I apologize in advance for taking up the side bar with two posts in the past hour. This is the part where I tell you I don't care! I haven't gotten the chance to write lately but I was planning on doing something like this two weeks ago. Better late than never, and I feel this is important. For those of you who don't believe in titles, this is about Jesus Montero. In case you've been living under a rock, Montero got traded to the Mariners along with Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. There's lots of reasons to like the trade and they've already been over-discussed. This post is solely about Jesus Montero.
First, here's some facts that anybody who has followed Jesus already knows. He signed with the Yankees on July 2nd, 2006 as a teenager out of Venezuela. As a 17 year old the next year he made his debut for in the Gulf Coast League, and in 2008 as an 18 year old he absolutely raked at Class A Charleston, hitting .326 with 17 home runs, 87 RBIs and somehow, 2 stolen bases.
Montero advanced through the system extremely quickly, ending up in AAA by the time he was 20 years old. You guys know the story, and the frustrations that came with watching him being "bored" in AAA while Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli were struggling at the major league level. And then, at long last, he came up in September as a September call-up and made his MLB debut against the Red Sox at Fenway. He struck out with the bases loaded in his first MLB AB, but that was about the only time he'd struggle. He went on to hit .328 in the month with 4 home runs, including a memorable 2 HR game against the Orioles where he got two curtain calls from the Yankee Stadium crowd. And he seemed to get better as the month went on. He also got a hit in the playoffs!
This offseason, we were all looking forward to having Jesus Montero as the everyday DH, hoping he'd get enough catching opportunities and hopefully one day be Jorge Posada's successor as the Yankees everyday catcher. Then, in a stunning trade, he was gone. And now he's on Seattle.
Now here comes the sentimental part. I know he didn't do much at the major league level with only a months worth of experience, but I still want to thank Jesus Montero for what he did for me as a Yankees fan. I've followed the kid for five years, watching him grow from a teenager, go through the Yankees system and make it to the major leagues with high expectations for greatness. I was heartbroken when he was traded, and it had little to do with the actual trade. I'm still trying to get over it. It's not easy to develop an emotional attachment to a player you expect to be a fan of for a long time, and then watch him go to another team. I'm sure many of you will agree with that. I developed an attachment to Montero, and also became interested in the whole minor league system while I was watching him grow up. So I thank him for being so good that I got interested in the minors as well!
Now he's on Seattle, but I don't care. I'm still going to follow him just as I was before and I'm still going to root for him. I've invested way too much of my time into this guy to just give up on watching him altogether. I hope he becomes the Mariners starting catcher and I hope he rakes just like people expect him to. And I hope he becomes a great catcher just so he can shove it in the doubters faces!
I will always be a Jesus Montero fan. He's going to be a great player. And who knows? Maybe he'll wind up back on the Yankees one of these days in the coming years. But for now, I just want to say Thanks, and Good luck to Baby Jesus in Seattle.