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The Catch

Photo from The Star-Ledger

After all the playing time he got this spring, I figured Jesus Montero was likely to start the season with the Yankees while Francisco Cervelli (you remember him) was on the DL. But the Daily News talked to Brian Cashman and, well, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case:

“He hasn’t played well recently,” Cashman said after watching Montero catch in Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Orioles. “He’s better than what he’s shown recently, catching-wise.

“He’s been struggling with the bat, and I don’t know if it’s cause-and-effect. I just know that last year he didn’t start catching well (in Triple-A) until he started hitting. And from June on, both went through the roof.”

I’d say this continues Cashman’s offseason pattern of being just a liiiiiittle bit too honest with the media; but if the Yankees were planning on having Montero start with the major league team, this wouldn’t seem to be a particularly helpful thing to say. Austin Romine may be better defensively but he has even less experience than Montero, and Gustavo Molina was an afterthought to even Cervelli, so to me this says that Montero must REALLY not be able to catch, at least not yet. Which is what most non-Yankee scouts and prospect experts have been saying all along, after all.

The team now has a few more eggs in the Russell Martin basket than I would personally be comfortable with. And while I have to assume they have reasons for not having Posada catch even a single game this spring, I don’t feel like I really know what those reasons are. Not that Jorge is any defensive whiz himself, of course, but after all he was their catcher as recently as October. (Concussion concerns would be an absolutely valid justification, but the Yankees haven’t confirmed that as their reasoning).

No easy answers here, apparently. What would you do? What Would Jesus (Montero) Do?


1 The Hawk   ~  Mar 23, 2011 11:18 am

How long till Cervelli's back?

2 Emma Span   ~  Mar 23, 2011 12:04 pm

Updated because I wrote "Romero" once instead of "Montero," for some reason...

[1] They said at least a month and probably longer from the time he got hurt, which was the beginning of March. I'd say we can expect him back by the end of April, with any luck?

3 ms october   ~  Mar 23, 2011 12:08 pm

doesn't sounds like much of a situation.
i would think there has to be injury concerns with over-working martin too much at the beginning of the season, so i would assume they need more than just a buc and something more like a co-catcher.
i guess we will be seeing professor moeller soon.

4 Emma Span   ~  Mar 23, 2011 12:53 pm

Jay looks at the situation too over at Pinstriped Bible:


5 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 23, 2011 1:30 pm

What is Cashman with these torpedoes of truth, the opening act for Charlie Sheen?

6 rbj   ~  Mar 23, 2011 2:06 pm

"No easy answers here, apparently. What would you do? What Would Jesus (Montero) Do?"

Pray to Mo?

7 merijnboot   ~  Mar 24, 2011 9:21 am

Ok, so we're talking 4-5 weeks until Cervilli is available. So what is the big deal? Let the kid have a go. He catches maybe 6-7 games in that span.

Best-case scenario: he hits like a pro, catches acceptable and Martin is a back-up by June. (admittedly, this is very unlikely)

Worst-case scenario: he throws away 2 of the 6-7 games due to horrible behind-the-plate work. Hits .170 and gets embaressed by every breaking pitch he sees. So what? We'll send him down when Cervelli gets back and welcome him back in september.

The only potential downsides:
a) his confidence gets shot after the worst-case scenario. This is a serious concern for some players. I can't judge if Montero is one of them, but the Yankees should be able to and this should be the deciding factor.
b) he hurts his trade value. But you can argue that if the Yankees don't trust him on the opening day roster, that is equally bad for his value.

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