Oct
10

Offseason Principle: Don’t Trade Montero

By

It has started way too early. We have gone from looking forward to a deep playoff run to looking at — though not necessarily forward to — the off-season. Emotions are still running high from the ALDS loss, making it difficult to address the Yankees’ challenges with a clear head. In an attempt to step back and soberly examine the Yankees, I’m going to address a few principles. Hopefully they can help answer a number of more specific questions that will arise as the free agent and trade markets develop.

As the title says, we’re starting with the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect, Jesus Montero. After waiting all season for his arrival, Yankees fans got a glimpse of the future starting on September 1. He played in only 18 games and accumulated 69 PA, which doesn’t give us a representative sample. Still, he did impress in that short time, hitting .328/.406/.590. Is anyone not excited for the offense he can produce in the future?

In this way Montero represents the future. In another way, he represents an opportunity. Despite his lack of a position, scouts have said for years that Montero’s bat will play anywhere. That type of talent can bring back something of value in a trade. As Brian Cashman said just after the Yankees’ season ended, his team needs pitching. It’s easy to make the connection. Might the Yankees flip Montero for that No. 2 starter they need?

It sounds like a good idea in theory. Pitching has long been a problem for the Yankees. They could conceivably acquire a relatively young No. 2 pitcher by trading one of the best hitting prospects in the game. At least, that’s what it seems like. In reality that might not be the case.

Why they can’t

The Yankees will likely have difficulty finding a team that matches up with them. This theoretical team would need to fit a few criteria. They’d have to be a team with no designs on contending in 2012, since few teams could continue contending after trading a high-caliber starter and not receiving one in return. They’d also need pitching on the farm, so that they could eventually replace the starter they traded. Their offense would probably have to rank near the bottom of the league, which would give them reason to trade for a big bat with no position. If it’s a National League team, they need an opening at first base — and a coaching staff that thinks it can turn Montero into a first baseman.

Where does that leave the pool of suitors? The Giants might be the only team that could conceivably trade a high-end starter and not cripple themselves. Matt Cain is the interesting name here. The Giants might be willing to listen on him, since he hits free agency after the 2012 season. They also need offense, as they scored the fewest runs per game in the NL. But with Brandon Belt at first base, there isn’t really a spot for Montero. Even if the Giants thought he could catch, they have Buster Posey at that position. The Yankees and the Giants simply do not match up on a Montero trade.

The White Sox are another team that comes to mind, since they’re apparently going with a youth movement in 2012. John Danks becomes a free agent after next season, and so he might hit the trade block at some point this winter. But the Yankees face the same matchup problems here. The Sox are in the AL, which makes things a little easier, but they also have the DH and 1B spots locked up for a few more years. They might want to replace Adam Dunn, but his contract mostly prevents that. If the Sox were to trade for Montero they’d have to believe he could catch. It’s hard to find anyone who thinks that he can.

A look around the rest of the league returns few results. It’s hard to find a team that would trade a top-flight starter in the first place. When the return is a hitter without a position, the pool shrinks even further. There might be an answer out there somewhere, but it’s certainly not an obvious one. Something would have to change before a trade in order for said trade to make any sense.

Why they shouldn’t

Just because the Yankees can, in theory, trade Montero for a starter doesn’t mean that they should. They have a rare talent in Montero, and can use him to help propel the offense for years to come. While pitching might hold importance for the immediate future, offense could become an issue down the road — and not so far down the road, really. Why would the Yankees trade one of their few young power bats?

Take a look at the composition of the 2011 Yankees. Specifically, look at the age column. The only player under 30 to produce an OPS+ of league average or better was Robinson Cano. He and Granderson were really the only elite hitters on the team this season. The other guys on the roster have uses, for sure, and there’s a chance that one or two of them returns to glory. But even a return to glory would be short-lived, given their advanced ages. Combine that with an uncertainty about Granderson’s future — his 2011 was clearly an outlier in a career that started in 2005 — and it’s easy to see a need for offense.

Again, this is more of a far outlook. Maybe Mark Teixeira refocuses this winter and retains the swing that made him the Yankees’ MVP in 2009. Maybe Alex Rodriguez remains healthy and productive next season. That’s all fine and good, but it’s not as though the Yankees can expect them to do that for years into the future. Rodriguez will turn 37 next July, and Teixeira will turn 32 right around Opening Day. There’s hope that Teixeira can still produce high quality numbers for a few more years, but the window is closing on A-Rod. In just a few years the Yankees could find themselves lacking an elite bat beyond Cano.

(At which point Cano will cost $20 million or more per season.)

Montero represents the Yankees’ best opportunity to add a power bat to the middle of their lineup. If they trade him, they’ll again scramble for free agent hitters. While that has worked out in some instances, it has failed in others. Rather than roll the dice in both a trade of Montero and hoping for the right free agent to hit the market, it’s probably a better idea to keep Montero and let him do work in the middle of the lineup for years to come.

The right deal

No player should be untouchable. As an old friend of mine says frequently, everything’s for sale for the right price. If the Yankees can jump on a starter that they truly love and it costs them Montero and little more, they should probably jump on it. But as I described above, those convenient opportunities don’t appear to exist.

Furthermore, even if the Giants were willing to trade Cain for Montero, or the White Sox were willing to part with Danks for him, I still wouldn’t favor such a deal. Both of those players hit free agency after 2012. Even if the Yankees retained them they’d pay market value. That further drives up payroll, which in turn makes it more difficult to acquire other players. It’s not our money, of course, but if the Yankees are only going to invest a certain amount in payroll, it’d be nice to see them allocate it in a way that allows them to add the most production for the least amount of money. That becomes more important when contracts like A-Rod’s, Teixeira’s, and hopefully Sabathia’s are on the books.

Montero, on the other hand, represents one of the greatest values in baseball. Through 2014 he’ll cost no more than a half million per season. After that he has three years of arbitration before hitting free agency. Those cost-controlled years can prove integral in keeping payroll open for other acquisitions. It means they can overpay for someone on the free agent market. But if they trade for Danks they’ll have to either 1) worry about paying him market value in 2013 and beyond, and 2) worry about finding, and paying, a big bat to help replace the declining production of their current guys. And if the Yankees were to let Danks go after a year, adding Banuelos and other young arms to the rotation, they’ll have given up six years of Montero for one of Danks. It just doesn’t make sense.

If the Yankees were to trade Montero, it would have to not only involve a No. 1 or 2 pitcher in return, but that pitcher would have to be under contract for many years. That would necessarily mean that the Yankees would include more than just Montero to complete such a deal. If Felix Hernandez is the target, then perhaps the conversation moves somewhere. But after him, are there any starters that fit the criteria of a No. 1 or 2 pitcher and are under contract for three or more years — and could be had for a Montero-centered package?

Maybe the right deal is out there somewhere. Maybe there’s a GM who is holding back and waiting for the right deal to come along. At this point, it’s difficult to see. What’s easy to see is the potential impact Montero could have on the Yankees lineup. He’s their best power bat prospect, one of the few in their system that could conceivably slide into the No. 4 or 5 spot in the coming years and help ease the declines of their aging stars. That need could be just as important as a No. 2 starter.

Categories : Analysis
  • http://twitter.com/#!/EricDKoch Eric

    I know the article is not advocating this, but under no circumstances would I part with Montero for John Danks. None.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Same here.

    • Slugger27

      other than mike always talking about how much he likes him (which i guess answers my question a little), ive never really understood the fascination with danks around this site.

      career 4.03/4.14/4.12 line. i mean hes been durable for a few years now, but…. yawn. and giving up montero for 1 year of nova-like production? no way.

      • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

        I feel like I’ve been saying this for years. I couldn’t agree more with you.

  • Rich in NJ

    They need young impact bats more than startikng pitching, and the Phillies’ quick postseason exit (as well as the lone WS win that characterized the Braves of the ’90s) demonstrates that starting pitching guarantees nothing.

    • Kosmo

      …and great hitting guarantees nothing.

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

        Nothing in baseball is guaranteed.

        • Kosmo

          Did Yogi say that ?

          • http://twitter.com/#!/EricDKoch Eric

            “You can’t predict baseball” – John Sterling

            • MannyGeee

              Try as you might, Suzyn.

            • Billion$Bullpen

              Nore can he see it.

        • Tom Swift

          Other than salaries.

      • Rich in NJ

        Exactly, but what is well-established is that pitchers are far more fragile than hitters.

        So if you have a young, cost-controlled impact bat (on a team with several aging impact bats) that may even be able to catch 40-60 games a season without getting an umpire killed, why not keep him rather than burn him on a pitcher, who would likely make far more money for far more years, and whose arm may or may not be ripe for an injury?

        • toad

          This.

          Pitchers are much riskier than position players. You need to get more than an equal deal, because of that.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Please don’t trade Jesus!

  • Dave203

    While I understand the logic presented, Cain for Montero would require a lot of consideration. Cain is a beast and very young. Yes, the Yanks would need to pay him out at market value after next season, but he is a #1 pitcher on most teams. That does not come easy. Bats are certainly easier to find than quality pitching.

    • Tom T

      I suppose if Montero is 100% just a DH then you may be right in a vacuum, but as the post suggests, having Montero mash at DH and spot-catch at $450,000 for 3 seasons frees up cash for the Yanks to get quality pitching without giving up the bat.

      • Dave203

        There is absolutely no guarantee having cash gets you a pitcher (i.e. Cliff Lee). I’m sure there will be some pitchers who do resign with their teams prior to the 2012 FA, leaving 2, maybe 3, quality arms for a bidding frenzy.

        Trading with a signing window allows guarantees us a pitcher and lets us not get bent over with a the contract. If an extension can’t be reached, the Yanks back out. That is not an option when you puts yourself into a scenario where you need to sign someone in the 2012 FA pool. As it is now, CC has us bent over since he knows we essentially need to resign him or can the 2012 season.

    • Guest

      For <500K a year for each of the enxt three years? Montero represents HUGE value which would allow the Yanks to have money for when the real big guns (Hamels, Greinke, heck even Cain) hit the market.

    • Slugger27

      it would just depend on the (obviously mandatory) extension that came along w/ the trade

      • Dave203

        I doubt a trade for Montero would even be considered without the ability to lock the return in during an extension window.

        • Tom T

          Ace type SPs are sexy, but I find it surprising that even a large minority would be in favor of dumping 6 years of Montero for a year of a pitcher like Cain (an NL pitcher protected by a huge park).

          There’s *some* value in the exclusive negotiating window, but for every Cliff Lee story there’s CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett… players almost always take the most money, which the Yanks can comfortably offer.

          • Dave203

            Cain’s road stats are just as good as his home stats. Cain is far from a park-protected pitcher. He is a legit #1 SP.

            I am not saying the Yanks could not buy him on the open market, but if he is traded elsewhere and resigned before he gets there, that’s just one more pitcher out of the pot come FA. I am not necessarily in favor of trading Montero for him, but it wouldn’t be without consideration for me.

        • Slugger27

          exactly…. so if they could get cain on a good extension, then yes, that trade would definitely be a strong consideration. if they cant, then the deal is a no go.

    • Avi

      “Bats are certainly easier to find than quality pitching.”

      Tell this to the Giants,Dodgers, Rays, Angels and A’s. Those teams were all in the top 10 in team ERA. Runs per game is down substantially from were it was a few years ago. I don’t have the exact numbers with me but if you look at it more closely the hitter is more valuable than the pitcher.

  • Kosmo

    I like Cain but not for Montero.

    • Dave203

      Cain won’t be traded for Montero alone either. The Giants would want more than Montero for Cain and rightfully so. Cain has proven himself to be a powerhouse pitcher. While Montero looked good for a month, he’s still considered a prospect.

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

        It’s one year of Cain for six years of Montero. The Giants have no justifiable reason to ask for more.

        • Dave203

          Other than the fact that, again, Montero has proven himself for a month in the league and Cain has been a stud for seasons now. They are giving up a #1 pitcher and 2 first round picks. They will ask for more than Montero and the Yanks would walk away.

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

            The draft picks are not guaranteed, so they have limited value. The Yankees learned that with Javy Vazquez.

            • Dave203

              They aren’t guaranteed, but is is plausible to assume Cain would decline arb. Sure, he could sign with a bottom 12 team, but honestly, with the Sox and Yanks both needing pitching that offseason, I think they can rest comfortably that a big market team will buy him up.

          • Slugger27

            you’re saying 1 year of cain and 2 years of draft picks are more valuable than 6 cheap years of montero?

            thats a tough sell my friend.

            • Slugger27

              *2 draft picks

            • Dave203

              I’m saying the Giants would ASK for more and I also would guess the Yanks would walk away. The Giants would not let Cain go for Montero alone. They would likely ask for a pitching prospect as well. Sounds and is ridiculous of them to do so, but that’s reality.

          • KyleLitke

            I think you’re drastically overselling Cain. I like him but he’s not a definitive #1 in the NL West, let alone the AL East, and it’s only one year of him.

            • Dave203

              Unless you have an extremely short #1 SP list, Cain is on it. I’m not saying he’s Verlander, but he still would be a #1 pitcher on most teams.

              Again, I’m not saying the request for more than Montero would be fair, just that they will likely ask for more and the Yanks would walk away. It seems to be the going trend now.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          If the Yankees do trade Montero for Cain, Montero would then play first base correct?

  • Tom T

    The Yankees lost bc their ace couldn’t find the strike zone and their juggernaut offense couldn’t get it done in any of the close games… not because their starting pitching failed them.

    All the Yankees have to do is hold down the SP fort for one more season before several SPs become available in free agency.

    Would we feel more comfortable with a three-aced assault like the ’11 Phillies? Sure, but young, cost-controlled, middle of the order bats capable of handling some catching duties are too valuable to trade away.

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig

      Hold down the SP fort before several SP become available AND our own guys are ready to carve out roles.

      • Billion$Bullpen

        +1

    • David K.

      Right and let’s look at how far the 2011 Phillies with their great three ace starting staff got. Montero is too valuable to trade.

  • Paul Avery

    Build from within. That’s how the late 90s Yankees did it and that’s how this team needs to do it. We didn’t trade Cano, Robertson, Gardner, or Nova and we’re a lot better off for it. Montero is as untouchable as Andy Garcia. No trades.

    • http://twitter.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

      +1 on the Andy Garcia comment

  • Bummed and Rushed

    This question can’t be evaluated in a vacuum. If Girardi won’t give him many starts at catcher, they have no choice but to trade him. And with Girardi’s unwillingness with have him catch (PHing for Martin) with the season on the line, then I suspect they have no choice. Playing 100 games at DH is simply a squandering of his value. Better to trade him.

    I have a feeling that next year at this time the Yankees will still be playing, and because Montero is batting 5th. If only that had figured that out this year.

    • Jetrer

      how is 100 games at DH squandering his value? His value lies with his bat, not his defense, and playing him at mostly DH allows his bat to stay in the lineup a lot more often.

  • Kosmo

    For one you have to sort thru what the Giant´s needs are. Their offense is in shambles ,they need a leadoff hitter,SS,LF,CF ,perhaps a catcher if Posey isn´t ready to go by the start of the 2012 season. Gardner would address their need for a leadoff hitter and either a LF or CF.
    I´m not advocating trading Gardner but he seems a more logical fit than Montero. The Giants could sign Fielder or go with Pill at 1B. Beltran has expressed interest remaining with SF if they can fillout their offense.

    • fire levine

      Gardner is getting expensive so its probably not a fit

  • vin

    I don’t know about Cain… his career w/l record is 4 games below .500. We don’t need another AJ on this team.

    /how’s that for trolling?

    Seriously though, I’d rather see Cashman hang onto Montero, re-sign CC and give non-subtle hints to all agents that the Yankees will be looking to go all-in for the 2012 Free Agency pitching bonanza.

    Even if Montero has huge success in arbitration, the Yanks will still get 6 years of production for the price of ~1.5 season of A-Rod.

  • http://none Favrest

    Montero is a 21 year old DH. Going to be hard to find a taker in the NL. Hernandez should be the target.

    • Tom T

      I don’t understand this “he can’t catch” business. All that matters is whether he’s worth more runs behind the plate than other catchers. Montero would have to be by far the worst catcher in the league to not be a very worthy regular if he’s hitting like a typical middle of the order bat.

      Anyone can stand back there and allow some passed balls if he makes up for it enough with the stick. It’s a number game that I believe Montero easily wins.

      • william robinson

        I second your post.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        If we look at just the recent past, there are a couple of very notable catchers that were really hitters, holding a place on the field while their team played defense, that had long and successful careers. Both spent time in NY: Jorge Posada and Mike Piazza. I beleive that Montero could become as good as them defenisvely. If that’s the case, he holds tremendous value for the Yankees or many other teams.

        • http://none Favrest

          Posada wasn’t that bad of a catcher for the first 10 years of his career. He has always had a pretty good arm. Martin he is not. I’m guessing that those that think Montero should catch have not seen him. I would like to keep him, but we are going to need the guy to get an arm. I’m not not sure we have anything else that’s MLB ready talent. Trading him now would be trading high. Sadly, he might be trade bait because Cashman’s plan of keeping Hughes and Joba backfired horribly. Eventually, Cashman’s love affair w the minor league system has got to end.

          • Billion$Bullpen

            “Cashman’s plan of keeping Hughes and Joba backfired horribly. Eventually, Cashman’s love affair w the minor league system has got to end.”

            I agree with this part, but I dont really trade Jesus. His hitting is just too important and a home grown star is worth $ to the Global Yankee Empire in lots of ways.

  • UYF1950

    I doubt that the Rangers will let CJ Wilson get away but you never know. If he does hit FA I think the Yankees should make a serious run at him. Not an at any cost run but a serious run. Also another possible alternative is Oswalt from the Phillies. He has a mutual option that I believe is for $16M one or the other may not exercise that option. If that turns out to be the case Oswalt would be in my opinion an excellent 1 or 2 year option until the 2013 FA hits the market. Also Buehrle might be an option for a couple of years.
    There are options for the Yankees this coming year. A lot depends on how aggressive the Yankees need to be is conditional on CC’s opting out and or resigning. Just my opinion.

    • Kosmo

      Oswalt is always a back problem waiting to happen. Buerhle has expressed interest in pitching for the Cardinals.
      Wilson signing with NY would be a big surprise to me.

      • UYF1950

        I’m not suggesting a “long” term investment in Oswalt only as a stop gap measure for perhaps the 2012 and 2013 season. Besides Oswalt still gave the Phillies 23 starts in 2011 and on average 32 or 33 starts every year from 2004 through 2010. I’m not sure but it looks like his “back” issues might be a bit overstated. As for Buerhle I’m not sure if his “expressed” interest means he’s excluded other teams from the equation.

        I agree with the Wilson opportunity, but stranger things have happened.

      • nsalem
  • william robinson

    Its a shame to even think of trading Montero.He is not a gold glove catcher but he catches the ball,hit 280+ 25homer+ 85RBI+ and that a-ok with me and hoping also the Yankees.

    • nsalem

      25 Home Runs and 85 RBI’s ????? What does he do in the second half?

      • vin

        +28

  • Jamey

    I think he made a good enough impression during his call-up to go back into “King Felix or no one” status, which means he’s not going anywhere because that trade very clearly isn’t happening until King Felix destroys his arm & the Cleveland Indians foolishly surrender their top pitching prospect for him without requiring a physical.

  • IB6 UB9

    Wilson has the advantage of a fresh arm, with only 2 full seasons as a starter. I’d offer 6 years at $108M the day free agency opens.

    Cain for Montero is like an unprotected draft pick – you’ve handed him a blank check on his extension to balance the trade.

    • MannyGeee

      butbutbutbut… his stuff plaYS BETTER FROM THE PEN!!

      /Joba’d

  • Dan

    Why is it assumed that Montero will never be able to be a full-time catcher? I know scouts have said that he isn’t good defensively, but it doesn’t mean he can’t improve. He has got three great defensive catchers to learn from next year in Girardi, Pena, and Martin. By the time Martin leaves the following year, Montero might be ready for a full-time job and Romine would come up as the backup. I am not saying he will be great defensively, but by next year he might be able to give average defense and with his offense that should be fine.

    • nsalem

      Because all the experts on this site say so.

  • Grit for Brains

    Three years of Clayton Kershaw would be enough reason for me to drive Montero, Betances and Nunie to LA myself.

  • PhillyMatt

    How about Montero plus for Kershaw?

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Sign me up.

      • MannyGeee

        all day long, kid. but where’s the incentive for LA to do so? Kershaw & Billingsly ae the only arms holding that team together

  • JohnC

    The temptation to trade Montero would lessen considerably if Yanks got either Wilson or Darvish this Winter

    • nsalem

      I wouldn’t be shocked if we went after both of them.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/486240-arad-markowitz Mantle28

    There are a few pitchers in baseball I would trade Montero for:

    Kershaw
    Lincecum
    Felix
    JJohnson
    Maybe Lester
    And Maybe David Price

    That’s it.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I agree with you on Kershaw, Lincecum, and Felix. You also forgot Verlander (I think you forgot him).

      I disagree with Josh Johnson because of his injury history, Lester because he’s with the Red Sox and I would never make a trade with them under reasonable circumstances (of course I’d trade with them if they asked for Brett Marshall for Jon Lester, but you get the idea, haha) and I’m not 100% sold on Price, plus if you trade Jesus to Tampa you give them (potentially) a legit bat in the middle of the order and they still have Shields, Moore, Hellickson, etc in their rotation.

      • http://bleacherreport.com/users/486240-arad-markowitz Mantle28

        Yes I forgot Verlander, of course. I added Price and Lester because they’re young and have shown they can pitch effectively in the AL East.

  • Now Batting

    What about hamels? He’s under control for two more years (?), the Phils need hitting, and have a surplus of pitching.

    • https://twitter.com/johnsc2000 JohnnyC

      Hamels is undergoing surgery for a hernia AND to remove loose bodies from his pitching elbow. You may have heard about this.

      • Now Batting

        Yep, he had a great season while having a hernia and loose bodies in his elbow. Neither surgery is considered serious and he should have a normal offseason. All the more reason to want him

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      He’s a FA after next season, so he’s under team control until the 2012 season ends.

  • Dave B

    I’ve gotten to the point where I wouldn’t trade Montero for anyone, especially in light of the 4-5-6 hitter production we just witnessed in the ALDS. Just sign a free agent like Wilson and let Nova continue progressing, Betances get more of an audition, perhaps give Noesi a shot.

    In hindsight, I’m glad we traded A Jackson for Granderson, but we need to start focusing on developing a new “Core 4″ and stop trading our young studs.

    • MannyGeee

      you know who else builds teams with a lot of home grown players and does not trade them for big impact players? The Pirates. Yeah, I know, we could be that lucky too.

      In all seriousness, many GMs (including Cashman himself) say that the trick is to know what to hold and what to sell for what pieces. And if memory serves me correctly, that ‘Core 4′ was surrounded by a shit-ton of mercenaries who were either traded for or signed as FA’s, so that mighta helped.

      • Dave B

        Good points. However, rattle off a few big name pitchers we have acquired via trade that have pushed us into the Promised Land in the last 10 years. I can think of a few, but it’s high risk.

        I love mercenaries, but we have to have a strong core of home grown talent to feed off of first. Trading Montero is incredibly risky.

  • Treve

    Why can’t Montero play some RF next year. We let swisher go. Rotate Arod, Jeter, Jones & Chavez with the DH spot. Nunez & Laird more playing time.

    Jeter SS
    Granderson rf
    Cano 2B
    Arod 3B/dh
    Tex 1B
    Montero RF/dh/C
    Jones/Chavez DH/OF/3B
    Martin C
    Gardner LF

    Nunez
    Romine
    Dickerson

    Get YU Davish with the money coming off of posada & Swisher.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Chavez will probably retire, and I bet Andruw Jones goes elsewhere. Also moving Montero to right field is easier said than done. It’ll take a long process. I wouldn’t mind having him be the backup first baseman and DH and maybe catch a little bit. I bet the bench will look something like this:

      Romine/Cervelli
      DeJesus/Willingham/Connor Jackson (all three of those will be FA’s, they would seem like decent pick ups, why not? If not they could keep Dickerson, but I’d imagine they want some pop)
      Nunez
      Laird

  • infernoscurse

    trade montero for Yu Darvish, Kyuji Fujikawa, Hiroyuki Nakajima and Kawasaki Ninja

    • MannyGeee

      Yeah, my money has Montero getting bored in Japan

  • Supernova

    Trading away Montero would be trading away the heart and soul of the Yankees. Everyone in the city views this kid as a prodigy and the next Yankee great. In the late 90s we had 4 young kids come up who made the Yankees relevant again- Jeter, Pettitte, Posada, Mariano Rivera. Now we’ve got Cano, Nova, Montero, David Robertson. We need to build around these guys for the next 5-10 years just as we did in the late 90s.

    • Tom T

      Omitting Brett Gardner? How many line drives over everyone else’s head does the guy have to catch to convince Yankee fans that stars who don’t hit home runs or hit .300 exist?

      • Supernova

        Yes, Gardner is like Bernie Williams except without the power. Very good young player and unlike Swisher, clutch as well.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Not quite like Bernie Williams and I don’t think he ever will be. However, he holds great value and is fun to watch. Unfortunately, he’s probably the first of this new youg group to be traded, as a lot of teams could use him.

      • Sarah

        Could not agree more. Gardner is a big part of the Yankees’ future.

  • The Fallen Phoenix

    I think the only team that really matches up with the Yankees on a Montero-for-pitching deal is the Rays, to be honest. They’re the only team that has a surplus of cost-controlled, high-ceiling pitchers with an obvious need for a cost-controlled, high-ceiling 1B/DH bat.

    And I just don’t see Cashman and Friedman matching up on a trade, so Montero likely stays put.

    • David K.

      But no way do I want Jesus Montero kicking our ass for the next ten or twelve years.

  • Reggie C.

    How about we trade both Montero and Banuelos for Stephen Strasburg.

    • infernoscurse

      only if they add Wang, Harper, Storen and zimmerman

      • MannyGeee

        and Clippard

        #heirapparant

  • Yo! I’m Chris

    Danks? Next!

    • Dave203

      I don’t mind Danks, but not for Montero. Would do Danks for Swisher back though. Take Swisher’s club option and trade him back to the ChiSox for Danks and another pitching prospect.

  • Treve

    I would take a chance on YU Darvish. He only 23, good mechanics controls fastball from 93-97mph. Great Slider & Splitter. Future Ace.

    Cc
    YU
    Nova
    Hughes
    Benuelos/Betances/Noesi

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      He’s 25, but I get your idea.

      • CS Yankee

        I thought 25 in Japan equates to 23 in American?

  • Monteroisdinero

    Jesus, I wouldn’t trade for Cain even if able. ha ha

    Do not trade the best homegrown power bat we have developed since Mantle.

    Dumb.

    My handle says it all. Do the math. Buy/develop pitching. Don’t trade Montero for it.

    • MannyGeee

      bible Jokes FTW!!

  • Dave203

    I think we’ve all heard the future ace argument before for a Japanese pitcher — rarely the case. IMO, the real upside of picking from the Japanese market is that you don’t have to give up your draft picks. Easy for me to say since its not mine, but it just money for the Japanese players — not sacrificing your farm building process.

    Despite however good the projections for Darvish are, you have to go into it expecting no more than a middle of the rotation SP. If you get more, great. Negotiating and paying like they are the future ace of your franchise gets you bent over like the Sox did with DiceK.

    • Dave203

      Sorry, thought I clicked reply to the Treve post…

    • Treve

      Dave203, I watched a alot of video on this guy pitched he is unlike DiceK he puts the ball where he wants with his smooth mechanics and stuff is superior. He pitched in relief in world baseball classic he was unhittable including against the US.

      • Dave203

        I’m not calling this guy DiceK by any stretch, but just pointing out that we have heard the “ace” argument before and it has blown up more times than it has been proven correct. Relying on and paying Darvish as a mid-rotation pitcher is the best strategy IMO. If he turns out to be as great as they say, icing on the cake. If not, we didn’t count on him being our ace so we can still compensate (hopefully).

        • Bryan

          To pay Darvish mid-rotation, you have to assume other teams see him the same way. Unfortunately collusion is illegal in the US, and it only takes one silly team to make a silly offer. Ofcourse a team would have to factor in the potential returns that a Japanese star attracts from Japanese fans – hence a city that has a significant Japanese/Asian population.

          Wouldn’t be surprised if one of the West Coast teams make a run, maybe LAA.

          • Dave203

            IMO, the posting fee is a little of a different story than their annual salary. Owner have to decide how badly you want the guy and what you think others will be bidding. Blind bidding is crazy, but just the way it is. You can end out overbidding by $20 million — such a joke. DiceK was the only ridiculous bid in the recent era — who the heck bids $50+ million? Regardless, once the bid is accepted, you get exclusive negotiating rights. If you can’t work out a deal that works for you, everything is off and the player stays in Japan. IMO, once you win the bid, negotiate aggressively. The player is the only one who is losing by having to return to Japan and get paid peanuts for another year. Even if they repost the following year, the Yanks could outbid everyone else again and do the same thing. I don’t think teams get aggressive enough in the salary negotiation process.

  • david ortiz’s dealer

    If the yanks get big ticket pitching… trade him. SF has been working Belt at OF

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    From the very beginning I have been an advocate of the “do not trade Montero” campaign. Why? Because he is going to be agreat hitter. I will bet my mortgage on it. That he cannot catch is a fallacy. He has been maligned from the start probably by somebody who wants him and at a cheap price. With the advancing age of the Yankee star players we need new blood in the roster otherwise we will fall on our backside in a couple of years. Glavine, Maddux, Smolts, Avery and Neagle, the four aces Hallladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt have one thing in common. They were or are great pitchers but they were not able to bring a WS victory to their team (Atlanta won one in1995. Thus it is not only pitching that gets you to the prize. It is that plus defense and the right kind of players that get the job done when it is needed.

    • TomH

      By and large, this seems the course of wisdom, mainly because of the point about the advancing age of Yankee hitting stars. Although I would never admit to it in public, were I the GM, next year should be a rebuilding year in the sense that we try to groom Montero for his YS future and buy time for young pitchers like Nova, Banuelos, et al., to mature (whether in NY or in AAA). See what you can find to tide your pitching over, but basically aim for 2013. Of course, were CC to bail out this winter, and if the Yankees could not resign him, then all bets are off; although, in that case, the Yankees would have a lot of former CC money to play with during the off-season.

    • David K.

      Exactly and this is why trading Montero for Cain is a very stupid idea. Cain is not going win us the world series next year. Montero is a sure fire great hitter for the next ten or twelve years. No pitcher out there is good enough to compensate for that value.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Until recently, no one ever bitched about Posada behind the plate from 1996 to 2010. He was never anything great back there and he caught his first full season at age 26. People need to remember this. Montero at 21 has tons more talent with the bat than Posada did at that age (and most other ages) and will prove to be close to Sado defensively in my opinion.

  • Monteroisdinero

    New abbreviation: DTM Don’t trade Montero.

  • JOE D

    Let’s say Cashman keeps montero (the only pitcher I’d trade him for is Felix), what does it suggest for Romine?

    The Yanks have catchers: Martin is only 28 years old, Montero is a hot prospect, and Sanchez (correct me if I’m wrong) projects better than Romine…Cervelli is also under team control.

    The Yankees have a lot of skill at one position. Only one can play at a time. Granted, I’m sure you won’t be able to get a ton back for Romine by himself…..but let’s say you package him with one of the b’s, holding on to the other could give you: CC, (insert pitcher you get in return) and any combination of Hughes, Nova, AJ, and the remaining B. The question becomes what could you get in return for that package?

    That’s not to mention whoever remains available in the 2013 FA class.

  • IB6 UB9

    Romine and Laird need four months of strong play at AAA in 2012 and then they become trade chips at the deadline as major-league ready prospects. By then Cashman will know what the needs are and can fill them.

  • Avi

    If Montero is traded for an ace he’ll be the best player traded for one in the last ten years. Go back and look at the halladay, cliff lee, Sabathia, Pedro and Randy johnson trades and show me a player in any of those deals that was as highly rated and as ready for the majors as Montero is.
    And some of you would trade him for Matt Cain??
    You know the yankees have other young prospects too.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      Brett Lawrie was pretty good when he was included in the periphery of the Hallady/Lee four-way.

  • Bart

    In the early sixties, an aging Yogi Berra moved from catcher to outfielder. Yogi successfully played the outfied for several years. I don’t think that the then aging Yogi was more athletic than 21-year old Montero. So, if it is determined that Montero cannot stay at catching, he should be given a shot as an outfielder – presumably in right field. If I was Cashman and Gerardi, I would definitely encourage him to play some outfield in Venezuelan winter ball.

    The only trade that I would be consider would be a Montero for Stephen Strasburg, or a Montero for Bryce Harper trade, or a similar trade.

  • IB6 UB9

    Victor Martinez’s middle name is Jesus, which I think is an omen.

    Montero can surely have a Martinez-like career at least, shifting to 1B when Teixeira is gone.

    It’s too bad Pettitte isn’t around, who could control the running game for an offensive catcher (Leyritz).

  • Paul VuvuZuvElla (formerly Nuke La Doosh)

    I am leaning toward not trading Montero. I think the bat will be more important to the Yankees based on the current composition of the team, and the pitching prospects on the way (Killer B’s), although no guarantee, certainly could be answers for the rotation if not in ’12 then in ’13.

  • DZ

    Like most people, I don’t think we can afford to trade Montero for anyone other than a top flight pitcher. If Hughes steps up and progresses next year like he should have this year, I don’t even see a need for a two-pitcher. With Nova pitching like a two already, Hughes showing glimpses of what he was supposed to be, and AJ (hopefully) using these new mechanics, we should be set up well for next season.

  • Jonathan

    One simple way to get around the criteria for trading Montero….three way trades. You don’t have to match up perfectly with one other team. You could trade Montero to an AL team while that AL team gives up what the NL team needs to send their stud pitcher to NY.

    Also, Matt Cain. Am I alone in saying I wouldn’t consider trading Cain for Montero? 1 year of Cain for 6+ of Montero. Then you get to the fact that while Cain is a quality pitcher, an extreme fly ball righty who doesn’t strike out a ton of guys losing the advantage of pitching to the other pitchers and moving from maybe the weakest hitting division in baseball to obviously the strongest would most likely take his stats down a notch or two. Add in the fact that it’s YSIII vs AT&T and I could see Cain giving up a TON of HRs. I would have to be completely sold on a guy like Kershaw/Felix/Verlander/Price etc to trade him. Cain isn’t in that class for me. Maybe he is in the NL West and that park…but I think he’s a different pitcher in the AL East and YSIII.

  • Jorge (needs a new name)

    There is no player realistically available in baseball for which Jesus Montero should be traded. Period.

  • Kurt

    I would keep Montero. The Yanks have several players who are in decline including Jeter, A-Rod and Texiera. Martin can’t hit much and you have to wonder if Granderson can match his great stats again. They lost in the playoffs due to lack of hitting. Too many guys on this team load up stats on number 4-5 starters during the regular season but fold up when facing the best pitchers in the playoffs. They need to try and make it work for Montero at catcher. Remember than Jorge was no Johnny Bench behind the plate either. If that doesn’t work out then I guess it’s DH.

  • wilcymoore27

    The principle here seems to be that there MIGHT be a No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher who could be worth Montero. The problem with that is that pitchers are far more susceptible to career-altering injuries than are hitters. , Montero is about as near to a sure thing as it’s possible to have. (There are no SURE things). I can’t see trading a hitter like Montero for a pitcher, even a King Felix, under any circumstances.

    The injury risks for pitchers are too great in relation to Montero’s outstanding potential as a hitter.

  • godfather

    montero doesn’t look like a defensive basket case to me; the comparison made here earlier with the cases of piazza and jorge is not a bad one; jesus’ worth is in a different universe than are cain’s and danks'; the latter would be a no. 2 only were he on a two-man staff; cain is a workhorse, which will show soon enough on an arm that has been heavily relied upon; i wouldn’t let swisher leave, either, unless i get something solid in return; that he isn’t clutch is a product of his playoff swoon more than a testament to his career with nyy…i’d work in some time at 1b for montero, too, whether or not swish were sent packing

  • James

    Cain and Danks aren’t the way to go; we’d have to pay again after free agency. Have to think younger.

    What about a deal centered around Michael Pineda in Seattle? Both highly regarded prospects, similar contract status–Seattle gets the young hitter they need, we get the young pitcher with swing and miss stuff. Granted, Pineda has a whole season and Rookie of the Year award on Montero, but a lot of people have already pegged Montero for the same thing next year.

    It’s not that outlandish, is it? Even if it wouldn’t work, I think that’s the kind of pitcher we have to look for. Not someone that we’re gonna have pay for again in a year or two.

  • Doug

    Brewers will need a 1B to replace Prince. Gallardo for Montero. Okay, we’re done here.

  • meier

    Brett Lawrie
    December 6, 2010: Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Toronto Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum.

  • mt

    Don’t Trade Montero (DTM) – try catcher (first as back-up catcher/DH) and then bigger role over time as catcher with other games at DH. He can eventually morph into first basemen – Tex contract is for five years and if Montero is a flop at catcher at age 24/25, start transitioning to first base when he can be our starting first baseman in 2016 when he starts year as arbitration eligible 27 (still young) and Tex is gone.

    With Girardi and Pena (hopefully around) and a willigness to learn, hopefully Montero can stick as catcher.

    Right field sounds good but not sure Yanks will make that dramatic of a move move. Yanks need to be patient with defensive side of ball so he can get enough bats over next 2-3 years to see if Cabrera/Ramirez comparisons are anywhere close to reality.

  • http://survivingdystonia.com Henry

    First Montero can catch and has caught in the minors for 4 years. We don’t yet know how good he really is but he had only 3 errors at AAA last year. He also has a plus arm. The big thing with him has been his size. Most of you who knock his defense don’t know what you are talking about. He is slightly below average at the moment but should become average in a short time. The only reason you might not want to leave him as catcher premanently is because it could shorten his career and with that bat you don’t want to do that. Mn is starting to move Mauer to other spots. Trading him would be a huge mistake unless it was a deal you can’t refuse. The yankees are not actively trying to trade Montero. As far as right field that would be a great idea but you would have to convert him and he has below average speed. So does Sanchez by the way. I think Sanchez might need to change to another position. He has been awful as a catcher so far although he is still very young. Romine is good defensively but his offense is still a question mark. He would be good trade bait. Martin is one of the worse hitter I have ever seen. I would have Montero catching 50 to 60 games next year and playing Dh. Yankee fans would hang management if they traded Montero.

    • David K.

      I totally agree and I also see nothing wrong with carrying three catchers, especially if they experiment with Montero playing some right field at Yankee Stadium.

  • MIckey’s Boy

    The Yankees lost in the post-season because they got nothing from the 4-5-6 hitters in the lineup who are either aging or just not that good. Montero solves their most pressing need coming from the Detroit series – a young middle of the order bat. It’s tough to wait, but there will be a number of free agent pitchers in 2013.

  • David K.

    Can you say Edgar Martinez? Montero is a great pure hitter, probably better than Robbie Cano because he is more patient and knows the strke zone. Even if he doesn’t work out at catcher, what’s the matter with having a great hitter at DH? I’ve seen him hit and I’d say he is the best hitter we’ve had since Don Mattingly in his prime. I wouldn’t trade Montero for anyone. Keep him for the next ten years as our number 4 or 5 hitter.

  • Chuck

    Got to tell you Joe, fabulous article, extremely well written and all arguments presented equally and fairly.

    I just finished puking after reading Law’s AFL chat transcript from yesterday, so it’s really refreshing to see something written for the casual fan without feeling like some ESPN hack is jamming us with crap just so he can collect his $2 a month.

    I read with interest the other day Baseball America’s league prospect list that came out the other day and it’s clear the scouts they talk to have soured somewhat on Montero, especially offensively.

    While some believe he has a .300/30 ceiling, there aren’t as many living in that camp as in years past.

    It’s always been my contention Montero’s value is as trade bait, what with ARod having the DH spot locked down for the next four years or so, and Montero’s lack of physicality that would allow him to play any other position.

    The fact the Yanks called him up when they did and used him sparingly instead of sending him to the AFL tells me that was an audition, pure and simple.

    Grant Green and Josh Vitters, two high profile prospects in other organizations, are in the AFL learning new positions, why NOT send Montero to learn RF, especially if they’re thinking about pink slipping Swisher?

    If Billy Beane calls the Yankees tomorrow and offers Gio Gonzalez even up for Montero, I think Cashman personally drives him to the airport.

    But that’s just me.

  • Nate

    Let me preface this by saying I’m not a Yankees fan. I found this story via MLBTR on a day when I’ve got too much time on my hands.

    All that said, Joe, you seem to be overlooking the fact that while Teixeira and A-Rod might be in their decline phase they’re also signed to mammoth contracts that only a few teams could afford to take on in a trade. Too many prospect watchers are saying that Montero isn’t going to hack it as a starting backstop, so where is he going to play? DH appears to be his only option in NY.

    The guy might be the best hitting prospect not named Harper in baseball, but his options seem limited with the Yankees. I agree with you that the idea of flipping him for Danks or Cain is risky… but according to your criteria Oakland’s Gio Gonzalez makes a lot of sense. He’s pitched nearly as well as Danks has over the past two years and is still 4 years away from FA.

    As an A’s fan, it’s my impression that Billy Beane is going to quietly shop Gio this offseason. It’s also my opinion that one prospect, even an elite bat like Montero, isn’t enough to make the trade happen. Now, I didn’t come here to start a flame war with anyone. Either you like the idea of Gio pitching in pinstripes or not… all I’m interested is hearing the perspective of a Yankees’ fan (or fans) on this idea.

  • tam2

    if i were yankees GM.. i would only trade montero for king felix.. matt cain is a very good pitcher, but i refuse to send montero for him!! unreasonable.. end of story