Jesus Montero back in the bigs
With Justin Smoak on the DL and struggling with a sore quad muscle — and Corey Hart already there — it was easy to understand why the Seattle Mariners made two of their more recent roster moves in bringing up Logan Morrison and Jesus Montero.
While it makes sense to bring up Montero from AAA at this point in the season, it is still a very interesting decision, to say the least. Let’s not forget that Montero is a guy who’s fresh off a 50-game suspension for PEDs as he found himself wrapped up in that Alex Rodriguez debacle with Biogenesis.
At the same time, you also can’t forget that PEDs or not, Montero was considered the top catching prospect in all of baseball when the Mariners acquired him from the New York Yankees in a trade that sent pitcher Michael Pineda to the Bronx.
Montero is a guy with big time power potential. He’s a switch hitter who hits lefties particularly well, which is something the Mariners do not have in abundance and desperately crave.
Unfortunately, for Seattle, Montero has other issues too. When he reported to spring training in March it was clear he did not use his suspension time and offseason time very wisely. He showed up in Peoria around 40 pounds overweight.
That’s a lot for a guy who wasn’t exactly small to begin with.
One would think that a young player who made a mistake like Montero did would spend his suspension and offseason more wisely than sitting at all-you-can-eat buffets. I guess we can’t put “maturity” on this young man’s list of accolades just yet.
To his credit, Montero has lost a good portion of that weight since spring training. He started the 2014 season in AAA.
Montero has been relieved from any catching duties, playing 1B and DH for the Tacoma Rainiers. The Mariners are clearly liking what they see from their other prized catching prospect, Mike Zunino, and have no plans to put Montero behind the dish anytime soon.
Montero put up decent numbers in Tacoma this year. He batted .270 with 15 doubles, eight homers, and 40 RBIs. He also showed some pretty good plate discipline, walking 26 times, which propelled him to a .345 OB%.
Now Montero finds himself back with the Mariners and in his first couple outings he’s hitting just about at the same pace he was in Tacoma. He’s batting .300 (3-10) with a homer and a couple of RBIs; but hey, we’re talking about 10 ABs here, so clearly the jury is still out.
Can Montero recapture the swing he had when he first arrived in Seattle? The Mariners certainly hope so. It seems like ages ago, but in 2012 he played in 135 games for the Mariners and hit .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs.
That’s not too shabby for a guy in his first full MLB season. Heck, those are Kyle Seager type of numbers and everyone loves him. I’m sure the Mariners would be glad to have another guy in their lineup with those exact same numbers right now.
For Montero, this call-up is a chance at redemption from the PED shadow he cast upon himself last year. If he can put together solid numbers while Smoak, Hart and others are on the shelf and/or are struggling he has a chance to stick with the club.
Can he do it? I say, he can.
He’ll have to lay off the cheeseburgers to do it, though. That’s the price of being a professional athlete.