Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Get Jesus Montero Back? Forget About It

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.

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Tags: Austin Romine Chris Stewart Francisco Cervelli Jesus Montero Michael Pineda

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  • William Black

    This writer is an idiot. Montero doesnt handle a pitching staff well? Mariners are 16-10 when Montero catches, with a 3.41 ERA. Mariners are 4-18 when Shoppach catches, and a 5.49 ERA. How in the world do you conclude Montero cant handle a pitching staff with those stats? Did you even bother to look it up, or too busy and had to get the article out?

    • Hunter Farman

      Even if he handles the staff well, you must admit that he is rather bad defensively, correct?

      • William Black

        Partially. His throwing out runners are terrible. They are 23 of 24 running on Montero, 12 for 19 off Shoppach. But, stolen bases lead to runs right? All those SB’s, yet with Montero Mariners ERA is 3.49, 15-10 record (i double checked, 15-10, not 16-10). Shoppach is 5-18, 5.49 ERA. Horrific. Every starting pitcher for the Mariners is doing much better with Montero, except Iwakuma…and Iwakuma is about even between Shoppach and Montero. Both about 200 innings (225 montero and 198 shoppach). There is no abnormal pitching split, both have caught felix about equally. I checked every team in baseball. This is the only team where a catcher is beating his backup by 2.00 ERA. Cant ignore that. What can be more important for a catcher than his ERA with his pitching staff? That is 2 runs a game better than shoppach! And Montero is in AAA, and since Montero was benched, Mariners are 0-4 with ERA over 7. I guarantee you if Girardi was managing Mariners, Montero would be catching. Similar with Romine of Yanks. He has best catchers ERA. Very low sample, but if that continues, Girardi will play him more.