Tag: Jesus Montero

New York Yankees: With Jesus Montero Gone, Who Will DH in 2012?

The Yankees finally addressed their starting rotation yesterday, when they shipped top prospect Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to the Mariners for All-Star right-hander Michael Pineda and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos.

The team also signed Dodgers free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal as the rotation now looks significantly stronger and has plenty of depth with Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia likely headed to the bullpen.

However, in dealing Montero, the Yankees now have a hole at DH that will need to be addressed in the weeks to come leading up to spring training. Luckily, there is never a shortage of DH options for a team both internally and on the free-agent market.

Here is a look at who could step into that role for the Yankees in 2012.

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Michael Pineda Is the Yankees Missing Piece Needed to Win the World Series

The New York Yankees are now the favorites to win the World Series.

Obtaining Michael Pineda is significant because it means that the Yankees have a solid pitcher to follow CC Sabathia during the season and in the playoffs. Of greater importance is that A.J. Burnett will not have to pitch crucial games.

There is little doubt that the Yankees will make the playoffs. Depending on the American League East standings near the end of the season, Sabathia opens the ALDS, with Pineda and Nova set for the next two games. 

If a fourth starter is needed, Kuroda or Hughes and/or Garcia could be used, depending on which one remains a Yankee.

The Yankees have been criticized for limiting the innings of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. That approach didn’t work out for either pitcher, but Pineda is different.

Pineda must be used judiciously and because the Yankees have enough pitching for the season, they can prevent him from reaching his limit too early. His innings must be carefully monitored in order to keep him fresh for October. He will not be subjected to being “the man” because Sabathia has proven time and time again that he can handle any situation.

Last year, the Yankees didn’t have much trouble winning the division If Bud Selig cannot implement a second wild card for 2012, it won’t make much difference if the Yankees are relegated to being the wild card. With two wild cards, the situation changes because winning the division becomes a necessity.

The point is that the Pindea isn’t the difference between making the playoffs or watching them. Pineda is probably the difference between getting to and winning the World Series or not.

Forget about trading Jesus Montero. The great Yankees’ general managers of the past, such as George Weiss and Gabe Paul, based their trades on how the players they obtained would strengthen the current team.

When Paul sent pitchers Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for first baseman Chris Chambliss and pitchers Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw, many “experts” questioned the trade.

The 1976-78 Kansas City Royals and their relief ace, Mark Littell, discovered that Paul knew what he was doing.

It is recognized that George Steinbrenner traded away many young players (Fred McGriff for Dale Murray and Willie McGee for Bob Sykes), but that’s not what happened in the Pineda-Montero trade. Both are young players with great potential.

Russell Martin was more than adequate last year. He might be even better with a season as a Yankee under his belt. He handles pitchers quite effectively.

The Yankees offense, even with Alex Rodriguez battling injuries, Derek Jeter fighting a poor first half of the season and Mark Teixeira’s lack of consistency, averaged 5.35 runs a game in 2011. Only the Boston Red Sox, who scored 5.40 runs a game, were better. We all know what happened to our friends from Boston.

A lot will happen between now and October. The Anaheim Angels and Texas Rangers are stronger than they were in 2011. The Detroit Tigers have been a Yankees nemesis for over 100 years. The Red Sox may not collapse again, but since they are the Red Sox, one never knows, does one?

Pineda is the piece that was missing in 2011.

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Addition of Michael Pineda Strengthens Yankees Rotation but Weakens Lineup

The New York Yankees have done very little this offseason—no blockbuster trades, no scandals. It has been pretty low key.

That is, until now.

It’s apparent that the Yankees are indeed looking to build upon a rotation that boasts CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. With the trade for Michael Pineda, they now have a formidable rotation that could showcase three No. 1 starters.

Giving up their prized catching prospect, Jesus Montero, is risky, but the AL East is not the dominant force it once was, and with the addition of Pineda, the Bronx Bombers might have won the first battle of the season.

The Boston Red Sox still have the most dominant batting order in the AL, or maybe even baseball, although their pitching is rather suspect. And the Tampa Bay Rays will more than likely pull another rabbit out of their hat to stay amongst the elite.

The Toronto Blue Jays, who have been rumoured to have the OK to spend some big money this year, have added some stability to an already good bullpen (Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver and Jason Frasor), but nothing compared to what the fans have expected. The Orioles are the Orioles. To their credit, they have improved and are still a few years away from contending in this ultra-competitive division.

On the other hand, the Yankees core is getting older. Alex Rodriguez is nowhere near the force he was, even compared to three years ago. Captain Derek Jeter has maybe two years left before he rides off into the sunset. Mark Teixeira, still a huge power threat, is transforming into Jason Giambi before our eyes.

Tex can still drop the long ball with the best of them, and even though he is a huge piece to the Yankees’ firepower, his average has dropped significantly for three consecutive years, and what is very alarming is his OPS has decreased every year since 2007.

What the Yankees need to do is start a rebuilding process. Nothing alarming, just piece by strategic piece. Even in the worst of times New York will always be a threat and despite giving up Montero, bolstered a starting rotation that lacks depth on the back end.

The infield is already in the process with Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Brandon Laird seeing their share of playing time. And the bullpen has seen the emergence of David Robertson and Cory Wade step it up in crunch time.

There is inherent risk with trading Montero, but the Yankees are very deep at the catcher position. Francisco Cervelli is developing into a dynamic piece of the puzzle, a spark plug who can give the Yankees the sort of pickup that Nick Swisher provides. And Gaby Sanchez is another diamond in the rough the Yankees have waiting in the wings, rated as the No. 4 prospect in the Yankees organization.

This deal for Pineda is actually a lot better than I originally thought.

Standing 6’7″ and weighing 260 pounds, he is a dominant figure on the mound, and with a fastball that tops out at 95-mph, the 22-year-old has a chance to become a leader in this rotation really quick. Phenomenal first-year statistics might come second to what might be even better news.

Pineda can become No. 2 in the rotation by the All-Star break, and according the USA Today’s Daily Pitch, “What’s more, it gives the Yankees a rare high-impact performer under club control for several years. Pineda, who made $414,000 last season, will not be eligible for free agency until 2017.”

The wheels are in motion. The Yankees’ preparation for the future begins today.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals and Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.

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Yankees Get Their Man, Deal Top Prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle

The Yankees and Mariners have agreed to a trade that will send top prospect Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to Seattle. New York will receive flame-throwing right-hander Michael Pineda, who finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting in the American League last year.

All of this is according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because the two teams discussed a trade that involved Montero back in 2010, when the Yankees were trying to acquire lefty Cliff Lee. At one point it appeared that the two squads had agreed on a deal, but the Mariners reneged and sent Lee to Texas in exchange for a package of prospects anchored by first baseman Justin Smoak.

By dealing Pineda, the Mariners have now opened up a rotation spot for top prospect and 2011 first-rounder Danny Hultzen, who has already been guaranteed an invite to spring training. That assumes, of course, that Noesi, who has gone 25-15 with a 3.17 ERA in six minor league seasons, doesn’t lock down the spot instead.

In acquiring Pineda, the Yankees brought some much-needed youth to a rotation that includes 31-year-old C.C. Sabathia, 35-year-olds A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia, and the newly acquired Hiroki Kuroda, who is 36.

Pineda, 22, burst onto the scene in 2011, winning six of his first nine starts. He finished the season as the rookie leader in strikeouts (173).

More importantly, however, he helped provide a brief sliver of hope to Seattle fans who had grown tired of having only one All-Star-caliber pitcher (Felix Hernandez), not to mention watching talent leave town (Doug Fister to Detroit).

While Montero doesn’t necessarily solve the Mariners’ catching woes, he does provide the M’s with a potent bat, one the team has been lacking for quite some time. His combination of power and average made him one of the top hitting prospects in baseball the past three seasons, and it appears that he’ll finally get the opportunity to play every day in the Majors.

Something that hadn’t been afforded him in New York.

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New York Yankees Trade Jesus Montero: Ranking MLB’s Top 20 Young Impact Hitters

The Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees swapped Michael Pineda and Jesus Montero Friday night, in a trade that boiled down to a trade of two organizations’ most polished future stars.

It all began with a tweet, from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN: “The  are moving closer to a trade for a young impact hitter, two baseball sources confirmed.”

The details swirled forth relatively quickly from there, but for a few minutes, that left interested parties wondering: To whom could such a tweet refer? Who, in the game today, constitutes a “young impact hitter”?

Every source one would consult on the issue might give a different answer, of course, but it seemed safe to assume that player would have some MLB experience, however small an amount, and obviously, that his ceiling would be as a top- or middle-of-the-order batter.

Not that many such guys exist, of course; that’s what makes Seattle’s acquisition of Montero special. Of those who are out there, though, here are the 20 best “young impact hitters” in baseball today.

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MLB Trades: Winners and Losers of the New York Yankees’ Recent Moves

Despite being ousted in the ALDS last season, the New York Yankees seemed rather stagnant in a relatively slow offseason. 

But on Friday night, Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees front office struck for two big deals. 

The first move came when the Yankees traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. Shortly after, the Yanks inked veteran starter Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal.

Only time will tell if these moves were the right ones. But if one thing’s for sure it’s that these moves have created some winners and losers for the upcoming season.

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New York Yankees: Scouting Jesus Montero

Jesus Montero started the 2011 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before being promoted to the majors in early September. Montero started the season as Baseball America’s third overall prospect and ended the season as the sixth-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com.

Let’s look at Jesus Montero’s strengths and weaknesses.

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New York Yankees: 10 Most Highly-Touted Prospects Since 1990

The New York Yankees have been known for buying all of their players via free agency instead of bringing up young talent from their farm system. And while the Yankees have been very active in free agency and trades, they have brought up some very good players, with some of their prospects becoming stars while some have not.

International players who spent less than one season in the minor leagues, such as Hideki Matsui, will not be listed.

Lets see who the are Yankees’ 10 most highly touted prospects since 1990.

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New York Yankees: "Killer B’s" and Other Replacements Waiting to Take Over

They say you can’t argue with results.

The New York Yankees are 20-16, two games behind the first place Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.

Could they be in first place? Sure. After all, it’s still only May 14, and there’s plenty of baseball to be played.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint, the optimists will say.

But the Yankees are not without their flaws. No team in baseball is, but perfection is an obsession in the Bronx.

Just look at Derek Jeter. No player personifies the, “What have you done for me lately?” mentality better. Jeter has been the face of New York baseball for 16 years, helping the Yankees to five World Series titles, but you would never know it by reading the newspapers or the comments section of any Yankees forum.

He’s done. He can’t hit anymore. It’s time to bat him ninth.

We’ve heard it all.

What’s keeping Jeter atop the Yankee lineup?

It was a lack of options, but the Yankees can’t say that for much longer.

After struggling for most of the season, Brett Gardner is now red hot. He has 13 hits in his last 31 at-bats (.419) with a scorching .526 OBP in May.

Jeter has gotten off to a hot start in May as well, batting .300 and raising his season average to .268. But he has just four hits in his last 19 at-bats since going 4-for-6 in a 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers on May 8.

Who’s more likely to stay hot? The younger, faster Gardner or the quickly aging Jeter?

Jeter’s spot atop the lineup is more out of respect than anything else. But the chances to bury the Boston Red Sox and Rays in the standings are now gone. The Yankees are now on a three-game losing streak, their second of the season and are just 3-7 in their last 10 games.

If there was ever a time to finally make the change, it’s now.

But it’s unfair to single out Jeter.

Jorge Posada has also struggled mightily. Yes he has six home runs. Yes he has 15 RBI. But he’s batting a putrid .165 and hasn’t homered since April 23.

Unlike Jeter, Posada will certainly be gone after this season, so the sense of urgency to move him or replace him is weaker. But like Jeter, there are replacements waiting in the wings, and the longer the Yankees wait, the sooner the fans will start to notice.

After failing to win the backup catcher job in spring training, top prospect Jesus Montero is tearing up Triple-A pitching. Montero is batting .325 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 28 games for Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Montero has been more known for his bat than his glove, a stance which was only reaffirmed in the spring. The prevailing thought is that the Yankees would rather have Montero play in the minor leagues to keep his trade value up in case the Yankees pull the trigger on a trade during the season.

Montero would have already been gone had the Yankees been able to trade for Cliff Lee last August.

But as Posada struggles and Montero continues to hit, how long can the Yankees stick to their plan? Montero’s defense has most scouts projecting a DH or first base job in the youngster’s future. Mark Teixeira isn’t going anywhere of course, which leaves DH.

And while the Yankees would love to leave themselves with the flexibility to rest their aging veterans like Alex Rodriguez at DH, if Montero can come up and do a better job than Posada, the Yankees could live with his weak defense behind the plate should they chose to make him the backup.

Francisco Cervelli only has 14 at-bats since coming off the DL, so there’s no reason to move him out from behind the plate. And Russell Martin continues to be the best pick up of the offseason.

But as Posada struggles, the Yankees can’t feign ignorance much longer.

The biggest reason the Yankees can be comfortable with the status quo is the surprising production they’ve received from Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. Two pick ups off the scrap heap this offseason, Colon and Garcia have far surpassed expectations.

Colon is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA. Garcia is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA.

It’s great to see, and imagining where the Yankees would be had their rotation not shaped up the way it has might make you sick. But despite the overachieving, the Yankees are still just 14th in the majors in stater’s ERA (3.88).

And what’s the over/under on how many starts the Yankees will get out of their reclamation projects?

Garcia was limited to just 12 starts from 2008-2009 but bounced back with 28 last season for the White Sox. Colon hasn’t made more than 20 starts since 2005 and was limited to just 19 over the last two seasons.

It’s safe to say both have been better than expected, and the best thing the Yankees can do is ride the both of them into the ground. Keep sending Colon and Garcia out there every fifth day and if, or when, they break down, cut them loose.

If that happens, would the Yankees hesitate to call up their top pitching prospects, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos?

Both are starting for Double-A Trenton right now and have been pitching very well. Betances is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts. Banuelos is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in six starts.

The Yankees are very protective of their young prospects, perhaps to a fault. And after watching Phil Hughes land on the DL after an inexplicable drop in velocity, the Yankees might be fearful of adding onto the innings total of their young “B’s.”

But the fans know they’re pitching well. And the moment Colon and Garcia begin to show flaws, the screams for mid-season call-ups for Banuelos and Betances will echo throughout Yankee Stadium.

For now, the Yankees can keep sending out the same lineup and rotation every day, satisfied that they’re only two games out of first. But two can quickly become four or six if the Yankees continue to struggle, while the Red Sox and Rays surge.

It’s not in the Yankees’ nature to be quick on the trigger, but they have to at least keep their guns loaded.




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NY Yankees: Brian Cashman Shouldn’t Think of Trading Jesus Montero for Starter

In today’s New York Daily News, John Harper wrote that Jesus Montero’s hot start in Triple-A may give Brian Cashman a better opportunity to trade for a top-of-the-line starting pitcher.

I think someone should shoot Cashman right in the head if he even thinks of trading Montero for a starter.

And then go shoot Harper for suggesting it.

Last summer, as the Yankees desperately tried to trade for the Mariner’s Cliff Lee, reports surfaced that Cashman was willing to include Montero in the deal, but that the young shortstop Eduardo Nunez would not be included.

Let’s analyze that for just a minute.

The Yankees were in need of starting pitching. Lee was the best prospect out there. Any team in a pennant race should have wanted him.

At that point though, Cashman would have been renting Lee for a little over two months in the regular season and for the playoffs.

There was no certainty Lee would stay with the Yankees for 2011. All the proof you need for that is when Lee went back to the Phillies for less money, even after Cashman opened Scrooge McDuck’s bank vaults in January.

To rent Lee for less than half a season though, the Yankees were willing to give up their top prospect in Montero, but not Nunez.

Analyze a little more.

The Yankee shortstop last July was a fella named Derek Jeter. He was in his “walk” year. (Like he was really going to walk!)

Theoretically (quantum physics kinda theory here), Jeter would be gone, and the Yanks would be out of a shortstop come November.

So, Cashman would have had to keep Nunez in case Jeter did indeed walk away from New York.

Montero has been touted by everyone who has seen him as a can’t-miss,major-league hitter. He has hit superbly at every level of the minor leagues.

He is hitting .448 through the few games the Scranton Yankees have played in Triple-A so far this season.

Harper thinks that is just grand because the better Montero hits in Scranton, the better chances Cashman has of landing a starting pitcher.

Just how valuable does Harper think a front-line starter will be? Or how valuable does Cashman think one would be?

Valuable enough to give up Montero?  In the humble opinion of this writer, that is stupid.

The Yankees had question marks with their starting pitching in 2009 and still won the World Series.

The Yankees had serious problems with their starting staff in 2010 and still made it to the ALCS.

Another example, in 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays went to the World Series with no starters winning more than 14 games.

Montero can be a major league catcher. He showed that early in Spring Training this year when everyone was raving about his defense. He fell off about half way through camp, both defensively and with the stick.

But this kid is only 21 years old. He could be the answer for the Yankees behind the plate for the next 15 years. How often will the team have an opportunity to have a catcher who can tear it up with the bat for 15 years?


That is how often.

Jorge Posada has been a great offensive asset. On the other side of the ball, he has been a less-than-average defensive catcher, causing problems to the point that some big-name pitchers did not want to throw to him.

Can Montero possibly be any worse behind the plate than Posada was for more than a dozen  years? 

The answer is no.

Cashman wanted to protect a shortstop last summer who has proven nothing, while dangling a stud catcher who is going to be a star in the major leagues.

I repeat, if Montero continues to tear it up at Triple-A and Harper convinces Cashman to trade him for an arm, please, somebody shoot them both right in the head.

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