Evan Gattis and Jesus Montero
What, me worry?, dept.


Sez Mojo,

mojician'Stros trade for Evan Gattis for players nobody has ever heard of. Gattis has 4 years of club control left. Gattis slugs .490 at catcher.

Thought 1: Gattis's first two years are way better than what Napoli and V-Mart produced in their rookie and sophomore seasons.

Thought 2: The Atlanta Braves must really disregard their fans' feelings.

Thought 3: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.


Gattis was a dude everybody liked, including and especially the Mariners.  It seems they went with Seth Smith + pardner instead.  Smith was also a dude everybody liked, including and especially the Mariners.

Just in terms of value to the club, and just at a 10-second glance, I'll compare the Astros prospects to Brandon Maurer, Patrick Kivlehan, and a throwin -- two players in the org's top ten, one being a talented swing man with a shot at the rotation, and the other a mysterious-but-exciting hitter.   G-Money (and youse mooks) can correct me later.

(Edit to add, G-Money went with Elias, Austin Wilson and Victor Sanchez "to top that deal."  Whew.  No way, Jose'.)

I'd love to have Gattis, but ....

  • He is age 28
  • He has not yet flourished under the bright lights of booked-up enemy pitching
  • His contact rate is 70, 75%
  • Shandler projects him to a mere 4.8 runs per 27
  • Don't think the M's were going to use him as a catcher

So I wouldn't sell Gattis as a guarantee to perform like Nelson Cruz.  Gattis has what, a solid 40%, 50% chance of becoming Cruz?  Gattis is cool, but Seth Smith slants the energy towards OBP and cost only one good player rather than two.

Or not :- )


Jack Zduriencik has been making noises about Jesus Montero, like the bench/DH/backup 1B role is Montero's job to lose in March.  

Personally, I'm right with Jay-Z on this one.  If you truly believed that he had Albert Pujols-type hitting ability, then you give yourself every conceivable chance to cash in on that.  Montero is worth two extra opportunities, over what Justin Smoak got.

Montero has been a mess since coming to Seattle, no doubts there.  He hasn't even been swinging the bat well -- the last two years, even his power is gone.  He swings the bat statically and generates little acceleration.  But when he first came up with NYY, he was a legit .300 hitter with Cruz-like power:

  • XctX = 138
  • xPX = 155

That's Ichiro-like contact results, and Gattis- / Cruz-like oomph behind the swing.  That's what Zduriencik saw.  There are maybe 5 players in the big leagues even capable of that intersection of AVG and PWR.

And the sabermetrics were there:  Montero was a legit cleanup hitter in AAA at age 20 -- while playing catcher.  In terms of his track record, you might as well talk about a teenager who had already topped out in the minor leagues.


The problem with Montero always seems to have been, that he was intolerable in the clubhouse, a joke both to management and to the players around him.  As we all know, Montero has spent 90% of his chances.  This is probably the last one.  While we are putting things in scale :- ) Jesus Montero has been an epic Bad Actor by any standards, every whit as much of a problem as (say) Delmon Young was.  It ain't just our imagination.  At this point, people in other cities have dismissed him too.

So!  He lost the 30+ lbs. and his attitude IS better.  Does Dr. D give him another shot in 2015?  Certainly.  One mo', amig-O.

Especially if the Gattis alternative has a price tag attached, of two valuable org players.

Montero has started his career with a .318 AVG vs. lefties and a .459 SLG, in Safeco.  He already is a vast improvement over the 2014 Mariners' DH's and early 1B's.  We don't know what he might be, but what he has been, is a guy who can help vs LHP's.

Not saying that Montero is the cure to all the M's ills.  :- )  But given that they've brought in Cruz and Seth Smith, it's worth a simoleon.


Dr D





The Braves cashed in Gattis for 3 guys, all of whom have potential and one of whom will be in their rotation in 2015.  Since they don't trust Gattis in full-time play, that's a pretty big haul.  I can see why we didn't stay in that bidding and instead moved on to Smith, who cost 1/3 as much in player-price since he costs several million more in salary.
I wish I had faith in Montero. I wish I knew where we would play him even if he hits like a rock star this year and has his act squared away. 
But mostly I wish that we won't need him. :-)  If he's great and can fit in, fine.  If he crashes again I don't want it to even be a blip on the radar as far as team performance goes.


So let's see...right now, our roster has the following givens:
C) Zunino, Sucre
1B) Morrison
2B) Cano, Miller
SS) Taylor
3B) Seager
OF) Smith, Ruggiano, Jackson, Ackley
DH) Cruz
SP) Hernandez, Iwakuma, Paxton, Happ, Elias
RP) 7 guys
That makes 24.
Looks like it would come down to whether we wanted an 8th reliever (like Walker) more...or an extra bench bat.


We know that McClendon requires two lefties in the bullpen.  We know that Rodney, Medina, Farquhar, Leone and Bartender all have jobs next year.  
So who does McClendon like better, Montero or Smith?  
His scouting report on Smith, from the Seattle Times:
“I love his sinker,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I thought I would throw something at them that they hadn’t seen. This kid is not fazed by what’s going on. And I just thought he matched up well. . . It was kind of hard to take him out."
His scouting report on Montero from SB Nation:
"I can't want it for him".  
And from CBS:
"I never said I had confidence. I said I need a first baseman. He's available…"
I think that Montero will have to have a Brad Miller level spring training to make the club.


... assuming he comes to spring training and "makes noise."  You have to figure that means 7 relievers, which is great by me.  Eight relievers seems like a bit of an affectation, especially when you like your rotation so much.


Montero seems to stand for everything McClendon doesn't.  Which was why it was interesting to hear Zduriencik say pointedly, "You make room for him."  
Fortunately, the 25-man roster is still Zduriencik's call.  Z doesn't get to make out the lineup cards, and the converse of that is that McClendon has to respect the roster decisions.  Sticky problemo to be sure.
But yeah.  Montero ain't on the 25-man if he hits .250 in the spring -- he's got to rake, either in March, or in April-May.  One of the few interesting roster issues left.


...would be whether they give SP 4/5 to Elias/Happ, Walker/Happ or Walker/Elias...and if they go with Walker, do they go with Elias ir Happ in the pen oe do they go with the rule V kid or Olmos?


... and Earl's Law is that you've got a long season in front of you, a lot of innings stretching down the highway.  But that's why you have 5 relievers, right?  Oh, wait...
On the plus side, it's rare for a pure hitter (McC) to be so sympathetic with his pitchers.  Lou was the opposite.


A 12-man roster is really a 2 man bench, because you're not using your BU catcher in a PH'ing role, etc.  A 2 man bench is pretty skinny.
Ruiz is the catch that the Astros got for Gattis.  20 years old in the Cal. League.  .293-.387-.436 with 82 BB's and 91 K's.  Not bad.  But Guerrero was also 20 in the Cal League last year and he was nearly as good.  Jabari Henry was considerably better...but was 23 years old.  Marlette at 21 had comparable stats.  Ruiz was .766 in A Ball the year prior...as a 19 year old.  He's nice.....but we had guys that nice.
And we had the young arms to match the deal.  I suspect we could have done better, in fact...and kept our most shiny pieces.
Either the Braves lowered their price or we didn't chase him that hard.
Montero gets one last chance to whack....no problem.  He better do it really well because Kivlehan and Deej will be in the mix, too.


If Montero can actually produce for this year or so, just look at what kind of players Jack can trade Montero for... an Austin Wilson, Gohara and a Sanchez or Marte or Kivlehan by your own words... that is a lot of incentive to try to get Montero onto the 25 man roster if there is a glimpse of something there


So if we do keep Montero, we actually have the option of running three concurrent platoons and varying which lefties to bench depending on performance or rest needs. The three platoon bench options are Taylor, Montero and Ruggiano. There are five lefties who might get benched against a tough lefty starter. Smith, Seager, Morrison, Miller and Ackley. If you want a atraight platoon, Taylor goes in for Miller, Ruggiano goes in for Smith, Montero goes in for Morrison. But you can get any three out...if you want Seager out, Taylor plays short and Miller plays third. If you want Ackley out, Ruggiano plays left, Cruz plays right and Montero hits DH. You can see how that roster is configured well for rest, playing the hot hand and adjusting to changes in performance or injury.


With all the spaghetti that Jack is picking up, who knows what the pen will look like.
I agree with Matt that the guaranteed spots go to: Furbush, Rodney, Farquhar, Bartender, and Medina
On the right side that leaves as possibilities: Erasmo (if Jack really wants to keep him), Leone (can be sent down but doubtful), Smith, Walker(?), Gaviglio (guy we got for Kelly), Guaipe (just added to 40 man)... with long shots of Snow, Bawcom, Anderson, Lowe and several others
On the left side: Luetge, Rollins (rule 5 guy), Olmos (newly claimed flamethrower), Siverio (new Cuban signing), Kickham (guy we got today)... with long shots of Fernandez (assuming nobody signs him), Hunter, Hobson, Olson, and a couple others.
We really need some more meat sauce for all this spaghetti... although I am pretty sure we have plenty of meatballs on hand.


Montero and commitment, not two words usually associated with each other. Right now, every thing is peachy-keen. But what happens when the coach (who is working on the transition to 1B), the trainer working on his conditioning, whoever the person is that is working on his mental transition to 1B, and the nutritionist (who actually went to his home to teach his wife how to prepare healthy meals for him), leave? I'm not optimistic that he will have the commitment to stick with all of his programs. If he does make the grade this year, I think the M's should trade Montero as fast as they reasonably can.


Would have to think Bloomquist is in the given category too. Otherwise you are looking at Miller to cover a lot of positions that he's never played before.
The only scenario I see where Montero goes north is an honorary bench player for three weeks with a six man bullpen. They did this with Mike Wilson a few years ago.
To stay past that, he'll have to either out hit Morrison, or one of Morrison/Cruz has to get hurt.

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