Jesus Montero 2013 Checklist

Jeff Sullivan · July 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Remember Jesus Montero? He’s a guy the Mariners pay money, and he’s played for them, and he was a big deal when the Mariners got him for Michael Pineda. He’s 23 years old. Let’s review what he’s accomplished this season!

Underperformance: check
Montero batted 110 times this year with the Mariners, posting a .590 OPS that puts him below Endy Chavez. He has a .686 OPS over the equivalent of a few weeks in the minors, and it’s not like Montero lit the world on fire a year ago. Statistically, it’s been a bad season for Jesus Montero.

Position change: check
The Mariners said a lot over the offseason about how much faith they had in Montero as a catcher, but it didn’t take long before he was essentially splitting time with Kelly Shoppach, and then the Mariners announced that Montero wouldn’t catch anymore. He’s trying to be a first baseman, and he’s really basically a DH, and he’s 23.

Significant injury: check
Montero required knee surgery for a torn meniscus!

PED suspension: apparently check
From Jon Heyman, and many others:

A-Rod is the headline-grabbing name, but the other players with 50-game bans looming are Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera and minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and Norbeto Martin.

We knew that Montero’s name showed up in the paperwork, but at first we didn’t know how much we ought to make of that. Now it’s looking virtually certain that Montero will be suspended for his Biogenesis involvement, as will a handful of others. We don’t know what Montero did, exactly, but we can conclude it was bad, and we can assume MLB has plenty of evidence.

About the only thing Montero hasn’t done to diminish his value is commit some kind of felony. Otherwise, he’s ticked off the whole list. He’s done poorly at the plate, he’s done poorly in the field, he hasn’t been completely healthy, and he’s getting busted by baseball for breaking the rules, even though he should’ve known better. It’s not fair to describe Montero as a catastrophe — there can’t really be baseball catastrophes, in this vein — but as careers go, this has been a disastrous several months. We can’t even know what to make of Montero’s famous raw power, since it now appears he’s been a user of performance-enhancing drugs.

Top prospects have busted before. They bust all the time. People remind you of this every year when they talk about potential blockbuster trades. Delmon Young has a career WAR below zero. It’s beginning to look like Jesus Montero is a real bust. But seldom do top prospects bust this quickly. Between the 2011-2012 seasons, Baseball America ranked Montero as the sixth-best prospect in the league, ahead of guys like Jurickson Profar, Shelby Miller, Manny Machado, and Gerrit Cole. He was, that recently, can’t-miss. It was always a possibility that Montero could bust — he was high-upside and high-risk — but it’s not even the end of 2013 and I can’t really imagine what Montero would look like as a significant contributor. He’s not going to do anything in the field or on the bases, and he’s probably never going to walk a lot. He basically needs to slug in the .500s to be an average value, and so far he’s slugged .396.

Montero’s trade value is almost completely shot, I have to imagine. Now, I figure the Mariners will get some calls in the winter, with other teams looking to buy low. Sensible, that. I’d try to buy low, too, if Montero belonged to someone else, and he’s not worth completely giving up on. You never know, and scouty-types loved him for a reason. But in January 2012, the Mariners basically got Montero for Michael Pineda, and in July 2013, Montero’s all but forgotten when people discuss the Mariners’ crop of young organizational talent. Some top prospects take the trail down the cliff. Montero just stepped off the edge.


28 Responses to “Jesus Montero 2013 Checklist”

  1. phineasphreak on July 30th, 2013 5:50 pm

    What a chump!

  2. MrZDevotee on July 30th, 2013 6:04 pm

    It’s hard to get beyond the irony that all of the above suckiness happened while he was supposedly on “performance enhancing drugs”.

    Just imagine how bad it COULD have been!

  3. SeattleSlew on July 30th, 2013 6:22 pm

    I think he was using PED while in the minors with the Yankees and when he found out he was being investigated he stopped using them. That would explain why he is hurt and can’t perform anywhere close to his minor league numbers.

    Its interesting that 4 of the players on that list has been injured for big chunk of the season.

  4. Eastside Crank on July 30th, 2013 6:37 pm

    Clearly, the Yankees did not have the same faith that Baseball America did. After all, they shopped him twice to the Mariners. Given how old their team was, it would have made more sense to keep his electric bat in pinstripes. They knew he was not a catching prospect, could not run and that they were jammed at DH with all their aging stars. One would hope that Zduriencik has better information than that found in Baseball America.

  5. chrischris on July 30th, 2013 6:54 pm

    Our system seems to be successful at ruining young, up and coming players. If something happens to Miller and Franklin I think I will lose it.

  6. ABP52380 on July 30th, 2013 7:17 pm

    The Yankees were not high on him, it seems. They indeed tried to shop him to us twice, first with Lee then with Pineda. The Pineda trade seemed strange. All I remember reading was how teams had no idea Pineda was available and they’d have been in the bidding had they known. It almost seemed as though Jack was determined to trade him exclusively to ‘the mighty Yanks’ strictly because of the negative publicity after he, according to Cashman and the New York press machine, welched on the Lee trade. I dunno. Just another suspect trade in the Jack Z era.

  7. Omerta on July 30th, 2013 7:37 pm

    Odd placement for that comment chrischris considering much of Montero’s maladies appear to be self-inflicted, but I concur that we’ve had a rough time producing talent on the offense.

  8. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2013 7:42 pm

    I wasn’t thrilled to see Pineda (or Campos) traded, but reserved judgment to see how Montero performed. I’m extending my reservations to see how both Pineda and Montero rebound from their set-backs. Not expecting much, though.

  9. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 7:49 pm

    Jesus Montero really needs to sue Biogenesis for failure to deliver.

    (yes, I’ve made the same joke before, so sue me…)

  10. greentunic on July 30th, 2013 8:08 pm

    Haha Westside, a fan of litigation it appears.

    At this point I’m willing to give up on Montero because it convinces me that we deserve and will therefore receive healthy careers from Franklin, Walker, etc.

    Gambler’s fallacy be damned.

  11. MrZDevotee on July 30th, 2013 8:23 pm

    He’s got pretty good grounds to contest it if they try to suspend him.

    “Dude (ie, Mr. Selig), if I was taking anything it CERTAINLY WASN’T WORKING!”

    (they scan his stats the past 2 seasons)

    “Okay, you’re free to go.”

  12. Paul L on July 30th, 2013 8:31 pm

    Never trade with the Yankees or Red Sox. Their prospects get way too much media attention, and tend to be overrated.

  13. killeverything on July 30th, 2013 8:50 pm

    I’ve been waiting for the day I could say to Mr.devotee that YES that trade was a bust. Apparently more are seeing it. I hate to repeat myself, but you never trade a young, built power pitcher.

    I’ve also stated that should’ve been the death knell for Zuerdnick. The Yankees need good young pitchers. Glad we helped them out.

  14. Sports on a Shtick on July 30th, 2013 9:42 pm

    So disappointing on so many different levels.

  15. Prozach on July 30th, 2013 11:00 pm

    Weird how Smoak has ended up as the crown jewel of the former future core. Well, maybe more like the granite pebble, but still the most valuable nevertheless.

  16. miscreant on July 30th, 2013 11:03 pm

    One thing I have to thank Jesus for is that game early in the year (I can’t remember the opponent) when he tried to score from 1st on a double and was thrown out at the plate by a country mile. The replay was in actual speed but Jesus still appeared to be in slow motion.

    It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Because you could see on his face that he was trying so damn hard to run fast. But it seemed the harder he tried the slower he ran. He looked like a cartoon character whose legs are spinning wildly but isn’t going anywhere.

    When the dust had settled Jesus looked so exhausted as if he had just run a marathon. I wish I had that replay on tape so I could watch it over and over again whenever I get the blues.

    The memory still makes me chuckle. Thank you Jesus.

  17. deflated on July 31st, 2013 12:37 am

    Trades are a funny thing. After Pineda went down with the shoulder soreness there were murmurs that the Mariners might have known something; when his shoulder completely fell apart the Yankees fans were screaming that Jack Z dealt damaged goods, Cashman got robbed.

    A year and a half later (and Pineda still rehabbing) we’ve got the Mariners fans complaining about Montero – he was never as good as the hype, the Yankees must have known he had no future in the field and couldn’t hit without the ‘good’ supplements.

    They are prospects. Their default setting is failure. You put your money on the one your judgment tells you is the best bet and you see if you win. Wish we could have got a better result but the process wasn’t bad. Look at the hitters in the top 20 prospects in 2011 and I don’t see anyone better at the time that we could get for Pineda. Trout and Harper were not in play, we already had Ackley, I don’t see KC or Texas trading us Profar or Myers and Rizzo and Mesoraco have been meh. Montero decided to suck, move on.

  18. Don Money on July 31st, 2013 2:15 am

    Yah, getting that over-hyped prospect Buhner from the Yanks sure was a mistake! Don’t know how we’ll ever recover. Trades, like drafts, often take more than a year to grade. You guys are writing off a 23 year old? I would hate to see your stock portfolios!

  19. Gibbo on July 31st, 2013 2:18 am

    Yes but not opening it up always seemed to me like one of Zs worst moves…. Pineda would have been a massive chip that winter look what the Padres got for Latos that same winter. I now Z has made some average moves but some of them have had some logic at the time but often end up as a head scratcher long term.

    Many here loved trading away Morse for Langerhans and then we watch him flourish in Washington so we get him back for a guy that we could desperately use right now. Man we lost that deal badly twice. But the Fister deal only looks bad in hindsight again at the time many of us thought it looked OK on paper.

    But after that ramble, I will never understand why Z would have a closed auction to 1 or 2 teams to get Pineda and take away the power of his own hand. Just not smart work.

  20. casey on July 31st, 2013 7:22 am

    Know this is intended as a hindsight dogpile on Montero and Mariners for the fools they were in swapping our best young starter for a juicer. I have a 23 year old still living at home – not always pretty – but I know we are expecting our 23 year old baseball players to be 100% perfect guaranteed things.

    Thought Montero hitting .260 with 15 homers as a 22 year old was pretty decent.

    He is not a catcher – but offensively (dh/1b) still expect Morales type numbers long term from him – even with a suspension I think a 24/25 year old right handed power bat will play if given the opportunity.

  21. urchman on July 31st, 2013 8:30 am

    “Never trade with the Yankees or Red Sox. Their prospects get way too much media attention, and tend to be overrated.”

    Jay Buhner says, “Hi”. Ken Phelps cries.

    Wow, that trade happened 25 years ago. I feel so old…

  22. lalo on July 31st, 2013 9:04 am

    He hit .260 with 15 homers in old Safeco. Now the park is better for right handers. I still expect .280 / 20HR seasons from him.

  23. Chris Miller on July 31st, 2013 9:28 am

    .280 avg with 20 hr from a guy who doesn’t walk, doesn’t play defense and doesn’t run is a well below average performance even over 500 PA. Dave’s Carlos Lee comp seems apt. That’s probably his upside right now. He’d have to be a 35 hr guy to be a regular.

  24. HighBrie on July 31st, 2013 10:10 am

    I think we’re overlooking the “rarity of good right-handed power” factor. Now admittedly Montero does not seem a cure for this ill anymore, but why is right-handed power so rare?

  25. sbeaconhill57 on July 31st, 2013 12:50 pm

    I went to the game in Tacoma last night. Montero seemed happy playing first base, talking to all the Omaha players who arrived there. Montero’s home run was the only highlight for Tacoma. Tajuan Walker was so so, 4 legitimate runs. Ben Broussard plays 1st base for Omaha.

  26. smb on July 31st, 2013 1:43 pm

    Can we trade back? Yankees? Eh? Trade-backsies??

  27. SeattleSlew on July 31st, 2013 2:48 pm

    Can we trade back? Yankees? Eh? Trade-backsies??

    I would much rather have a young pitcher who has spent a year and a half trying to rebound from surgery than a 23 yr old DH who can’t run, can’t field, and is about to get suspended. Pineda might still bounce back and become a back of rotation starter or a reliever, Montero on the other hand has probably lost his confidence at the plate and its hard to give ABs to someone who can’t play on the field.

  28. smb on July 31st, 2013 5:10 pm

    I hated that trade from day one…it was a legit gut punch to me. I was probably only a couple weeks from buying a Pineda jersey at that point, which is the lone silver lining for me. I hope you didn’t mistake my sarcasm for any semblance of a defense of that trade or of Montero, who is a non-hitting DH at this point and quite possibly a total bust as an M, if not as a pro altogether.

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