Now that the Seattle Mariners have reassigned Jesus Montero, should the New York Yankees try to get him back? Would a change in scenery jolt him into fulfilling the promise he once held as the jewel of the Yankees farm system?
In one word-no! In three words-forget about it! The most important attribute the Yankees need from their catcher is the ability to handle the pitching staff. They need a coach on the field, a captain to steer the ship.
Montero is neither of these. At the plate, he is stumbling, as well. In 164 games with the Mariners, he is batting .252 with 18 home runs. The home run total is misleading, since it has come over two seasons. The physical wear and tear of the catching position make it unlikely that he could maintain that pace over a single-season, even if he were able to stay healthy.
Of the three catchers the Yankees have turned to this season, only Austin Romine has a lower batting average than .252. Francisco Cervelli is batting .269. Chris Stewart is hitting .265. Romine is at .129. But he has batted only 31 times. While he may never cause pitchers to tremble in their socks, give him a chance to play consistently and you will really find out what he can do.
Montero’s chances of hitting well in the majors will only come if he improves at handling the curve ball. He owned the fourth- lowest slugging percentage against the curve in the majors during the last two seasons at .119. This is more than 200 points below the MLB average.
An improvement against the curve may only happen if he switches positions, allowing him to shed the responsibilities of catching and concentrate on his stroke. First base is an option. Many catchers have made this transition to extend their careers, Montero needs to make it to have one. Of course, designated hitter is a viable option.
All of this removes Montero as an option for the Yankees. Instead, they should look forward to the return of Michael Pineda and the value he can offer to the pitching staff. If Pineda can return to his 2011 form, when he was an All-Star and finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, the Yankees will certainly have a rotation that can carry them in the postseason.