be the problem in the near future.

      Yes, Jesus could be traded, but he would have to pull in quite a haul to rationalize it.

    • Monteroisdinero

      Mark my words is what I have been saying. To see Montero crush the ball at the plate AND to see him catch made a believer out of me-especially considering he was 20 years old and has/will be mentored by Girardi/Posada/Pena/Wynegar/Martin.

      The guy will be fine.

    • Mike HC

      Agreed with most of your critiques here and your post below the original. Except for the part where he loses his job, because I really enjoyed his other posts. And I didn’t think this post was that bad, just disagreed with most of it and couldn’t really figure out exactly what he was trying to say (other than the fact he obviously thinks Montero will be traded for someone at some point).

  • David

    Chris Carpenter? Opportunity knocks right now.

    • FIPster Doofus

      For Montero? Hell no.

      • The Real JobaWockeeZ

        His contract being gone alone is a fair trade.

        • FIPster Doofus

          Not for the Yankees.

  • ultimate913

    Yea. I just don’t see Montero being traded. What SP that would be worth Montero(+ prospects,) would become available?

    Hernandez? HA. Carpenter? Old. Johnson? HA. Weaver? Meh. Haren? Meh.

    I have no problem trading Montero for the right SP. It’s just that none of those are available.

  • Nucchemist

    Isn’t Montero part of the solution to the closing window problem? That young, cheap, improving bat which could offset the old, expensive, declining bat of A-Rod. Unless they plan to expand the payroll, they are going to need more productive homegrown bats to come along after Montero.

    • mbonzo

      A young, cheap, improving arm is more important to the Yankees than a bat. If they can find that in a trade they’ll make the team better.

      • camilo Gerardo

        or develop both, and y’all stop being ninnies

  • mbonzo

    I can completely see the Yankees trading Montero. Starting pitching is a need right now, and Montero is a luxury. Without Jesus on the team next year, they’ll have 3 catchers in the majors. Romine and Sanchez are in the top catching prospects as well. If the Yankees can find a starter with as much talent as Jesus for a trade, I’d love it. I’d also love to see the kid grow up, but not at the expense of having a better team.

    • The Real JobaWockeeZ

      Catching by fair isn’t a luxury. None of them are sure bets to make it. Romine might not have the bat. Sanchez may also not stick. JR Murphy hasn’t impressed much either.

      Trading Montero without giving him a chance because you have other prospects is silly.

      If the Yankees can find a starter with as much talent as Jesus for a trade, I’d love it.

      That doesn’t exist atm.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....ason1=2010

      All top tiered starters are either old, under a very good contract, under a team in contention or very young that you need 5 Montero’s to start somewhere. There are few exceptions but they aren’t worth Montero.

      I’d also love to see the kid grow up, but not at the expense of having a better team.

      That’s mutually exclusive how?

      • mbonzo

        Like I said, the organization has 3 major league catchers and 4 minor league catchers. If Jesus was a need then he would be penciled into the 25 man roster right now. The Yankees have enough offense as it is. Even if his bat was potent, wouldn’t you rather want a potent arm? I agree that the trade market will be hard to navigate, but I’m sure there a team out there that has too many starters and needs a catcher. Obviously the White Sox have Pierzynski but a package for a Danks type starter wouldn’t require much more besides Jesus. A young starter like Jeremy Hellickson shouldn’t be out of the question either.

        • RiddlemeThis

          Rays don’t trade in the division; White Sox are trying to contend they aren’t dealing. Besides there are only ten arms that are worth a Montero in the package. Most of them are on contending teams; the other few (Felix and Johnson) probably aren’t on the block anytime soon.

          And if the yankees were going to trade for a young unproven in Hellickson, why not test our own?

          • mbonzo

            This is my point. Would you rather have a pitching or catching prospect coming up next season? The Yankees don’t need a catcher, they need a pitcher.

            Also, Rays trade in the division. Rhyne Hughes, Greg Zaun, Chad Bradford, and Nick Green. Bartlett almost went to the Orioles a month ago.

            The White Sox won’t deal Danks, but I used him as an example of the type of guy the Yankees should target. I said that because Felix and Johnson are not coming to the Yankees, and it seems like they’re the only ones fans think are worthy of coming. The Blue Jays have plenty of young starters the Yankees could use Jesus for. When you’re offering a guy with his type of talent, teams are going to find ways to acquire him. The problem we have is that fans think Jesus is worth an ace, but he’s just as unproven as any top prospect in baseball.

            • RiddlemeThis

              Let me rephrase; Rays don’t trade anyone of worth within the division (Bartlett doesn’t count “almost” is not the same as “did”).

            • camilo Gerardo

              And I’d rather Have a catcher of Jesus’ calibre, because you are dying for someone to answer you

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

      If Sanchez grows at all he is not going to stick at C. Given his age he is a good bet to sprout a few inches.

      • mbonzo

        I don’t think so, he’s 17, the most he’ll grow is an inch. Joe Mauer is 3 inches taller. He’s a lot more likely to stick behind the plate than Montero.

    • twac00

      Starting pitching is a need, but that doesn’t mean you trade an “A” catcher prospect who’s major league ready for anything but a true ace in his 20s.

  • Billsince47

    Seems to me that the baseball pundits all said the same kind of things about another catcher’s defensive liabilities – his name is Yogi Berra! I think Billl Dickey worked with him to hone his defensive skills – I’m sure the Yankees can find someone to do the same with Jesus.

  • Chris

    If Montero ends up a hitter in the class of a Piazza or Frank Thomas, it won’t make a diference if he can catch. That kind of bat would do just fine as a full time DH.

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

      NSS, but you say that as if it’s a given when it’s absolutely not. Mike Piazza and Frank Thomas were ridiculously good hitters.

      • Chris

        No it’s certainly not a given but if he doesn’t get a chance, you’ll never know. At some point, I’d like for him play, not be sent away for some middling starter.

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

          Well we’re agreed there.

      • Ted Nelson

        “If” “ends up”… I don’t think Chris at all implied it’s a given and you just read that into it.

        It’s worth mentioning this chance because relative to just about any other prospect in all of baseball right now it’s high.

  • cranky

    Joba and Montero bring back a front line starter?
    Sure.
    And if I grow seven inches, I’ll get drafted by the Knicks.

    There are no front line starters available on the trade market.
    Josh Johnson isn’t available, and the Marlins don’t need Montero, anyway.

    Joba is good trade bait. He and Romine would bring back Wandy Rodriguez. Or, maybe, Gio Gonzales.
    Speculation about trading for a front line starter ought to be based in reality.
    The reality is that there’s no front line starters on the trading block.

    • Mister Delaware

      I don’t think There are any no front line starters available on the trade market.
      I don’t think Josh Johnson isn’t available, and the Marlins don’t need Montero, anyway.

      Joba is good trade bait. I believe He and Romine would bring back Wandy Rodriguez. Or, maybe, Gio Gonzales.
      Speculation about trading for a front line starter ought to be based in reality.
      The reality is that I don’t think there are any there’s no front line starters on the trading block.

      • Brock Cohen

        Sadly, I think, given another shot, Joba could replicate Gio Gonzales’ numbers. Then we’d get to keep Romine.

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

      And if I grow seven inches, I’ll get drafted by the Knicks.

      I think you mean “drafted by someone else using the Knicks’ pick.”

      • Mike HC

        hahaha

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

    I don’t agree that the Yankees were somehow predestined to not win the WS last year. Had one of many little things gone differently (for example, Burnett doesn’t give up that HR to Bengie and the Yanks have a good shot at tying the series 2-2), the Yankees would’ve been in good position to win. I don’t think any team that wins 2 games in the LCS is that far removed from being a WS champ.

    • Ted Nelson

      +1

      And they bring back pretty much the same team this season… With a top 10 farm system behind it.

    • Mike HC

      Exactly. “In retrospect,” it was delusional for every team but the Giants to think they had a shot at winning the WS last year.

      • Brock Cohen

        You’re making a sweeping generalization. Given a few turns of the screw, sure, the 2010 Yankees may have won #28. My point is, they would’ve done so in spite of their rotation. But at the time, there’s no question that the rotation was deeply flawed insofar as 2/3 of the playoff rotation was struggling or hobbled. They were inferior to Texas’ and would’ve been inferior to S.F.’s as well, had they met in the W.S.

        • Mike HC

          This comment is far more reasonable to me than what was written in the article.

          I think I made it clear in your other article comment sections that I really enjoy your writing and addition to RAB. Immediate fan. But in just this article, I had trouble following exactly what you were trying to say and I agree with much of the non evil spirited criticism already written in the comments by others. No need to re hash them all.

          Maybe this piece is more misunderstood, rather than (insert any of the criticisms here).

        • Ted Nelson

          The main point is that any team which makes Game 6 of the ALCS had a pretty good shot at winning the WS.

          I don’t think that the Rangers’ rotation was that much greater than the Yankees, just that they hit their stride at the right time and had what will probably be looked back upon as career years. Tommy Hunter is not that good and AJ Burnett could have easily beaten him. Colby Lewis is not remarkably better than Phil Hughes: this was the 2nd time in his career he’s started more than 15 games in the majors in a season and his career FIP is right in line with Sergio Mitre’s. Pettitte gave a 7 inning 2 run performance against Cliff Lee, but the Yankees couldn’t score and the bullpen got crushed in the 9th.

          The Rangers pitching staff dominated that series and the Yankees staff struggled, but on paper it was not nearly as lopsided.

  • Ted Nelson

    “A sometimes necessary byproduct of life as a perennial juggernaut is that young players within the organization are often rushed or marginalized for the sake of feeding the machine.”

    I would actually say the Yankees take it relatively slowly with prospects. They don’t rush prospects often, and when they did rush Joba, for example, they gave him pitch limits to prevent a Wood/Prior/Bonderman/any Oakland developed pitcher in the last 10 years burn-out scenario from happening.

    In most cases I think that other teams tend to rush prospects more because they have immediate holes on their big league roster than they need filled.

    And how many farm systems have “developed,” in the last 20 years Jeter, Pettitte, Posada, Cano, Mariano, Bernie, Nick Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Milton, Hitchcock, Chien-Ming Wang, Lowell, Guzman, Gardner, Hughes, Joba, Robertson, Austin Jackson, Jose Tabata, IPK, Jesus Montero, Dioner Navarro, Wily Mo Pena, Thames, Juan Rivera, Melky Cabrera, Joaquin Arias, Tyler Clippard, Arodys… Some of those guys were traded before making the Bronx, but generally the Yankees have done well at keeping the right guys. There are some Milton’s and Lowell’s sprinkled in, but also a whole lot of prospects they traded for quality major leaguers who never made any impact.

    • pete

      Agreed with all of this. Joba Chamberlain hurt his shoulder by diving out of the way of an errant Pudge Rodriguez throw in 2008, and therefore the Yankees are incapable of developing young players.

      I don’t think that all of their player-development decisions have been perfect, mind you, but I think they’re perfectly capable of developing young players.

    • Mike HC

      Agreed here too with all of this.

  • pete

    And with the DH rotation set to be occupied by Posada, Jeter, and Rodriguez for at least the next half-decade

    Posada will probably be gone at the end of this year. Jeter should never, and I mean ever, but especially in the future DH for the Yankees, and while A-Rod will likely spend plenty of time there, I see no reason why he and Montero couldn’t platoon at DH while spending half their time at their defensive positions.

    I really don’t like the notion that the yankees are “set” at DH for the next several years. Having older guys who need a lot of actual days off AND aren’t anywhere near where they used to be as hitters doesn’t mean we’re “set”.

    I think there’s a very legitimate chance that Jesus Montero is the 3rd best (or better) hitter on the Yankees’ roster overall over the next five years. Trading away a young guy because we already have old guys who may not even be able to DH as well as he may be able to makes no sense unless we get an elite (as in top-15 in baseball) starter in return, and from what I can see, that isn’t happening.

    Trading Montero for a solid back-end starter would be a complete and total abomination of a move.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Dead on.

    • http://www.itsaboutthemoney.net Brien Jackson

      If they trade Montero because 39 year old Jeter has to DH instead of sitting on the bench, I will go ballistic.

    • http://incumbentgm.wordpress.com Joe DiMaggio’s Ego-Ghost

      As dumb and Hank and Levine may be, I don’t think they’re that dumb. They might be willing to send Jesus packing for a Haren/Weaver type, which would be disappointing, but not someone who’d be at the back of the rotation.

      • Chris

        Haren/Weaver would be the Yankees number 2 starter right now. As much as I’d like to see Montero stick around, I’d have to pull the trigger for one of those guys. Sad thing is they could have gotten Haren last year without including Montero had they been willing to give up Joba.

        • Kevin Ocala, Fl

          “Oh don’t it seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. Haren or Weaver, NFW.

  • bpdelia

    I gotta criticize a bit here. On one hand RAB routinely berates the “sky is falling” hyperbole of fans who are worried about the team.
    Yet then I have to read a ridiculous article about how TERRIBLE everything is, how there is a new “top down” management style based on sketchy reporting of ONE player personell move in the last 5 years one that incidentally had nothing to do with a trade much less trading a top 5 MLB prospect.)

    Lines that imply it’s a forgone conclusion that Montero will be traded for Carlos Marmol or Kyle Lohse is just over the top hysterical hyperbole. Come on. We have nothing to indicate this will happen. The willingness to trade Montero was only for Cy Young quality pitching. YEs no one is untouchable but I don’t see the reason to start worrying. Montero doesn’t have to be a long term catcher. He has to catch until Tex’s contract is up when his is 27. That doesn’t seem so outrageous.

    This is over the top. The Soriano signing has been over reacted to and sent RAB into a spiral of self pity for no reason at all.

    We need to tone down the rhetoric BIG time here.
    This kind of piece is no better than the people suggesting all is lost because we didn’t sign CLiff Lee. IT in fact is exactly the same exact from the opposite perspective.

    Disappointing.

    • Ted Nelson

      +1

    • Poopy Pants

      TROLL! Write ‘good job’ or go away!?!

    • twac00

      And by then Gary Sanchez will be more than ready to take over the full-time catching duties.

    • the Other Steve S.

      And don’t forget. Mitre is only 2 games worse than Petitte.

  • Phil Privitera

    I believe the Yankees are looking at Gary Sanchez as the catcher of the future. Montero’s spring will determine alot on what the thought process will be for him.

  • Ted Nelson

    Is this a Red Sox blog or a Yankees blog? This is an irritating and pessimistic article that I really don’t appreciate.

    I don’t really understand your point in righting this article. No, Jesus is not “untouchable.” The Yankees also don’t need to trade him just to pick up a mediocre #3 starter, though. And it’s not an excuse to tear an extremely successful organization a new one over mostly made up short-comings.

    They have not just been dangling his name out there for any pitcher available… they’ve offered him for 2 of the very best in the game.

    “But a package centered around Chamberlain and Montero could net a front-line starter.”

    A front-line starter has to, you know, actually be available for this to happen. They don’t really grow on trees and the Yankees are not trading Jesus for Joe Saunders. They can get a Joe Saunders (or a lot better) with lesser prospects than Jesus. If other teams are offering B- prospects you don’t suddenly by-pass all your B, B+, A-, and A prospects to offer your A+ prospect.

    “The problem arises when we consider how few of the elder position players will be leaving anytime soon. In 2013, for instance, A-Rod will be 38, Jeter 39, Teixeira 33, and Cano (assuming he re-signs) 30.”

    This is a perfect argument for keeping Jesus and keeping the window open. Trading Jesus for an old guy would effectively be slamming the window shut. Even as A-Rod and Jeter get old and expensive, Tex, Cano, Granderson, Gardner, Montero, Martin… all these guys can be right in their prime years.

    “The Yankees’ continual difficulty in developing viable position prospects,”

    Jeter, Posada, Cano, Gardner are on the team right now. 4/9 of the line-up. Thames and Nick Johnson were also Yankee developed guys in the line-up last season. Montero is on his way. Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, Eduardo Nunez, Slade Heathcott, Brandon Laird, David Adams… Austin Jackson, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Lowell, Dioner Navarro, Christian Guzman, Jose Tabata, Wily Mo Pena, Juan Rivera… Doesn’t seem that difficult.

    “On the Yankees, either player would’ve been packaged by now for Carlos Marmol.”

    Yeah, because that happened with Cano, right? It happened with Posada. It happened with Jeter. It happened with Brett Gardner… Wait, is there an instance of this ever happening? Even the great Melky Cabrera was given a chance for a couple of years.

    “Hank or Levine or Newman will propose it, and Cashman will balk. Making his stand to the Yankees’ brass, he’ll detail the folly of trading away young, cheap, premium position players who might one day flourish into young, cheap superstars. But judging from the new top-down decision-making process that seems to have taken hold of the current regime, his case will likely fall upon deaf ears.”

    Where did you come up with this load of crap? Signing one relief pitcher does not signal that there is a new process in place. In fact, Cashman was not given autonomy until George stepped down. This is the regime that has let him make more decisions.

    • bpdelia

      exactly. It’s not a great piece. IT’s inflamed rhetoric with no basis i reality. None of the dire predictions contained in this piece have happened in the last 20 years.

      THE ONLY TWO instances of top prospects being traded recently is the Ajax trade (and that was a reasonable trade operating under the assumption that the toolsy Jackson may never develop the power of Granderson and didn’t have the base stealing ability or OBP potential to be a top notch lead off hitter)

      And the Jose Tabata deal. The Tabata deal was crappy but at the time Tabata was a struggling prospect who had been benched and quit, was being outed for being 3 years older than originally thought and had NUMEROUS personal and makeup issues that lead to serious questions on whether he would ever reach anything approaching MLB regular status.

      I generally really appreciate the reasoned and well argued analysis on this site but this is a bridge to far. THis piece is the equivalent of the screaming hysterics of the sillier fan sites. This is simply the sabermetricly inclined version of the spoiled yankee fan sky is falling syndrome you get from less reasoned sites.

    • bpdelia

      Yeah I agree with Bex et al. The only people that Montero will be traded for are people who are not available. JJ, Felix, Price, Lincecum, Lester etc.

      WE tried to tried him for Halladay a couple of years ago when he hadn’t yet had any success at AAA.

      WE tried to trade him for Lee when he had been struggling at SWB.
      Now he mashed at AAA as a 20 year old. HE won’t be moved. I’m utterly confident this nightmare scenario won’t happen.

      Everyone needs to chill. Before it was RAB telling everyone to relax about this season. NOw we need to tell the people ready to jump off the cliff based on ONE signing to relax

  • Meat Loaf

    Buck You, Frock. Scared the crap out of me. Great piece!

  • Mykey

    Why are we bracing for the impact of trading Jesus? Does a faulty rotation really mean anything in that regard? The Yankees have stated several times that they would start the season with the rotation we have. I understand the obstacles, but I just don’t see us messing with this kid. At least not at this juncture.

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

    But a package centered around Chamberlain and Montero could net a front-line starter.

    If we could get someone like Felix or Lester for just Joba and Montero – and no, that would never ever happen – I’d do that in a hot second and do 17 dances of joy after.

    • crapmaster general

      As high as I am on Montero – which is only gleaned from what I am told about his potential – I remember being equally excited about Ruben Rivera. This was, according to no less than Reggie Jackson, one of the greatest hitters to come out of the minors in forever. I remember being completely terrified he would become a Sheffield type player for the Padres, though I must admit at the time I was psyched to get Irabu – who also appeared to be a pretty great score.

      I don’t have a crystal ball, and again – I only know what I’m told as far as it relates to prospects. I’d be excited to watch Montero blossom into a catcher as great as Posada – but I’d be no less surprised if he became the next Hensley Meullens. So while I’d prefer he was kept and given a chance, I don’t know if I can fault any team for dealing a hot prospect for a sure thing like a Lester – even if the idea is more than somewhat implausible.

      • bpdelia

        Yeah but that was Jackson a team employee. Yes Rivera, Meulens, Buhner, Pasqua were hyped but only by the yankees.

        The prospects who were universally heralded as can’t miss guys all panned out.

        That list for the yankees is short. The only can’t miss guys I remember in my35+ years as a fan are:
        Roberto KElly productive player
        ANdre RObertson very sad disaster injury

        Brien Taylor heart breakingly bad luck
        Bernie WIlliams superstar

        Gerald WIlliams productive player. But the reason I am always skeptical of “toolsy” guys who don’t have at least one stand out skill

        Derek Jeter HOF

        Phil Hughes productive

        JOba Chamberlain productive/injury

        Montero Best prospect the yankees have EVER had aside from Brien Taylor and Jeter.

        Really Taylor, Montero and JEter are the only prospects the yankees have had since Mantle who were universally regarded as can’t miss stars.

        THe next list of guys were guys who the yankees were high on but who other teams were skeptical of
        Pat KElly
        Sam Millitello
        Eric Milton
        Scott Kamieicki
        JEff Johnson
        Wade Taylor
        HEnsley Meulens etc.

        • bpdelia

          forgot Hughes.

          The best yankees prospects would probably be in order:

          Brien Taylor
          JEsus Montero
          Derek Jeter
          Phil Hughes
          Bernie Williams

          That is really the extent of the yankees league wide regarded can’t miss guys and that list looks pretty damn good.

          • Ted Nelson

            I think people tend to view these things with hindsight and put undue weight on what actually came to be.

            Ruben Rivera (’95 BA’s #2 prospect, ’96 #3). Nick Johnson (’00 #5). Joba Chamberlain (’08 #3). Matt Drews (’96 #12).

            Derek Jeter (’95 #4, ’96 #6). Brien Taylor (’92 #1, ’93 #2). Phil Hughes (’07 #4). Bernie Williams (’91 #11).

            Eric Milton (’98 #25). Russ Davis (’94 #26).

        • Kevin Ocala, Fl

          Jay Buhner had a hell of a good career. Sam Millitello, in Bill James’ season preview (Millitello’s debut year)was called, ‘the absolute definition of a blue chip prospect’. I have most of his books since the early ’80’s in my house. Not that I can usually actually find them ;)

          Your forgetting a few guys after Mantle: Bobby Murcer, Roy White, Thurman Munson and I “know” I’m missing a few. Murcer was definately more hyped than Montero. All three were closer to HOF standards than most fans realize.

          • Ted Nelson

            Don Mattingly

            • Kevin Ocala, Fl

              yep, and a 19th round pick to boot. one more reason not to get hysterical over losing a pick for Soriano…

  • Matt

    I was just over on ESPNs website and they have this Mets reporter Adam Rubin tweeting about Oliver Perez starts in the Mexican winter league and about some scrub left fielder they signed, Willie Harris with a career .650 OPS. I don’t know whether these tweets are funny or just sad but I do know the Yankees could start 5 Mitre’s and things would still be better than they are in Flushing.

  • David

    If Montero is as good as many believe (hope?) he is, he has an enormous opportunity. There just isn’t much in his way. Posada is done. Cervelli is a replacement level player. Martin’s last couple of years have been awful. He has plenty to prove. The Yankees would love it if Montero would seize the job. I believe that he will get that chance, and if there is a trade for a pitcher it will be via multiple other pieces from areas of excess, something like Joba, Noesi, Romine or Adams, depending upon who would come back. Even that is contingent upon whether Andy comes back, and I believe he will.

    • Monteroisdinero

      Posada is done-see my post below.

  • KDB

    This article sounded like a precursor to another one in a few weeks
    explaining why the 1980’s Yankees weren’t really a horror show. If trading away the farm is the way they’re going to go “again” then welcome to a decade or more of mediocrity.

  • YankFanDave

    All sports writing is speculative and that is what makes it fun but to turn the Soriano signing into a “new top-down decision-making process” is a bit much. First, we bashed Cashman for pulling the trigger on this deal and lying to us just days before when he stated no signings that would lose a draft pick (me included); then, we began to bemoan the new era of top down decision making; and, most recently, it was all Mariano Rivera’s doing.

    Management will always have a hand in player personnel moves, players will always make suggestions, and fans will always over-react.

    As the dust settles, the signing helps the team and the fact is they can afford it. Everything else is conjecture at best.

    • Jess

      And you are basing this “concern” on what exactly? The Soriano signing where we didn’t trade any prospects and made the team better? Are you saying the FO are idiots now because they signed Soriano? Honestly I have no idea what you are saying.

      You are simply whining about something that doesn’t need to be whined about. Sorry, but a pointless knee-jerk reaction article. I hope you write less speculative ones in the future.

      • Jess

        Whoops, that was a reply to someone else and not you. Sorry.

  • Smith

    Unless landing King or JJ, Montero will be not required the piece of trade, because Yankee’s farm is so strong to enough for making any one.

    Montero will be a resolution for aged line-up. Plz, don’t overlook that fact, Cash. Your cash-fluid is already hell-like.

    So this title should change other one.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I wish Posada (nothing personal) finished his career/contract last year. Montero will put up better numbers for 12.5M less and his bat should be in there everyday as he shares catching with Martin and maybe a bit of Cervelli.

    Sado is clogging things up.

  • KyleLitke

    Well written article but I have to disagree with some of it.

    1. I’d question the idea of “The Yankees have already shown their willingness to part with Montero on multiple occasions…”. As far as I know, we only know of two, which is the Lee deal (that one is a definite fact) and the Montero for Halladay one for one offer (not sure if anyone has ever confirmed it but I think it’s a safe bet). The only other time I’ve even heard it rumored that he was “offered” for anyone was Soria, and I’ve always questioned that being true. So to recap, as far as we know they were willing to go one for one to get the best pitcher in baseball, and were willing to include him for Lee, one of the top pitchers. Are they open to the idea of trading him, obviously yes, but the intent of that line makes it sound like they’re looking to trade him or something. Those two were very special circumstances unlikely to be repeated prior to, maybe, the offseason after 2011 and I’m not even sure about that.

    2. “Assuming they insist on finishing ahead of Toronto in 2011, acquiring a reliable, if unsexy, starting arm will far outweigh all other concerns going forward.” – Yes, they have a major problem at the back end of the rotation. But right now the Yankees have the best, or at worst second best (after Boston) offense in baseball, and one of if not the best bullpen in baseball. In addition they have a definite ace in CC Sabathia and a solid young pitcher in Phil Hughes. Burnett is a big question mark but I wouldn’t count on him being as bad as last year (Not saying I’m counting on him being worth the money or as good as 2009 even, but not as bad as last year). Still two big holes, but what makes anyone think they’re somehow behind Toronto, right now, even if they don’t make a single other move? I wouldn’t expect Toronto to hit a billion home runs again next year, a couple of their guys had flukey seasons, frankly, and their offense wasn’t all that great because they sucked at getting on base. Right now I think the Yankees are the second best team in the division and probably the wild card, without adding a starter. Injuries could change that, but I don’t assume injuries since they can hit any team.

    3. “In fact, in retrospect, it was delusional to think the Yankees could win a World Series championship last year…” – I TOTALLY disagree with this. The Yankees got to Game 6 of the ALCS. Let’s play pretend for a second. We won’t even say Hughes pitches well in Game 6, but let’s say the Yankees actually hit Colby Lewis (like they should have) and manage to win a slugfest in Game 6. Game 7 is Andy Pettitte VS (I think) Tommy Hunter. You’re telling me the Yankees can’t win that game? It’s delusional to think that? And if they get to the World Series, all bets are off. Maybe the Giants beat them, maybe the Yankees knock their starters around, we’ll never know.

    4. “But a package centered around Chamberlain and Montero could net a front-line starter.” – Okay, here’s my challenge to you. Last month I went through every single team and looked at their starters. Find me one pitcher who would be a front line (say, ace or #2 starter) in the AL East that is even potentially available. I can’t come up with one except maybe Chris Carpenter (who has other problems and I would absolutely not trade Montero for him). Garza and Greinke were already traded and every other front line starter isn’t a free agent for at least 2 years and isn’t making tons of money (i.e., not much of a reason for a team to trade them). People say they want to trade for a front line starter a lot but they’re not always available. We don’t know what the GMs are thinking, but common sense says most of them aren’t being moved simply by looking at the circumstances. Maybe after this offseason, since a few are free agents after 2012 and it’s possible their team will have a poor year, but right now it looks very, very unlikely that one is even available.

    5. “And with the DH rotation set to be occupied by Posada, Jeter, and Rodriguez for at least the next half-decade…” – Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Posada is the DH for one year only and then is a free agent. Could he be resigned cheap? Sure, but I personally don’t think he will be unless he has a great year, is willing to sign a very cheap deal for one year, AND Montero has already been traded. A lot of ifs and maybes there. As for the other two, Jeter isn’t moving off shortstop anytime soon. Is he good there, no, but the Yankees don’t really have anyone that can play great defense and hit at all (Nunez has to show he can hit better first, I’m not impressed with his minor league numbers frankly, not enough to make the guy the starting shortstop). And the fact is, enough people don’t care about defensive metrics that Jeter isn’t looked at as a disaster at short. Unless injuries force it on him, I think he’ll be the shortstop for the next 4 years, not a DH. Alex may very well be the same. He’s lost a step at 3rd, no question, and if the hip issues continue then maybe he will need to DH, but for now, I’m not ready to immediately write him off as the permanent DH for the next 7 years. If Montero really can’t catch (and I’ve heard people outside the organization say that while he’s unlikely to ever be a good catcher, he could be passable enough for the bat to more than make up for it), then I think he can be the DH, perhaps filling in at first and maybe even occasionally catching.

    Like I said, it was a well written article, just disagree with some of the points. I don’t disagree with all of it, I think the Yankees have botched their management of some minor leaguers, and a lot of the core players are signed for an awful long time as well. But that’s MORE of a reason to keep Montero. If he can stick anywhere on the team, that’s a cost controlled guy that would enable the Yankees to use the money they’d save at his position to cover for their older guys elsewhere.

    • bpdelia

      exactly. But I have to disgree that it was “well written” I don’t wanna be a jerk here but the fact that you, I, Ted and others were able to put together coherent 5 point refutations of the pieces logic means it isn’t well written. It’s not thought out long enough or argued well. I’m willing to bet this piece was thrown off in a moment of anger and despair and that the writer will come to his senses and see that it’s really not a sound argument and that it is, again, merely overheated rhetoric and hyperbole with no sound reasoning behind it

    • Kevin Ocala, Fl

      Kyle, if Cashman had traded Montero for Garza the Boss would have come out of the Box. This talk of Garza being an “Ace” is pure BS. He’s a younger version of Burnett who may or may not turn into something. Regardless of what position Montero winds playing damn few pitchers in baseball will be more valuable than Montero over the next 5 years, and going further out probably nobody. I’ve read a lot of baseball analysis over the last 3+ decades and that combined w/ what I’ve read from non-Yankee analysts suggests that Montero could have a HOF caliber bat. And I am not one that gets drippy over prospect hype. Hell, I remember reading when he was 18 that he had “light-tower power”. And let’s not forget that plenty of young catchers have been moved to the outfield.

  • Kevin Ocala, Fl

    How many pitchers, in 5 year blocks, will have the value that Montero is projected to have? And never mind the position arguement, Ted Williams, Miguel Cabrera, Manny “The Dog” Ramirez,and Big Papi to name just a few were never superlative fielders. Hitters that have(yes, I know, this is speculative) slash lines of .300/.380/.500 before let’s say, 23 usually wind up in the HOF. And that seems to be a consensus of opinion on Montero for the last 2 years. Pitchers, even the best of the young ones can, to borrow Graig Nettles’ line “go from Cy Young to Sayonora” at any time.

  • bpdelia

    I’m generally bearish on prospects. I’ve seen MOntero play 5 times though and he really is man amongst boys at the plate. DId he look stiff at c? Yeah he looked bad.

    In my opinion I don’t see any reason he can’t be Piazza Lopez bad behind he plate. If you have a catcher who (lets be conservative here) hits 280/355/500. What defense can you live with? Lets say he has TWICE as many passed balls as the avg c. How many runs does that lead to over a season? 10? Probably less. Counting his throwing and catching how many runs below average can he POSSIBLY be? How many runs above avg will his O be? It just seems absolutely plausible to me that he can catch for5 years at least.

    The model is V Martinez. I like the idea of him catching at first and slowly over 5 years becoing a c/1b/dh type. In fact I like the versatility that affords.

    Catcher defense is over valued. Yeah teams are running more but it isn’t 1984 out there. I don’t see Tim Raines,Henderson, COleman type base stealing ever coming back. As far as passed balls? It’s not a huge factor in a long season.

    And calling games is something that can be learned regardless of how tall or inflexible you are.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I think Montero has a big upside as a catcher. He can improve and is simply not as bad as folks have heard in years past. He will not be following Pudge in his prime as the yankee catcher. Cervelli/Posada were, at best, average.

  • Bart

    In 2012 someone will likely emerge, as a starter, from the trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman and Manny Banuelos.

    Why trade Montero for a starting pitcher when the Yankees may have an internal solution to their starting pitching needs in a year or so?

    • Brock Cohen

      Exactly. My concern is that the higher-ups can’t see the forest for the trees.

      • Jess

        And you are basing this “concern” on what exactly? The Soriano signing where we didn’t trade any prospects and made the team better? Are you saying the FO are idiots now because they signed Soriano? Honestly I have no idea what you are saying.

        You are simply whining about something that doesn’t need to be whined about. Sorry, but a pointless knee-jerk reaction article. I hope you write less speculative ones in the future.

  • Preston

    If Montero can develop into a legitimate big league catcher and lives up to a fraction of his offensive potential than he might be one of the rarest things in baseball. How many legitimate middle of the order bats are there at catcher; Mauer, Mcann, Posey? He doesn’t have to develop into Miguel Cabrera to be one of the top catchers in the league. Nobody we trade him for can offer his upside.

    At the same time I don’t subscribe to the idea that if we’re going to trade him it has to be now while his stock is high. If a 21 year old kid with his type of ability struggles for a year at the big league level teams won’t give up on his talent. And while the Yankees might not be able to find a long term home for Montero anywhere but catcher doesn’t mean other teams can’t. Other teams we trade Montero to would probably already view him as a 1B/DH type and maybe an occasional catcher. Justin Smoak struggled at the big league level with Texas last year but still was valued enough to be the center-piece of a Cliff Lee trade.

    Give it some time, if we decide two months into the season that he can’t catch enough to make the big club and we have no room for another DH type than we can move him. Teams will be falling out of contention and more amenable to trading there big league pieces then anyway.

  • Mike HC

    I respect this opinion piece, but disagree with many of the speculative, slightly inaccurate and seemingly flippant comments made in the article.

    (I started to go over them all, but it got tedious and forgot why I cared about pointing them all out.)

    I guess just leave it at the fact that you give the Yankees organization and even their fans (me, us) far less credit than they deserve in almost every aspect of the post.

  • NYYROC

    If the NYY are considering trading Montero I’d leave him @ C because a power hitting catcher would bring a lot in a trade. But if the NYY are committed to him they should move him to RF. It is Montero’s bat that makes him special, not his D. If he were to play RF he could play 150 games a year for 15 years. As a C he’d play maybe 120 games a year for maybe 10 years or so. Catchers take a beating. Look at Mauer. He’s a great hitter, still young, but he’s already missing time due to injuries. The Twins are probably looking for a new position for him down the road.
    If Montero were a Johnny Bench type of defender I’d leave him at C because that kind of D is a weapon. But he is projected to be an average ML catcher at best. That is not worth losing 1000s of ABs and years off of his career.

  • Tank Foster

    Very well-written article, and while there’s no guarantee the Yankees’ front office is thinking this way, this is _precisely_ the way they do think and operate, at times anyway.

    If I could perform a Jedi mind trick on the Yankees front office, it would be something like “it is ok for the Yankees to finish 2nd or 3rd for the next 3-4 years….we will rebuild sensibly, not waste resources, and not throw good money after bad.”

    I don’t know how the current team, with the wrong-side-of-thirty infield providing the majority of the offensive punch, and all locked into contracts, can expect to do anything except tread water or decline a little over the next 3 years.

    To me, this is the perfect opportunity to develop a player like Montero. If he is going to be an elite player, he is still going to need a minimum to 2 years at the MLB level to come into his own, and what better situation to do it in than one where he is a) surrounded by aging stars who can teach him, and b) where the team does not have the irrational urgency to win the pennant every year?

    If 4 or 5 years from now the team is much younger….maybe they develop decent players for the right side of the infield, have ARod DHing, have a strong young pitching staff with the Killer Bs, and Montero _does_ pan out and is in his prime….that would be the sensible thing to do.

    I think if they package up their prospects and get Felix Hernandez, I say he ends up toiling away on a team that won’t be able to win the division anyway, and if they succeed in eventually rebuilding, they will be rebuilt at a time when Sabathia and Hernandez are also on the wrong side of 30.

    I’m probably not making sense, but the basic point is that I think the best thing to do with the current team is to just be patient and not set our sights too high, and give ourselves a chance to grow a team with young, cheap talent.

    We don’t have to win every year.

    • Monteroisdinero

      We do have to win every year and we can with Montero.

      :-)

  • Jd

    I really am of the mind that Montero is better off coming up after The all-star break regardless of production. Is that what folks are thinking