The Jesus Montero SNAFU


Let’s start with something Kevin Goldstein wrote for ESPN today (Insider req’d)…

“[The Yankees] just don’t seem to trust their young players,” said one big league executive. “Look at what the Braves did. When they needed a warm body, they had no issue with calling on [Julio] Teheran or [Randall] Delgado, even though those guys weren’t fully big-league-ready.”

Nobody is saying to call up one of the new killer Bs for good, but to go through all of the machinations for [Brian Gordon] instead of leaning on what you already have for a handful of outings shows either a lack of confidence in their own prospects, or maybe more telling, an almost perverse fear of failure.

The same applies to position players, as the Jesus Montero situation showcases some of the unique variables that the Yankees are dealing with.

In nearly any other system, Montero would be a big leaguer and multiple scouts who have seen Montero play during his disappointing .291/.336/.414 showing at Triple-A say that there is a frustration and lack of effort to his game this year, with one talent evaluator just coming out and saying, “He looks like a player who knows he’s stuck in Pennsylvania.”

Do the Braves deserve credit for going with Teheran and Delgado in those starts? Sure, those were some ballsy moves. It’s also worth noting that they lost all three of those games and neither of the kids lasted more than 4.2 innings in any of the starts. I get why the Yankees signed Brian Gordon and I have no issue with it whatsoever, I explained that this morning. This has more to do with Montero, who is stuck in the minors because they want him to play everyday.

I mean … that’s fine, I get it, but I also don’t agree with it. The kid has 756 plate appearances at Triple-A to his credit and he’s a .290/.348/.480 hitter at the level. Robinson Cano didn’t hit that well in Triple-A, neither did Melky Cabrera or Bernie Williams or Jorge Posada or pretty much any position player the Yankees have called up in the last 20 years. Montero’s batting line this year is just a convenient excuse to leave him down more than anything else. If he’s doing that as a frustrated 21-year-old against Triple-A competition, what is he capable of after a deserved promotion?

All this stuff about him being frustrated and lacking effort isn’t a sign of some greater problem either, even though it will be spun that way. Have you ever been stuck at a job when you know there’s no promotion to be had? It freaking sucks, and situations like that often lead to people looking for employment elsewhere. It’s completely normal, and Montero’s frustration just shows he’s human, that’s it. He did what he had to do in Triple-A, let’s stop pretending he hasn’t and should instead be some kind of model person incapable of frustration and disappointment.

The Yankees are tilting at some serious windmills here. Whatever move they make will be scrutinized, whether they call Montero up or keep him down or trade him. That’s life. There’s an obvious path for him to get playing time in the big leagues which involves getting Frankie Cervelli‘s complete lack of positive impact off the roster and letting Montero serve as the backup catcher and part-time designated hitter. He could get four starts a week that way (two at catcher, two at DH), which is what the Yankees did with Posada a decade ago and how teams regularly broke in young players back in the day. There’s nothing unconventional here, the kid is so obviously ready and able to help. Stop fearing failure and let him do it.

Categories : Rants


  1. Dan Novick says:


  2. Mike Myers says:

    Are we past the super 2 timeline?

  3. Jeter Meter says:


  4. V says:

    “Have you ever been stuck at a job when you know there’s no promotion to be had? It freaking sucks, and situations like that often lead to people looking for employment elsewhere.”

    As a matter of fact… two interviews scheduled in the next two weeks ;-)

  5. Steve H. says:

    If you are trying to get promoted at work, even if you’ve been passed over before, shouldn’t you keep busting your ass and producing to force the issue?

    • Samuel says:

      You prob don’t have twenty other similar companies ready to obtain your services like Montero likely would.

      Heard that Giants called Yankees about Montero, but Giants were unwilling to trade Bumgarner. Astros also called willing to swap Wandy Rodriguez for Montero straight up.

      Obviously, many other baseball professionals like Montero’s ability.

      Whether he dumps it in Triple A or the majors, his trade value will suffer either way.

      Bring him up already and let him play.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Lol Bumgarner is not worth Montero? Ok, Sabean.

        • David, Jr. says:

          Montero is worth exactly what another team would give for him. The Giants are not a stupid organization. When Bumgarner came up he was rated with certain #1 starter potential, and he has had games in the majors where he looks like exactly that. I don’t think that would have been stupid by the Giants at all.

      • Steve H says:

        Except the Giants had no use for Montero long term. It never made any sense. Their best player is a catcher (who can actually catch) and their best prospect is a 1B.

        • David, Jr. says:

          Agree. Given the truth of what you say, why would they give up a young guy with #1 starter potential for Montero?

        • Samuel says:

          After what happened a few weeks ago, Posey will likely be moved out of the catchers position plus Belt can play outfield. Aubrey Huff is only signed thru next season (mistake by Sabean on two year deal), and Giants can get both Montero and Belt in same lineup.

          Posey isn’t catching any more this year anyway, so Montero is a definite upgrade over what they have now.

          And the Giants seem to develop much more pitching than position players, so why not trade a pitcher for a young hitter?

          • bexarama says:

            After what happened a few weeks ago, Posey will likely be moved out of the catchers position

            Really? That’d be foolish. I know they want to protect him, but that was just a freak thing. And they’d move him to 1B, which would block Montero anyway.

          • Steve H says:

            Nobody but the Yankees think Montero can catch. If the Giants are going to move Posey out from catcher because his bat is too valuable, they aren’t going to trade for Montero to put him at catcher. Belt is by all accounts terrible in the outfield. And you don’t trade for Montero for 3/4 of a season because Posey is out.

      • MannyGeee says:

        think they’d give Lincecum for him???


    • Rainbow Connection says:

      No! You’re supposed to act like a baby!
      That’s what today’s society is all about.
      If you don’t get what you want, act like a spoiled brat and the media will support you.

    • V says:

      Um… not necessarily.

  6. San Ramon Fred says:

    Great comments. Hopefully Brian is listening.

  7. Tom says:

    Montero was sent down to work on his catching and defense, not hitting. he will get called up when his CATCHING and DEFENSE are ready. The Yankees don’t need him now, and they can fill any ill-perceived “holes” in the offense through other means.

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      It can’t be much worse than Cervelli’s defense and at least Montero would make up for it with his bat.

    • Eric says:

      Color me as one of the few who is not outraged by this. If the Yankees view Montero as a catcher long-term, I understand them wanting him to get reps every day in the minors (while his struggles could hurt the big league team). Calling up Montero to DH and catch part-time seems similar to calling up Manny Banuelos to serve as a long reliever/spot starter. Would it help the team right now? Probably. Is it in their long-term interest to do so (as far as helping the development of the player)? Doubtful.

      I also see no problem with keeping Montero down while he is not setting the world on fire at the plate. It is very possible that he is bored, and his boredom is not helping his performance. But should the Yankees reward him for underachieving because of boredom? If he is indeed too bored to perform to his potential, wouldn’t he also be bored playing part-time in the majors (Maybe. We have no way of knowing, but the same amateur psychology could apply)?

      Or could there be another reason why Montero is struggling offensively? Maybe he’s struggling against pitchers who have figured out his weaknesses, and he has yet to adjust. I have no idea, but it’s at least plausible that his offensive struggles could be more than psychological in nature (sorry to appeal to authority here, but the Yankee organization could very well see something specific that is holding Montero back).

      I don’t see a grand conspiracy to repress Montero and hold him down solely for the purpose of protecting his trade value. If his defense still needs a lot of work at the AAA level, he would be an awful backup catcher (and the answer to the Cervelli problem should be acquiring a more competent backup, not Montero). If he’s not hitting well in the minors, why should we assume that he will hit well in the majors? Once again, Posada is setting a low bar, but the answer should be finding a better replacement instead of interrupting the development plan of a top prospect.

      We should be thinking long-term here. Yes, Posada and Cervelli are infuriating to watch at times. But if we want Jesus Montero to become the Yankees’ catcher of the future, we may have to wait a little. I’m not sure the Posada comparison is apt in this case. Posada was 25 the first season he saw significant major league time (1997), and may have been done developmentally. At 21, Montero may still have some learning or growing up to do.

      • jsbrendog says:

        all. of. this.

        unfortunately yankee fans are goddamned impatient and mostly irrational. which is why i hate them.

      • CS Yankee says:


        I don’t buy into the boredom deal…maybe short term, but he knows to get out of AAA, either traded or promoted, he has to be a professional and master his craft as that will be the only way to stick in the majors (regardless of teams).

        Yankees are being pelted with a lot of harsh words…Culver can’t switch-hit, Noesi is wasted in the pen, Joba can’t/must start, etc. They are clearly top 5 farm, top 1-2 every mid-season in aquiring discounted talents, and top 1-2 in reclaim projects.

        Montero I shed no tear for (yet)…it is all good.

        • JobaWockeeZ says:

          b> They are clearly top 5 farm, top 1-2 every mid-season in aquiring discounted talents, and top 1-2 in reclaim projects.

          That’s half of the equation. The other half is getting returns from the farm. The Yankees aren’t top 1-2 or top 5 for that matter.

          • CP says:

            They used the farm to acquire Granderson and Swisher, and Javy last year (although that turned into a bust, it looked good at the time).

            They also have filled most of their bullpen for the last 4 seasons with players from the farm.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Calling up Montero to DH and catch part-time seems similar to calling up Manny Banuelos to serve as a long reliever/spot starter.

        Come on. That’s apples to oranges. A pitcher like ManBan could do well with experience. He has little experience as a starter for an entire season. And they have innings limitations something that Montero doesn’t need to worry about.

        But if we want Jesus Montero to become the Yankees’ catcher of the future, we may have to wait a little.
        Why can’t he be called up now AND be the catcher of the future? He’s got Martin, Giardi and Pena to help him every day in catching even if he’s not playing. They’re better than some random coach at AAA.

        • Tom B says:

          Because those coaches have let Cervelli regress defensively for a 3rd year in a row now. There is not time at the major league level to babysit Montero.

      • Kit says:

        This is really well said, and not just because I agree.

      • Ana says:

        *stands up and claps*

      • fren says:

        If Montero had a weakness (you’re unlikely to find a scout that has anything negative to say about his bat) it would have been exploited in AA. Hell, if he had a “weakness” he probably doesn’t adjust and go on a rampage in the second-half of 2010.

        The catching position for the Yanks has been an offensive black hole for a month now (it includes defense on the unfortunate nights Cervelli catches). There’s nothing to lose here, he has a ~.750 OPS, it’s not as if he’s struggling mightily.

      • Eric says:

        Whoa, so many rhetorical questions, sorry guys.

  8. Monteroisdinero says:

    Player A: .337/.410/.748
    Player B: .339/.424/.763

    Golson outhitting Montero. Something is definitely wrong.

  9. Slade says:

    Is Cash keeping the B’s and Monte down bc struggles at the big league level could hurt their trade value?

    For some reason I think he might be looking to deal some of these guys this summer when/if someone becomes available.

    • Kiersten says:

      He’s keeping the B’s down because Brackman has generally sucked in AAA and Betances and Banuelos aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire in AA. Also, Banuelos is 20. Not because of potential trades.

      Even if Montero were to struggle in the majors, I don’t think that hurts his trade value. Most, if not all, prospects struggle in their first month up.

      • YankeesJunkie says:

        Yeah there has been no reason to call them up so far. They don’t have that much pitching experience especially AA or above. Secondly neither have dominated to earn a call up and are just going through some growing pains.

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      Who is/could be available though? I doubt they trade Montero for anything less than a #1 SP and there aren’t many of those on the market. This has to be constantly brought up… Montero was offered for Halladay and Lee, two of the premier SP in the game and not some scrubs. Those two are not available and neither is King Felix, Lincecum or JJ. Other than those 5 SP, there is no one else the Yankees should trade Montero for.

      • David, Jr. says:

        Disagree with this. Nobody is going to trade a true #1 straight up for Montero. We would need to give much more. Straight up, you would get maybe Liriano. Not saying I would do that, but about that level.

        • The BIG 3 says:

          LOL. Some of you guys are going to be shitfaced shocked if/when he is traded, and for what.

          No way a Montero gets Liriano. Now, or before when he was pitching like crap and Minnesota was losing every game. You’re comparing a potentially great number one to a potentially great hitting DH.

    • Kosmo says:

      Does anyone get the point ? Montero is not going to be called up to be a backup catcher ,parttime DH. I think the Yanks are being fair to Montero .How old is Montero ? 21 ? In the meantime as long as Posada shows he can still hit, there is really no place for Montero.
      He´s more than likely a September call-up unless Martin is seriously injured.
      Cervelli is not a tradeable commodity, scouts are quite aware at this time his value, which is next to nothing.

      • Kosmo says:

        This might be a bit if stretch but I seem to recall back in 1982 or so Boston traded for Carney Lansford ,all the while Wade Boggs was quickly hitting his way thru their system .Boston ended up trading Lansford to the A´s after just 2 seasons, to open up a position for Boggs .Boggs if I remember was 25 when he became the everyday 3B.Boggs was already an accomplished hitter by the time he was 22.
        Montero is 21 .Next year he´ll be the everyday DH and backup catcher.

        • nyyank55 says:

          Who is Montero going to back up next year? What everyone fails to understand is that Russell Martin is only signed for one year. That is the precise reason Montero should be in the bigs NOW. He should be showing the Yankees right now what he is or is not capable of doing. The Yankees are only going to kick themselves in the butt when Martin leaves for more money elsewhere and they will be force feeding Montero as a starting catcher. That is, of course, if they don’t trade him between now and then. Personally, I would hate to be a kid in the Yankee’s farm system. Even if there is no one blocking you, they just won’t trust the kids to get the job done. They would rather spend the money and buy an established player. I’ve been a Yankees fan all my life and nothing irks me more than to see a former Yankee farm hand develop into a star in some other uniform.

          • JohnnyC says:

            What you fail to understand is that Martin is still arbitration eligible and is therefore under the Yankees control through 2012.

            • CS Yankee says:


              I’ll also throw in that they have said that being the AAA catcher and playing six days a week at that position is better than playing once a week at catcher in the pros.

              You can disagree with that, but please acknowledge that a catcher takes more time to develop than any other position. He just might be the next Posada with a weaker glove, stronger (but longer, thus slower) arm and a stronger bat.

              The bread is still baking.

    • David, Jr. says:

      I agree with this, not for the B’s, but for Montero.

      I believe this may be a showcasing situation. Reasons: He has already been offered in trades at least once. It is a position of system depth. Signing of Martin.

    • jsbrendog says:

      obv cashman is raci$t

      • MannyGeee says:

        but but but Martin is French-Canadian and is Italian-Venezualian.

        did I just blow your mind up?

        • MannyGeee says:

          Ironically the closest thingwe have to an American catcher is Posada, and he’s a DH… and Puerto Rican.

          so there’s that.

  10. YankeesJunkie says:

    I agree. Montero is too good of prospect to spend nearly two full seasons in AAA alone. It is time to call up Montero, he can play 2-3 games as C and maybe 1 or 2 as DH. It hurts Russell Martin’s playing time, but it also keeps Martin fresh.

  11. Kiersten says:

    Can’t blame Montero. I, too, would be pissed if Francisco Cervelli had my roster spot. Hell, I’m just pissed that he has a roster spot on my favorite team.

    Also, I’m dumb, what is SNAFU?

  12. nick says:

    heathcott, murphy to Tampa FWIW

  13. zs190 says:

    I’ve thought about this a bit and I just don’t think they feel they have the two days at DH to give to him. Unless you are releasing Jorge, he has to play. He’s at .261/.350/.465 on the year vs RHP, that’s a pretty good line and it’s even better if you look at more recent numbers. Given Jorge’s track record and how he looked in recent play plus all the bad luck earlier in the year, I honestly don’t think Montero is better than Jorge right now vs RHP.

    The aging left side of the infield (Jeter and ARod) need their half days off probably at least once a week. You prefer to give them days off vs LHP because they are both RH hitters and Jorge seems better vs RHP. You also want to give Teix a half day off every once in a while and play Andruw Jones sometimes(this is not a major consideration, but it’s there).

    With an old roster like we have and an existing full-time DH, there is really not that much DH time that you can give to Montero right now. So even though they admit he’s better than Cervelli, they have not been willing to give him the backup catcher job due to lack of playing time.

    We also need to factor in how good our roster is offensively. Aside from Jeter right now, everyone else is either all-star caliber (Swish, Martin) or already playing at all-star level (ARod, Cano, Tex, Grandy, Brett). It’s hard for young hitting prospects to get playtime, especially someone without much defensive flexibility.

    • Tim says:

      Jeter shouldn’t DH, just sit him once a week for Nunez. That leaves Arod DHing once a week, Tex once every 2-3 weeks when there aren’t off days. There are plenty of days to split between Montero and Posada at the rest of the DH at bats.

      • zs190 says:

        Eh, Jeter even now is pretty good vs LHP. He’s a legit .400 OBP guy vs LHP consistently and I don’t have a problem DH’ing and having him leadoff against LHP. I don’t know how often they have DH’ed him vs RHP, anecdotally I can’t recall them doing it too often.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      The DH situation should clear up by next year once Posada’s contract is up. However, it is nice to see him finally starting to hit, sadly he still has a -.2 WAR and now a .260 BABIP.

      • zs190 says:

        Absolutely, there is no doubt in my mind that Montero will come up in September and next year when Jorge’s contract is up. Jorge’s number vs LHP is still atrocious but his numbers against RHP are pretty respectable now and getting better now that his BABIP is regressing to the mean. It’ll probably always be a little lower just because he’s such a slow guy.

      • first time lawng time says:

        WAR is a theory, not a legit stat. Posada has been hitting much better the past month and a half. I don’t need WAR to tell me that.

        • WAR is a theory, not a legit stat.

          Hot bullshit. That’s not at all what I said to you. Don’t misappropriate my words to lend false legitimacy to your flawed reasoning.

          • first time lawng time says:

            I don’t care what you said to me and I don’t even remember what you said.

            I personally feel WAR is a theory, not a stat, since you cannot physically measure how many wins a player is worth.

            “Don’t misappropriate my words to lend false legitimacy to your flawed reasoning.”

            couldn’t you have just said, “don’t twist my words”?

            • Seeing as how I said to you, JUST YESTERDAY, MIND YOU, that WAR is a valid theoretical concept and fWAR and bWAR are two differing, legitimate stats to encapsulate that valid theoretical concept, I don’t buy your claim that you “don’t remember” what I said and that you’ve (independent of my words) come to the conclusion that WAR is a theory and not a “legit” stat.

              You heard what I said to you yesterday, reconfigured my statement to your fucked up version of it, and then parroted it back out.

              • first time lawng time says:

                Are you that arrogant to believe that I remember everything you’ve said to me, that I’m lying, and that everything you say is a fact and I can’t disagree with you?

                I believe WAR is a theory. Nothing you said influenced that decision. And I honestly didn’t even remember that conversation until you brought it up.

                And I don’t think that my opinion is “fucked up.”

                • The conversation was less than 24 hours ago. You don’t remember a conversation from the past 24 hours?

                  You don’t find it curious that you never mentioned your feelings about a difference between WAR the theory and WAR the stat until I introduced that very same dichotomy to the conversation in the past 24 hours?

                  • Ana says:

                    I’m surprised she remembers her own name, given the amount of mental effort she seems to put into things.

                  • first time lawng time says:

                    The conversation was less than 24 hours ago. You don’t remember a conversation from the past 24 hours?

                    You and I had multiple conversations yesterday. I do remember the ones in which you were being a dick, though.

                    You don’t find it curious that you never mentioned your feelings about a difference between WAR the theory and WAR the stat until I introduced that very same dichotomy to the conversation in the past 24 hours?

                    No, I don’t. You don’t find it arrogant that you act as though all the words you’ve said to me have a direct influence on my opinions?

                    • You don’t find it arrogant that you act as though all the words you’ve said to me have a direct influence on my opinions?

                      When you suddenly start using word patterns that you never started using before hearing me use them first a few days ago, then yeah, I don’t think it’s arrogant at all for me to assume that those word patterns were only in your head because I put them in your head.

                    • Klemy says:

                      There is a lot of sexual tension between you two. I think we all feel it.

              • The BIG 3 says:

                Well, this time she’s right. WAR is a theory since the value of its parts are theorized and specifically, defense itself is almost entirely theory.

                So there.

  14. Buck says:

    Montero is the Yanks one large trading chip and they’re terrified to take a chance and expose him to big league pitching. I’m hedging to believe the same thing with their pitching prospects.

    As one previous poster stated – his defense couldn’t possibly be any worse than Cervelli’s, otherwise, I think he’d be with the big leaguers.

    • Slade says:

      I agree that mgmt could be scared to show his flaws so openly on the MLB level. At least with Manny and Dellin there is a level between them and the show, but Montero has been 1 step away for a 1.5 yrs.

      I’m beginning to think that Montero’s callup is directly tied to Jorge. If they get rid of or lose Posada for a serious length of time Jesus could come up otherwise it may be Sept.

  15. Tim says:

    Please god get Cervelli off the team. He is terrible and I would love to see Montero for better or worse.

  16. nathan says:

    So, whats the long term plan here… is Russell Martin our long term catcher going forward, with Montero catching twice and DHing thrice a week next season. Where does this leave Romine. I guess Romine might be the one that gets traded.

    • CBean says:

      isn’t Martin a one-year contract?

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        They could non-tender him but they won’t since he’ll be cheap.

        • CP says:

          Martin will likely earn a little more than $5M this year. Looking ahead to next year, he’ll get a raise in arbitration that should put him at $6-7M or so. While not expensive, that’s not really cheap either.

          • YankeesJunkie says:

            Martin has already paid for himself then some this year already. All he needs to do the same next year is probably a 1.5 WAR so the Yanks would idiotic to not sign him again next year. Hopefully, by next year Russell and Montero can split catching time and Montero can hit DH a couple time a week and easily get 400 ABs.

          • MannyGeee says:

            $7M for a starting catcher in a division that showcases Saltalamaccia, John Jaso, Matt Wieters, and JP Arrencibia? sign me up.

            I would go as far as to say Martin is the best catcher ‘all around’ in the AL this year (considering the injuries to Mauer.) Martinez hits better, and others may be as good or better defensively, but all around Martin has been the guy this season.

      • nathan says:

        Isnt he still arb eligible, i dont think they wud wanna lose that.

  17. CBean says:

    i grow less hopeful of ever seeing Montero in the lineup with every week that passes.

  18. MikeD says:

    Posada spent three seasons in AAA, from age 22 through 24. He should have been called up at some point to stay in ’95 (especially considering that Mike Stanley was blocking him, and Stanley could never catch!), but then the Yankees traded for Girardi in ’96, so there was no spot for him, so back to AAA he went for a third season. In other words, the Yankees have done this before.

    I expect to see Montero called up in July after they release Andruw Jones to open up a roster spot. With Gardner’s solid season, and Dickerson and Golson available at the call, the Yankees will use Jones’ spot for Montero so they can see how he hits on the MLB level to replace Posada in 2012.

    He’s coming. Relax. (That is, unless they trade him!)

    • radnom says:

      Posada is not really the best comparison here. In ’94 (his first year in AAA), he was at 240/308/406 and missed a chunk of the season with a dislocated ankle. He clearly needed more time in AAA.

  19. CP says:

    Russell Martin in his last 153 PA (since April 26): .195/.320/.289/.609

    Sure, he’s been great behind the plate, but I think it’s about time for the Yankees to get some offense out of the catchers position.

  20. Mike says:

    GREAT post . .FREE MONTERO !!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Anthony Murillo says:

    I do think there is something to the Yankees being afraid to call up their prospects. The Yankees are not like every other team in baseball, whether we wish them to be or not. The Yankees are always expected to make the playoffs and I don’t think they’ll ever turn to prospects when a proven player is out there on the free agent market or via trade.

    Is that the right course of action to take? Probably not.

  22. Guest says:

    “There’s an obvious path for him to get playing time in the big leagues which involves getting Frankie Cervelli‘s complete lack of positive impact off the roster”

    Well played Mauer…I mean Axisa. Excellent turn of phrase. (I like Frankie, but yeah, he’s not really bringing anything to the table).

    One thing that really gets me about the “he needs to play everyday” thing is…didn’t we break in Jorge by having him work in a time share with Girardi? That seemed to work out alright.

    And as for the “he’s down in the minors to work on his defense” argument, it’s time to face facts. Jesus Montero can spend the rest of his life in the minors working on his defense and he will never be a good defensive catcher. Ever. He has physical limitations that preclude him from being one.

    My understanding is that he has made strides to improve to the point where he is simply a bad defensive catcher rather than an atrocious one. I posit that “bad defensive catcher” might just be his cieling. No point in wasting his bat down there hoping he will improve on something that is not likely to improve much further.

    And you know what? The fact that he is a bad defensive catcher isn’t the end of the world when you consider the value of his bat. Mike Piazza was a bad defensive catcher, and that seemed to be just fine with the Dodgers and the Mets. Jorge’s a bad defensive catcher…and also a integral member of 5 World Champions.

    And our current back up catcher is a bad defensive catcher who is an offensive black hole.

    Call him up.

    • first time lawng time says:

      Jesus Montero can spend the rest of his life in the minors working on his defense and he will never be a good defensive catcher.

      Exactly. I don’t see how he can improve. And we have Martin as our everyday catcher and he’s pretty good defensively. I’d rather have a poor defensive backup catcher who can hit than one who can neither hit nor field.

      • Steve H says:

        Jesus Montero can spend the rest of his life in the minors working on his defense and he will never be a good defensive catcher.

        Does not equal

        Exactly. I don’t see how he can improve.

  23. NYYROC says:


  24. Xstar7 says:

    Montero is only 21. He’s way ahead of the curve. There’s no rush.

    • Guest says:

      But he has 756 PA at AAA and nothing left to prove or learn in the minors.

      There has to be a better reason to leave him in the minors than just his age.

      • YankeesJunkie says:


      • But he has 756 PA at AAA and nothing left to prove or learn in the minors.

        Except for how to catch well enough so as not to be a disastrophe behind the plate.

        • first time lawng time says:

          Cervelli is a disastrophe. I think Montero could provide more value.

          • Cervelli is a backup catcher. How good or bad he is should have no bearing whatsoever on when the right time is to promote Jesus Montero. The right time to promote Jesus Montero should be judged based solely on how ready the club thinks Jesus Montero is, not by how crappy the backup catcher’s tripleslash is. He’s just a backup catcher. Big fucking deal.

            Let me say that again, louder, for emphasis.

            The right time to promote Jesus Montero should be judged based solely on how ready the club thinks Jesus Montero is, not by how crappy the backup catcher’s tripleslash is. He’s just a backup catcher. Big fucking deal.

            • Guest says:

              But TSJC, Montero is a large, unathletic man who has logged hundreds of innings behind the plate in the minors already. How much better do you really think he’s going to get behind the plate if he logs hundreds more minor league innings? I mean, that’s not going to make him any less large or any more athletic.

              And, as I understand it, he and the Yankee farm coaches have worked very hard on improving his defense behind the plate. He’s better than he was, but he is not improving this year. Maybe that’s because he’s hit/near his defensive cieling?

              If that’s the case, and my guess is it is, he is either good enough to fake it behind the plate on a team that hasn’t exactly relied on good catcher defense for its success over the last decade…or he’s not. This is just not a situation that’s going to materially change if he keeps riding buses through Pennsyltucky.

              So call him up or change his position. Stop making him ram his head into a wall.

              • Guest, if you want to have a conversation about “Is Jesus Montero ready?”, I’m all for it.

                You disagree with the Yankee position that Jesus isn’t ready? I might even agree with you and say that yes, he is ready.

                How shitty Frankie Cervelli is is irrelevant to that convo, though, because he’s just a backup catcher. The marginal upgrade of a better backup catcher isn’t worth delaying/hampering the development of a prospect. Having a shitty backup catcher is not a national emergency. If you want to claim there’s no development of the prospect left and he’s forced the club’s hand, that’s a fine and worthy discussion, but don’t put the cart before the horse.

                The question should be 100% about Montero’s readiness and 0% about Frankie’s suckiness.

              • MikeD says:

                The real answer is Montero is not a catcher, should not be a catcher, and if he was in another system they would have moved across the defensive spectrum from the hardest and most critical defensive position, catcher, to the easiest, first base. They seem unwilling to do that because they have Teixeira there (good reason) and probably because they fear it will diminish his trade value.

                I said this two years ago and nothing has changed. The Yankees should start giving him starts at first, but not abandon catcher, call him up as a part-time catcher and firstbaseman where he can play forty or fifty games in the field, and then DH him another 100 games. He gets plenty of ABs while not being limited to DH, and if he turns out to be decent with the glove at first (a possibility moving across the spectrum), then they have their replacement for Tex when Montero is still only in his mid-20s. By having Montero DH in about 100 gamees, it still leaves the DH slot as a rotation position to rest A-Rod, Jeter or whomever.

              • CS Yankee says:

                I don’t think Montero has reached his ability behind the plate, due to the following;

                1) Pena, Joe and everybody said during ST that he was miles ahead of where he was in 2010 defensively.
                2) He seemed decent behind the dish early in ST and blocked well with good lateral movement.
                3) Joe stated that after Cerv’ got hurt Austin shined but Montero was “pressing”.

                Take these comments, add in the history of transforming a similar kid int a decent near HoF (bat wise) into a starting catcher and that he is only 21…WTF? I’ll give them the benefit of doubt.

        • Montero's Agent says:

          Jorge say’s hello.

  25. infernoscurse says:

    heres all i will say

    a sluggish slumping not hitting to expectations delmon young netted the rays matt garza

    i doubt his value would diminish and cant net us something similar to garza down the road

    with that said, ive watched montero ctch a lot this year and he doesnt seem like he is going in the right direction like he was last year

    but i agree that i hate this team doesnt give more chances to their players, even guys like JoVa who at the time was killing the ball they didnt seem fit to bring him up and run with that, not giving david phelps the start was just wrong

    they seem to only give a shot when their backs are against the wall and theres no mediocrity out there to plug a hole and even that when they do bring a player they make him rot in the bullpen or bench like noesi and melancon

  26. Kenny Faust says:

    Tell it, brother.

  27. fubar says:

    A year for now, when Montero is tearing it up on the big league squad, all of this will be forgotten.

  28. Favrest says:

    Russell Martin is doing a good job for us overall. To call Montero up to catch one game a week, and to DH off and on might actually stunt his growth as a catcher. They Yankee brass sees him as the catcher of the future. Not as a DH, or he’d be here now.

  29. FIPster Doofus says:

    If Montero doesn’t get called up soon, he’s just gonna stop showing up to work a la Peter Gibbons from “Office Space.”

    • Ted Nelson says:

      All the great players in MLB history just didn’t do well when they were unhappy. Trademark of every HOF player was playing poorly.

  30. Jorge says:

    I always felt the team should have sold as high as possible with Martin back in May and, then, bit the bullet with Montero full-time. I just don’t know if the 2011 Yankees are willing to take that sort of chance out of the risk that Montero won’t immediately light the world on fire and they’re stuck with starting catcher, Frankie Cervelli. This team just doesn’t seem willing to let young players have their growing pains unless there’s literally no other choice.

    Not that he’s the same kind of prospect, but Kevin Whelan found himself back in Scranton one appearance after walking the world his first time in front of major league pitching. Maybe it did lead the team to give up early on Melancon, Dunn, Clippard, etc., although I tend not to lose sleep over any of those guys, and I’m beginning to digress.

    • AndrewYF says:

      “I always felt the team should have sold as high as possible with Martin back in May”

      Yeah, and I always felt that everyone should have sold their stocks at their peak in 2000.

  31. first time lawng time says:

    Get him up here. The whole “we want him to play everyday” is BS. Don’t most rookies not play everyday when they’re called up? I might be wrong, so don’t quote me on that.

    But if he were playing up in the majors everyday, I’m sure people would complain, saying, “Oh, he’s too young, he needs a break.”

    Mike said it perfectly. Let him play 2 catching. 2 DHing. Not that hard.

  32. rossdfarian says:

    So much for Cashman’s argument: ‘we’re just keeping him in AAA so he can play every day.’ Day game for SWB … guess who’s not in the lineup.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Day game after a night game, catcher usually gets day off.

      • rossdfarian says:

        Shouldn’t this be an excellent opportunity to evaluate how he can handle himself in those situations?

        Either way: Cervelli is a waste of roster space (and I lose days of my life every time there’s a runner on first base) … Montero should be in the majors.

        • AndrewYF says:

          “Shouldn’t this be an excellent opportunity to evaluate how he can handle himself in those situations?”

          No, because catchers almost never catch a day game after a night game. Unless you’re Joe Mauer and then you get injured.

    • CP says:

      ‘Every day’ does not mean literally every day. Payers get days off. Even every day players.

      • rossdfarian says:

        He’s missed plenty of playing time this year. He’s fresh. Showcase him or call him up.

        • What part of “every everyday player, particularly a catcher, gets scheduled days off for rest” don’t you understand?

          • CP says:

            I assume he’s referring to the time he missed for an eye infection. That ‘rest’ should be enough to carry him for the rest of the year, right?

            • JohnnyC says:

              By the same principle, I slept the entire weekend before the Ysnkees’ recent west coast road trip so I could stay awake for all the late night games…extra innings be damned if it came to that. I’m unemployed now.

          • Ana says:

            What part of “don’t mess up my narrative with your damn facts” don’t you understand?

          • rossdfarian says:

            The part where you’re a disrespectful person and should be banned from this website. Add insight, not insults.
            PS – Your name suggests you post a lot … perhaps you need a day off? Sit this one out, champ.

    • Ana says:


      • MannyGeee says:

        12 INNINGS.

        Make him catch 3 simulated innings before every game, just so he don’t get ‘rusty’…

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      He needs days off. He should be in a place where he can play five or so days a week. If he could DH three times a week and catch two, then yeah call him up…but Jorge’s hitting well and I don’t blame them for wanting to play Martin. They’re in a division race that’s tighter than a frog’s anus and their pitching staff’s been decimated. They need all hands on deck. When Jorge stops hitting, call the man up, until then…

  33. Dave says:

    The frustrating part of the way the Yankees deal with kids for me is that it really doesn’t matter how long you play at AAA, sooner or later if you’re going to be productive in the majors you have to take your lumps against the big boys. It’s tough because the Yankees have to win now, but as far as I can tell waiting doesn’t change things — whether you come up at 21 or 26 you’re going to have the same struggles against the guys who have been there already, and there’s no way to figure it out except do it.

    Montero is likely going to struggle in his first couple of hundred at bats whether he comes up now or in 2 yrs. There is no magic amount of time he can play at Scranton and then come up and be an immediate superstar. And if that’s true for a potential superstar like Montero, it’s even more true for guys who are likely going to be no better than pretty good. The only thing waiting does is postpone the time before they take their lumps.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Yes, that seems to be the Yankees’ mentality. And it’s overly cautious for only 1 reason: the mandate to win every year places everyone’s ass (including Cashman’s)on the line. You would think that an organization that’s won so much so often would be the last ones to have a huge fear of failure.

  34. JohnnyC says:

    Cashman must think other teams believe Montero is major league ready. After all, he’s offered him in deals for Halladay and Lee. The strong suspicion here is that Cash is keeping his trade value pristine. The irony, of course, is that no major league scout or executive is going to change his evaluation of Montero (or any other highly regarded prospect)based on a small sample of major league at bats or appearances. If they like them, they like them, period. In fact, there are organizations out there who probably believe they’re better at player development than the Yankees.


  36. Ana says:

    Honestly, I don’t see the big deal here. Martin’s offensive production has dropped off, but he’s a great defensive catcher and I don’t want to see that go away. Calling up Montero to DH would be expecting him to improve upon a .256/.338/.440 triple slash, including Jorge’s awful BABIP luck (ht @zs190), which if not unlikely is at least no slam-dunk. If it’s really the Yankees’ priority for him to play every day … and yes, the Yankees are much better suited to evaluate his needs as a player than we are … AAA is the least potentially obtrusive place for him to do so.

  37. Dave says:

    Maybe I’m being impatient, but my point is that it doesn’t matter how long the burrito sits in the microwave, sooner or later it’s going to have to come out of the microwave to get eaten, and if its a crappy tasting burrito it’s still going to be crappy tasting even if I cook it for the next 2 yrs.

    Even Cashman says Montero is better than Cervelli. From what I’ve seen of player development on the Yankees and other teams, Montero is going to taste better the same if he comes out of the microwave now or if he comes out in 2013, even if I only get to take a bite or two every week for a little while.

    • Pat D says:

      I think you went a bit overboard with that analogy.

    • Steve H says:

      Agree with most of this, but I do think there has to be some concern with the regression Montero has had this year with the bat. He is having a significantly worse year than last year in the same league, despite being a year older. If you flipped his 2010 and 2011 numbers, he would be forcing the issue and very possibly would be in NY already. I truly appreciate that you acknowledge he will struggle when first called up as many fans don’t quite grasp this. For that reason, I want to see him called up not as an “our offense is struggling panic move here comes the saviour” but more as a part time DH, maybe part time catcher, put him in the 8th spot and let him get his feet wet.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Agree with most of this, but I do think there has to be some concern with the regression Montero has had this year with the bat.

        It’s 252 PA’s. His OPS is .748, it’s not fucking .300. Yes it’s down but that’s not his offense capability.

        • Steve H says:

          His BB rate has dropped almost in half. His K rate has increased. His iso has dropped almost 100 points. His wOBA is down 46 points despite a 37 point increase in his BABIP to .359 which is very likely unsustainable, especially at the big league level. He is down across the board, significantly.

          His .748 OPS is not terrible, but it is a big regression from last year, no way around that.

    • the tenth inning stretch says:

      Great, now I have this weird starved craving for a burrito.

  38. AndrewYF says:

    The only way Montero comes up before September is if Martin or Posada go on the DL. What’s the point of having him play once every five days? As bad as Cervelli is, the upgrade is negligible.

    I kind of wish the Yankees would have at least tried him out in the OF, just so they could use him in this kind of situation. But honestly, it’s not a big deal.

    And the Yankees are ‘afraid’ of calling up their prospects? You did a good job of debunking that one in the first paragraph, but seriously, what top prospect are they supposed to have called up? It’s just a dumb rumor being perpetrated by Jon Heyman, who is one of the most unscrupulous junk journalists in the business.

  39. Ted Nelson says:

    Agree that comparing them to one other organization in Atlanta tells us nothing. Weak argument from Goldstein. The Yankees take just as much crap for over-relying on prospect in the past like Hughes and IPK.

    Besides playing every day, I speculate that the Yankees want Jesus to mature and work out the kinks in his game. “I don’t want to be here, so I will play like crap” is not an acceptable attitude. Especially for someone that few people think can play defense. It’s also a cop out. Any player who does poorly 2/3 of the time (half a season of good play in 1,5 seasons so far at AAA) at a level can just cop out as being “bored.” Suck it up, pound the ball, and your chance will come. Why is he going to be any less bored playing once or twice a week in NY? Why is he going to be any less bored even as a full-time MLB player? My guess is that has more to do with it than playing every day, and playing every day is mostly PR speak by Cashman.

    • Pat D says:

      KLaw agrees.

      “Garrett (California)
      So when does Atlanta bring up Aroydis Vizcaino up for a spot start? I mean that their new MO for all their top pitching prospects right?

      Klaw (2:55 PM)
      I wish I knew why Wren wasn’t facing more criticism – although I guess he’s belatedly facing questions on the Uggla extension.”

  40. kenthadley says:

    “Have you ever been stuck at a job when you know there’s no promotion to be had? It freaking sucks”…

    If you are 20 or 21 and the disappointment is such that you let it affect your performance, sorry, grow up….his entire career is ahead of him…..I really hope Montero is not pouting, because that would really be a reason to worry about his ability to handle major league challenges…21 years old, a mil in the bank, and it freaking sucks?

    If he was 29 and stuck in the minors, there might be a case, but not 21.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Agreed. Why is he going to be less bored in MLB anyway? Why is being bored an excuse for sucking? As bad as guys like Manny, Miggy, etc.’s attitudes have been at times… they’ve always pounded the crap out of the baseball.

  41. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    Yogi Berra was a bad defensive catcher when he first came up. Bill Dickey was still around and tutored Yogi. Yogi had a very good bat. Does this sound like our situation with Montero?

    Yogi is in the Hall of Fame. Has been acknowledged as the one of two best catchers ever along with John Bench.

    Montero deserves a shot. If he’s not better than Cervelli move him out of the organization depth chart. Keep the line moving. 4 days a week 2 at catcher 2 at DH some pinch hitting roles. He’ll be fine. If I can live with Nunez’s arm. I can live with Montero’s arm just don’t have them in the field at the same time just kidding.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Yogi appeared in all of 7 games at 21 years old… Jesus will get his shot.

    • Xstar7 says:

      /unfair comparison’d

      Seriously though, it doesn’t matter if Montero is better than Cervelli, (which he obviously is) it’s that the Yankees don’t want Montero to just be a back up catcher. Martin has been everything the Yankees could have hoped for, Jorge has heated up nicely. Although Cervelli has been pretty bad, he’s our BACKUP catcher. He’s not supposed to be good. The big league club has no need for him right now. And like I said earlier, Montero is only 21. THERE IS NO RUSH.

      • Rainbow Connection says:

        Why is it obvious? Montero has never faced MLB pitching.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        If he was totally ready, I wouldn’t have a problem with him taking the back-up C PAs and some RH DH PAs… but to me someone who has stunk offensively 2/3 the time he’s in AAA, stinks defensively according to just about everyone, and may or may not be throwing a hissy fit that’s resulting in poor play is not ready.

      • JU says:

        I’m sorry Xstar7, but I just can’t let this complete and utter hyperbole about Martin go unchecked. To say Martin is everything the Yankees could have hoped for is frankly disturbing. Have you watched the guy play in the past 2 months? Or do you simply take your cues from the Media?

        I want to preface this by saying that I actually like Martin, and watching him catch after years of watching Posada receive balls as if he were trying to catch a fly wit chopsticks, has been refreshing. But the guy is nothing spectacular:




        Yes, those first numbers are his stat line for the season… Nothing to get excited about from a starter, but i guess bearable.

        Those second numbers? His stat line since May 1st (a larger SS than the beginning of the year when he was seeing fastballs every pitch as a guy in a new league). Those numbers are anemic and they are regressing, not getting better.

        That last number? Those are the amount of Extra Base Hits he’s had since May 1st (zero, btw, in June). If this was everything the Yankees hoped for from their starting catcher, then they need a regime change.

        Montero is in the minors because Cashman is intent on trading him, and doesn’t want to A) devalue him by bringing him up, or B) have him excel, and then fans revolt when they do trade him. He’ll be starting for the Angels or Astros behind the plate in 2 months, and I will be puking in my mouth.

        • Xstar7 says:

          Okay, maybe “everything the Yankees could have hoped for” is an overstatement, but the Yankees did not go for this guy because of his offense. It was because they know they were going to get an above-average defensive catcher, which he has been. Any offensive production they get from him is a plus. Martin has been pretty streaky this year. He started off the season on a major hot streak, and lately we’ve seen the opposite extreme. But there’s no reason to believe he won’t go on another hot streak. And there is a possibility Cashman will trade Montero, but I just dont see it. Montero is a premier hitting prospect who is worth a number one starter. But there just aren’t any #1 starters available that are worth Montero. He’s still in the minor leagues because 1: attitude problems, (this theory has been confirmed.) and 2: the big league club does not need him right now.

          • JU says:

            I can think of a few reasons not to expect Martin to go on another tear. How bout his performance in NL the past two yrs. He hit that first month because pitchers challenged him with FBs as a hitter in a new league.

            And the Yankees did not go into this thinking his offense would just be gravy as long as he played D. If they did, people should lose their jobs. He’s a starting catcher in the AL East – that plan is what they expected of Cervelli.

            And as for Montero and his attitude, that is simple human psychology. The Yankees and their backward philosophy has brought this on themselves. People expect to be reinforced for good performance, not implicitly told that whatever they do doesn’t matter.

    • The BIG 3 says:

      Per BRef, Yogi played at 5’7″ 185, and Dickey went 6′ 1″ 185. So, bad comparisons because most scouts when they talk of Montero’s defensive ability, talk how of gigantic he is and how that size (and his ability to coordinate it) won’t work.

  42. louie says:

    I love the Yankees but I hate them for never ever trust their farm system. I’m so sick of it already! Great post everything you said is how I feel!

  43. What is it Axisa and you other Montero fans know that the professionals( Cashman and others in brain trust) don’t know??? The answer is that Montero can’t handle a big league pitching staff….get it, got it, GOOD.
    If they bring him up everyone will know what the Yankees brass knows and that is that he 1) doesn’t recieve well, 2) doesn’t throw well 3) sure in hell aint smart enough to call a MLB game. He can hit but not run, I mean slooow.
    They are trying to trade him rather than promote him and lose value on him. Yes he is over valued. Great minor leaguer but questionable big leaguer.

    • Xstar7 says:

      If what you’re saying is true, then Montero isn’t a serviceable catcher and the Yankees should look into moving him to another position. But that doesn’t take away from his hitting potential, which is very high. But to say he’s overvalued? Perhaps, but everyone on the Yankees is aren’t they?

  44. themgmt says:

    What’s more beneficial…

    A: Catching 400 innings and getting 200 ABs while facing AAA pitching (50 games or so)

    B: Catching 200 innings (~20 games at C) and getting 150 ABs (20 games at DH) at the ML level.

    That’s basically the difference between him spending the rest of the year in AAA vs MLB. It’s very hard to argue that spending time in AAA would be better for him just because the way the number of games and innings breakdown. Is 50 ABs of AAA pitching or 20 more games of AAA catching really going to make a difference?

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