It's a sad day for an ex-Yankees prospect now that Jesus Montero has been demoted to Triple-A after struggling mightily in his short major league career. The once-star of the Yankees' farm system has hit .252/.293/.377 since last season with the Mariners and was hitting just .208/.264/.327 in 110 plate appearances in 2013. He has also struggled behind the plate, leaving many to determine that he's just not a catcher. Apparently he has trouble throwing out runners, receiving the ball and blocking balls in the dirt. He had shown some promise in 2012, hitting 15 home runs, but other than that his baseball career has been a disaster since leaving the Yankees.
I was always someone who loved Montero and I wanted the Yankees to give him a shot. Obviously there was always the chance that he could be a bust, like with any prospect, but given the choice between an infuriating Russell Martin and a top Yankee prospect, I was adamant about giving Jesus a chance. After putting up a 0.6 WAR in 2011 in only 69 plate appearances as a Yankee it looked like the team was giving away the player everyone thought he would be, but since moving out west and into a much more pitcher-friendly ballpark he has provided (subtracted?) -0.7 WAR.
After Michael Pineda went down with a shoulder injury it looked like the trade would be a disaster for the Yankees, however, it soon became more apparent that the Yankees were winning this deal by the simple fact of getting no value. Hector Noesi was a -0.7 WAR disaster for the Mariners in 2012, but he might be righting the ship in 2013 as he has already added 0.3 WAR in only 13.2 innings. That's -1.1 WAR so far, meanwhile Pineda has yet to pitch for the Yankees, but is showing promise in his rehabilitation. Jose Campos, thought to be the true steal of the deal has also battled injury, but seems to be slowly getting back on track. The Yankees have won the deal so far just by the virtue of having no value, positive or negative.
So, were we wrong about Jesus Montero all this time? Did Brian Cashman actually know what he was doing all along? I suppose we'll find out one day, but not just yet. It will be a long time before we can properly judge this deal, Jesus Montero could turn it around, likely as a first baseman or DH, Hector Noesi could be serviceable, Pineda could turn out to be everything we hoped for and more and Jose Campos could end up living up to expectations. Or they could all collectively fail as a unit. At one point it seemed that the future of the franchise was heaped onto Montero's back, but, as we all know, prospects break hearts.
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