What If Jesus Montero Struggles?

This is a question I do not want to ask, but I feel needs to be addressed. The popular belief here seems to be that Jesus Montero will start the season with the Yankees, hit well enough, and neither he nor the Yankees will ever look back.

Still, there is a possibility that Montero cannot recreate the end of his 2011 campaign, struggles, and the Yankees are left with a tough decision.

First of all, the Yankees need to address this possibility before the off-season ends. Montero is expected to be the designated hitter for the majority of the time, if not daily. The Yankees do not seem to be in the market for any potential designated hitters because of this expectation.

The Yankees need to decide if Montero will play through his struggles in the MLB, if Montero will be demoted to work through his struggles in AAA, or if Montero will be benched for another player in the majors until he improves.

If the Yankees decide Montero will play through his struggles, they can continue doing business with zero expectations of signing a free agent or making a trade. Last season the Yankees used this option when Jorge Posada struggled, despite having Montero ready in AAA to be promoted.

Say the Yankees decide Montero will be demoted to AAA if he struggles, the team then has to make the decision of whether or not there will be a likely in house replacement for Montero. Andruw Jones fits the bill on the major league team, and Jorge Vazquez remains a possibility in AAA.

However, if the Yankees do not feel Jones/Vazquez/others in the system are strong enough players to be the DH full time if Montero is demoted, the team needs to look at the free agent market once again. There are no strong candidates, so this does not seem likely.

Please do not get me wrong, I think Montero will start off the season strong, as he does not seem like the type of player that is willing to go back to AAA. The only suggestion here is that the Yankees need a plan in case Montero does struggle.

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