Montero Discussion Thread


(Now that he's gone, I realize that Pineda had become one of my five favorite Mariners ever.  My EqA/Angst = [Randy Johnson Trade Day] * 0.6.

That doesn't mean that we can't try to look at the deal dispassionately.  At best, the Mariners got Mike Piazza or Manny Ramirez for a pitcher with an Inverted W.  At minimum, it's a thrilling baseball trade.

Jack Zduriencik has GUTS.  Gotta love it.

Don't have time at the moment, so heeeeeere's Justin, a devoted minor league analyst. -- Jeff)


=== Justin Sez ===

The age-gate players are mostly from the Dominican Republic. Significantly better chance that Pujols himself has lied about his age than Montero.

Suspect Dr. D is not going to be a fan of this trade because Pineda was such a personal fav. However, IMO this was the exact kind of deal the M's should have been looking for.

The M's are loaded with SP depth and the Fielder talks are a good example of the reputation that Seattle/Safeco has with hitters. Montero is one of the elite offensive prospects in all of baseball, and immediately mashed MLB pitching as soon as he was called up. Ignoring position (which the M's can afford to do), Montero was probably among the top 3 or so bats you'd want for this team. My one concern on a trade like this would be the M's compromising on the quality of the bat they got back; definitely not the case with this deal!

The M's still have plenty of pitching depth. Felix is less than 3 years older than Pineda, with a better tracker and much safer injury risk. Hultzen, Walker, and Paxton are three A-level arms on the farm. And perhaps most importantly, free agent SP will be much easier to acquire than free agent hitting.

This trade makes the M's a better team for now and the future.

-- Justin



Here's what Boras gets for taking Zduriencik for granted.  I'm wallowing in that part of the deal.  :- D
5-year max for Fielder now out there in the cold, arctic baseball tundra?  Or is there some way to shed Justin Smoak and keep the Fielder deal alive?


Montero could be spun back to the east coast in a second deal to the Jays, Rays, or Orioles, none of which have great options existing at DH or (excepting the Orioles) catcher.  Suddenly the idea of Justin Smoak and Chone Figgins to the Orioles for Reynolds and Guthrie seems like it could come back (of course that would make us a bit right-handed heavy).  I think there's a lot of action left for the Mariners before spring training, Fielder or no, I don't think Jack would have done this without an idea of getting another pitcher, especially since the only particularly credible free agent starter left is yet another Boras client.


The O's had a big to-do earlier this week about how Reynolds is their starting 3B heading into Spring Training, and they have no doubts that he is a legitimate defensive MLB 3B. The timing and the quotes seemed a bit odd to me. Makes somewhat more sense if they were trying to peddle him off as a 3B in trade.


Of course I hate giving up Pineda but Montero could be an absolute beast and this team desperately needs offense. He really is an animal and he very well could be a great bat this season.
As for Boras, this has to be a kick in the crotch. He now either bends to the Mariners will or gets totally hosed. Here's what's great about this move that people are overlooking: as of right now, Montero is a CATCHER! Go look at his player card, he has yet to play anywhere on the field except catcher which means he probably could stick behind the plate for another season if the M's so choose. So we could sign Fielder and still keep Smoak if we can't get a good package for him. It will be interesting to see how things shake out over the next couple of weeks.
On the negative side, I can't fail to notice that we could have had Montero for two months of Cliff Lee yet are now giving up 5 years of Pineda as well as another excellent pitcher. That's kind of frustrating.


I don't support a move like this 1)Because I'm emotionally tied to Pineda and 2)I felt he could at least bring back a young hitter with positional value.
Cost controlled starting pitching with ACE upside is in high demand. It's the most valuable commodity you can have in baseball. How we don't bring back a bat with positional value is beyond me. How we throw in Jose Campos, as if Montero somehow had more value that Pineda just blows my mind.
Either Jack and company are convinced they truly have Miguel Cabrera here and/or they don't love Pineda as much as everybody else does, or we just saw Jack panic.
With Fielder possibly slipping away and staring at what on paper is another bad offense for 2012, I think Jack got desperate. He knows his window to field a winning team is closing. I think he knows he won't be here in 2014 if this offense doesn't get fixed. As a result, he overpayed for an offensive fix. I hate when my baseball team is run that way.

Taro's picture

Mixed feelings.
Logically Pineda for Montero straight up makes a lot of sense from a value standpoint. But the Ms included Campos for Noesi which could end up really hurting..
Z is betting a lot on Montero. He has to either stick at catcher and/or become a premium bat. Its a huge gamble.


I was thinking that too CPB ... of course if Smoak goes back out, we get whoever Smoak returns, and that becomes in effect the swap for Pineda...
Am excited enough about Montero as a 1B/DH because that dude can go 425 feet to right and right-center.  At 1B/DH he looks like the return of Edgar Martinez, give or take thirty pounds.  The shots to RF and RCF are gorgeous.
If Montero were to play catcher, though, you would really have a shot at a Mike Piazza-level HOF commodity, a commodity far more valuable than Pineda.  The 116-win M's had a 37-homer, right hand power hitter at a glove position.


The M's didn't really trade Pineda for Montero; they traded a [#1 to #3/4 SP downgrade] for Montero.  Noesi is looking at 180+ innings as Mariner in 2012.
Noesi comes into training camp an ML-ready power starter, with a located 94 heater, good command, and offspeed stuff that breaks left and right.  
He could actually be an adequate #3 starter.  In a perfect world Noesi actually becomes a TOR.  This is where the blog-o-sphere is going wrong in its first reaction.
Campos was a great prospect but he hasn't yet debuted in the majors.  Noesi is worth more than Campos is; the Mariners got TWO exciting young ML regulars for Pineda and a spect.


If I'm the M's, Montero goes straight to 1B/DH. We are in desperate need of the bat not the position versatility. The last thing we need is for Montero's bat to be eaten up by catching at the MLB level, ala Matt Wieters. The M's are invested heavily in this deal, now is not the time to play with fire.


Good stuff NYM.  
Churchill "has learned that" the M's are still interested in Fielder, which would leave Justin Smoak as a dead man walking.


Asked my scout for intel on Campos when he was getting hyped here over the summer. Didn't post anything because really no point in raining on the parade, but the book is 4+ years before he's anywhere close to ready for a MLB rotation and doubt over whether his secondary pitches hold up when he reaches the upper minors.
Wouldn't be surprised if he starts getting hyped now that he's with the Yankees, but really seems more like an interesting diceroll than a legit B+ prospect. We could regret dealing him, but if we do it will be about five years from now. For a raw starting pitching prospect, that's not a description that should ruin your day.


I'm hearing the same thing, but also that the M's have money problems and Smoak would primarily be used to alleviate those so they can sign Fielder.
The followup moves will be almost as significant as this deal itself.

Taro's picture

For sure Noesi is underrated, though Campos is a bit much.. Oh well, it seems like a fair trade, maybe the Yanks winning a bit on overall value.
Ultimately though, its all about Montero.

Taro's picture

Definetly in favor of the Pineda-Montero portion of the swap. Still don't like betting on Pineda's health long-term. An interesting swap of injury-risk for performance-risk based on need.
I like Noesi's delivery quite a bit either than the followthrough. Rumors that his velocity was better in the winter leagues.
I'm really high on Campos though. The combination of fastball command + power stuff + frame to grow at that age is rare. I like him as much or more than I like Walker.
I don't hate the deal, but the Campos portion could really end up hurting if he stays healthy. If Noesi leaps a plateou it would make me feel a lot better about it.


Campos was a tremendous teenage pitcher, but if he's potentially worth $1.00 and Noesi worth 50c, on paper you have a fair trade here.  Because of the 50% attrition rate.
M's cashed in a 2d6 dice roll for an 8 on the table.  Objectively speaking, they profited some.
Hard not to focus on Campos' best-case scenario, of course :- )


Credit Lookout Landing:
Before the 2010 season - the last time Smoak was rated - Baseball America had Smoak as baseball's #13 prospect, Ackley as baseball's #12 prospect, and Montero as baseball's #4 prospect.


That Reynolds must have been concealing (or simply playing through without acknowledging to the media while Showalter knew) some kind of leg injury.  Here are his 3rd Base Range Factors for his career:
2007, -6.9 (First Year, jumped up from AA after only 67 games there)
2008, 1.2
2009, -4.8
2010, 2.5
2011, -15.2
While he was never a gold glove, that's a big drop off.  In 2011 he also had his fewest stolen base attempts since 2007, and his worst base running score (a relatively mild -2.2).  That's a weird collapse to have at 27, maybe if he were in his early 30s I'd buy it, but not at 27.  Anyway, enough Mark Reynolds hijacking.
I think another question is:  what about Miguel Olivo.  There is at least the potential for a trade considering his fairly thrifty contract and power tool.  John Jaso could likely handle catching 4-5 games a week, while Montero catches 2-3, but then Miguel has a rapport with Felix and a reputation for being a good game caller, thief catcher, and mentor, perhaps he could help make Montero a better catcher.  The fact is though, that as long as Olivo and Jaso are on the roster, I wouldn't look for Montero to catch more than a handful of games next year.


Good call, NYMariner
I sense some panic here.
While it is true we are loaded with arms, we aren't loaded with the most valuable commodity in baseball, Seaver-type arms.
Well, we were loaded.  We aren't now.
If Monterro hits and Pineda dominates, at best this is a wash. Noesi must be a mid-rotation+ type of guy to make it work.
And Hultzen or Iwakuma has to be a legit #2.
I'll be a team player and jump on the wagon.  But I'm not happy about this one.  I hope I'm wrong.


Wouldn't be surprised if the "injury" was more psychological than physical. Reynolds made a few key errors early summer, the media absolutely ganged up on him, and then the throwing errors really started piling up.
Baltimore/Maryland is kind of an odd place for baseball. Lacrosse is the huge spring/summer sport for the younger crowd, baseball is prety much ignored. The older fans who do follow it are stuck in the 60's and 70's and worship pitching/defense. You look at some of the local Orioles articles/quotes, and defense is probably weighted higher than hitting.
Below average defense at SS/3B is practically sacrilege around here. Reynolds mashed 37 HR's with a .800+ OPS, and most local Oriole fans are still lamenting the loss of David Hernandez. Horrible environment for a bat-first player, and Reynolds let it get to him.
On a side note, also doesn't help that the O's pitching allowed a ridiculously high batted ball velocity.


In the last year and a half the M's have traded Lee, Fister, Pineda and Bedard.  That's one heck of a staff right there.  


Only word is that the M's still want to get in on Fielder, but they're going to need to resolve some money issues first and are actively trying to use Smoak to accomplish that


Lee was a Mariner for all of 100 innings, and the prospects we gave up to acquire him have all fizzled.
Bedard was a rent-a-player on a $1 mil, 1-year contract.
That 'staff' heading into 2012 would have been just Fister and Pineda.


OK....I've taken a deep breath.  I'm back and I'm better.
If Hultzen and Iwakuma are real, then I'm closer to good with this.  Noesi is gravy  
We stocked a bunch of pitchers.  We had more on the way.  They had to be good for something.  I'll admit that. Pineda was not the swap I thought we would make.  But after a deep breath, I'm learning to be OK with it. Really.
And I'm way better with Pineda (considering the Iwakuma signing) for Montero than I am throwing $200 million at Prince.
Now THAT would really be panicking!
And this means that young guys like Wells and Liddi and Seager are going to play.
Smoak for Reynolds would really be panicking.  And I like Reynolds.
I won't be mad.  I'll be optimistic.  This just might work great.
Boras is the one who's mad right now.  He played his hand badly. 


Hector Noesi actually produced an impressive 8.88 k/9 and 1.8 bb/9 and a 0.6 HR/9 rate through AA, before jumping to the majors after a mere 43 innings at AAA and a month shy of the 3 year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery.  In 2010, he started in High A, and by the end of the year finished in AAA, I wonder why the Yankees suddenly decided to rush him?


Couldn't find direct evidence, but I think I cited their high HR/FB%, not to mention that they regularly faced some of the best offenses in the game in New York, Boston, Toronto, and Tampa.  He's always had problems with errors, and especially throwing errors, but they had come down significantly in the previous 2 years.  I'm not saying he's going to be good, just good enough to be bad as opposed to the value killing travesty he appeared to be last year.  I would peg him for a -7 to -12 defensively over a full season, which could be mitigated by healthy stays at DH, 1st, Left Field, or even the bench more often as he has Adrian Beltre's Disease (a seeming attraction to small injuries that significantly impact production that the player insists on playing through) that would likely make him a hit with Wedge considering how unhappy he was with Brendan Ryan finishing the season on the DL.

Buschleaguer's picture

Loved the "potential" in his arm but for pete's sake, we're talking 4-5 years down the road.  And that, of course, assumes that everything works perfectly and he ends up beating the odds to take his talent to the bigs and dominate.  
I hope we'll have long since gotten over losing Campos as we rejoice watching our M's as a perenial playoff team by then. (fingers crossed)


Read a book - "Predictably Irrational" - which described a number of ways humans behave "irrationally" in given contexts.  One of the skews to rational assessment of value is "ownership".  When we "own" something, (and that definition has more flexibility than one might assume), we tend to ascribe far more value to it than we would on the other side of the transaction.
This is the "why" behind the emotional response to the trade compared to the rational analysis.
The truth is, Seattle has been good developing arms for years.  They have been the worst team in baseball in developing hitters for a decade.  They are changing the bad side of that reality (slowly) ... but in the meantime, the most logical trend going forward is going to be trading pitching for hitting.  Whether that is Putz for Carp or C.Lee (acquired for a bunch of low A high upside pitchers) for Smoak or Fister for Casper ... the trend cannot be anything else. 
You trade from surplus.  Seattle's talent surplus is all in the arm department.  That's not likely to change any time soon. 
But, Pineda and Fister both went from obscure (not on the top 10 list) prospects to we-want-this-guy-forever homegrown stars practically overnight.  There is no reason that Montero cannot do the same thing.  Maybe he doesn't work out as a catcher.  I don't know.  But, dealing from strength to plug weakness is exactly what good GMs do.
My argument all along has been that with so many positions to fill (and very shaky production projections even where we have some optimism), it is a bad idea to slam down flexibility with a huge contract.  Montero addresses the offensive weakness, while Z has proven to be extremely adept at shuffling pitchers in and out of the lineup until he finds success.
I've never been high on Smoak ... but I'd still like to see him get another year to prove me wrong.  I continue to believe a year from now the club will know a LOT more about which players are solid going forward and which are not.  And then ... (assuming enough are solid) ... you can look at adding help from outside at exactly the positions where you are weak.

DC Mariner's picture

Call this a knee-jerk homer reaction, but I think Smoak's performance up until the time his father died is more indicative of how he can play in the league. 

ghost's picture

Who says Montero is acquired to DH for us?  Why isn't he our CATCHER...the position we NEED.  I think he's our catcher...I don't think this does anything to the Fielder trade except make us a more attractive destination for Fielder and apply pressure on Boras to accept our offer.


Guess I was buying into the 'net rat chatter a little too quick?
There is certainly an argument for keeping him at 1B/DH so that he doesn't become Matt Weiters - an argument based on maximizing Montero's bat.  
But for bloggers to laugh at the idea of Montero catching?  What would a blogger know about catcher defense?  And how many times has that blogger seen Jesus Montero catch?
You'll notice that I steer wayyyyyy clear of catcher defense, for the same reason that I don't argue with Grumpy about surgery.  If the Mariners say that Montero can catch, that's my default assumption.

ghost's picture

I do put some stock in being able to call a good game...but Mike Piazza was an asset to his clubs behind the plate despite calling a mediocre game and throwing out about 1 runner in 6 for most of his career. :)
I don't think Catcher Defense really has a large win-value impact on a team, all told...with the possible exception fo the catchers who are EXREMELY POOR at calling a good game and/or leading their pitchers. (Giminez, e.g.)

benihana's picture

The complaints I've been reading about Montero catching (Churchill, Law, etc.) seem to stem from "if you can't control the running game you can't catch" dept.  
Want to minimize that impact? Have him catch guys that don't put runners on base.
Good pitching = good defense.  
Get me more hitters like this please.
- Ben.

ghost's picture

I'll sign that petition.  I still think Smoak is a 125 OPS+ solid first baseman and #5 hitter in this league.  But we'll see.


As y'know, Dr. D is Justin Smoak's biggest fan.  It says here that all he needs to do is relax into his game, not grimace so much, let the game come to him.
It's not clear to me *when* that will be.  
Carlos Pena, a very similar player, puttered along at 110 OPS+ for 400 games until the light came on, and then rang up several MVP-vote seasons.
I kind of fear the prospect of Smoak having one full 110 OPS+ season in 2012 before he starts really mashing.

Nick's picture

Because you're worried Z will lose patience and trade him or because the lineup needs Justin's 125 this year?


More the latter than the former, because if Smoak's gone then Fielder's here, right?  :- )

JD_EM11's picture

I also have read chatter about his size being detrimental to his D. I am in the boat beliving the M's see him as a C and will play him there until Montero proves otherwise. In Larry Stone's latest blog a scout mentions Montero works harder to get better.
We know that's a quality Z likes in his players. Hard nose, tough chin, big heart.
There are some catchers in the big leagues Montero's size playing the position. Mauer, Molina J, Saltalamacchia, Mcann, Barajas. I am curious how the aforementioned where viewed defensively in their travels from the minors to the bigs. I know Mauer spoke of being doubted while giving some advice for Montero in this article
IMO Z believes with the help of Roger Hansen and Wedge, both being former catchers, and some hard work from Montero the M's can stick Montero at C and capitalize his worth to the team. I agree with Dr. D when he opined Montero's brief stint in the big leagues changed Z's mind about Montero. As a result we get to watch both Smoak and Montero flourish into MOTO bats for our guys in blue and teal. 
I may have been in the minority when before this deal I was excited for the M's in 2012. I had a belief with Ackley, Smoak, Carp, Wells, Ichiro!(IMO he bounces back to his career norms) our offense was going to produce better than most expected. Now adding Montero I am giddy in my dreams.  


Play him at catcher against teams that don't run or don't run well. Find the most favorable matchups and catch him half-time or even less. That'll save wear and tear, too.


Pineda would not have brought us Montero 18 months ago.  Cliff Lee was necessary.  Both players proved they are who we thought they were, so the value of both went up.  That's the nature of prospects.
Also, I'm not sure I understand the fuss about catcher defense.  
Didn't we learn ANYthing from the Angels and their Mike Napoi disaster?  "He doesn't catch like Mathis, he's just a DH."  The Rangers didn't think so, and look who got rewarded?
Also, can I mention that Miguel "passed ball" Olivo is our backstop?  He's led the league in PBs 4 times and almost did it again last year.  He's a lock for 10 PBs and 50 WPs a year, and has thrown out 28% of runners 2 of the last 3 years.
Oh, and also he's the worst offensive catcher in the league, so there's that.
Napoli was better behind the dish than Olivo last year on defense, and was about 4 batters better than him on offense (more?  The gap is Grand Canyon large).
Let him catch 60 games and DH 90 and we'll see where he's at.  I'm fine with Montero and Jaso sharing catching duties going forward.  Have I mentioned that Jaso's a lefty so we can let Montero play all the time and have him catch when tough lefty starters are opposing us to keep Jaso's contributions high?
Dump Olivo and go with that pairing.
Oh...and KEEP SMOAK.  Not that I'm all that concerned about it.  For Fielder we might have moved Smoak.  If Fielder somehow changes his might we still could. 
But Smoak was and is the jewel of the Cliff Lee deal, and was our most-valuable hitter the first two months of last season.
Jack is gonna want him to show he can be the man, and that Jack didn't make a mistake picking him over Montero the first time.
I still think the world of Smoak.  What's better than Smoak or Montero?  Smoak AND Montero to add to Ackley.  If Carp is the hitter he was last year going forward, I'm feeling much better about this offense.
It sucks that it cost us Pineda to get there, but you play with the cards you're dealt, and Jack IMO has finally righted the offensive ship, with a boatload of pitching prospects still in house.
Since Prince didn't want our mega-millions, that's about the best I could hope to do.  I wanted Alex Gordon (for whom Pineda would probably have been necessary) but he's about to get expensive - Montero is cheap.  Now we can take Sandy's approach and wait-and-see which holes to plug without being crushed in an offensive black hole in the meantime.
It was the price we had to pay.  Jack had the stones to pay it, now we'll see how it works out.

okdan's picture

This is exactly the way I feel w/r/t the catching "situation". Other than his solid pitcher management and occasional dinger, Olivo is a below average backstop. This is the Mathis/Napoli situation, but if Mathis weren't any good either. G mentioned the passed balls and abysmal CS%, and let's not forget that before him, we were running out Rob Johnson regularly. Which brings me to my next point, which I haven't really seen mentioned yet (which speaks volumes):
This spells the end of Adam Moore's time in Seattle. Not that we were counting on him for 2012 or anything, but any last hope of him carving out any kind of role on this team is now gone. Kind if amazing that Clement, Johnson, and Moore all wiped out.

Rick's picture

Smoak, Ackley and now Montero. It reminds me the the Sonic rebuild of the mid 80's when, after a few years in the wilderness, we were acquiring young studs like Chambers, Xavier, McMillan Lister and Ellis. Some were under the radar, some were highly regarded talents with question marks, but everyone, from the starting five to the lower bench, had upside. That team competed, going to the Western Conference finals.


That's a giddi-fying idea for Dr. D :- )
Yeah, and it says here that Saltalamacchia is bigger than Montero, that Molina's listed 250, etc.
Good stuff JD.


Now we can take Sandy's approach

I was thinking the same thing last night, and I'd like to go on record now as saying that for me the acquisition of Jesus Montero, even though he is right-handed, has brought me much closer to Sandy's point of view. That's not to say that I'd be against signing Fielder now. But I feel much more comfortable going forward with what we have. My concern was the pressure on Smoak to carry the MOTO load. Now, not only did Jack get him help -- we all expected that -- but he gave him a true MOTO partner in crime, another wet-behind-the-ears stud in the making, an Hakeem Alajuwan to his Ralph Sampson. If one don't get ya on a given night, the other one will kind of thing. It takes the pressure off but in a completely different way than adding Fielder. It remains to be seen in historical terms how good these two will be, but the addition of two young studs like this at the same time in the middle of the order makes me think of Canseco and McGwire (minus the steroids, of course).
And even though the cost in prospects was not cheap at all, to think that Jack accomplished this without using his "when I go to them with the right deal the payroll will be made available" card. He probably only has one of those cards in the bank. Well, it's still there if/when needed. If you sign Fielder, great. We're soon to be a bona fide SCARY offense. If you don't sign Fielder and play the card another year, well, we're still developing a lineup that's approaching average now and growing.
Jack didn't just get a premium bat that wasn't an aging vet. He didn't just get a premium bat in the middle of his career. He got one that's just getting started, one with six years of control, one that almost everyone agrees is destined to be one of the top bats in MLB. That's WAY better than I was expecting if we missed on Fielder.
So Sandy, props to you. I've always respected your argument. Jack may have just made you a winner.


There were only a handful of hitters that were gettable and I thought could do what we needed done (obviously I would have added Bryce Harper for instance, but he's not gettable).
We HAD to add more - I was absolutely against going into 2012 with the hitting roster as assembled.  We needed another MOTO hitter that we didn't have.  And for Sandy's plan to work, we needed them here for a long time.
My list had players like Alex Gordon (with an extension), Logan Morrison...and Jesus Montero.  But after we thumbed our noses at the Yankees on the Cliff Lee thing I figured grudges might have been held.  And maybe they were, hence Campos.  But I think the deal was pretty fair, if painful.
But it feels painful on both ends, as all good and fair deals should.
Now I'm good with going into 2012 with what we've got.  Jack's done his job.  Smoak doesn't have to carry all the heavy lifting, Carp doesn't have to be an impact player over his 500 ABs (though it'd be nice), there's some thump in the lineup to drive in Ackley and his soon-to-be-impressive OBP, and neither Franklin nor Catricala have to become MVP candidates to "save" this offense.
We still have lots of pieces in house to shuffle around as we find out who's working out and who isn't.  Could we make more trades?  Absolutely.  Trayvon's still sitting around and if Guti gets healthy one of em is expendable.  If Wells can play a decent CF then both might be, but good CF defense is one of the cornerstones of Safeco and a wonderful comfort to our pitching staff - and I like them to be comfortable.
Talent-wise, though, I feel good about what is now residing on the roster and in AAA.  The team I've been wanting the Mariners to build for a decade now is setting its foundations.
Cy Young candidate? check.
Cadre of power arms, both rotational and bullpen? check.
Multiple All-Stars in the lineup?  check.
Power? check.
OBP? check.
Core can be together for half a decade at least? Check.
Several major talents still in the minors to keep up the progression? Check.
Now we'll see if they can make some noise.
And I won't have to go into April and May knowing that if Smoak doesn't get it done, it's not getting done.
This feels like the Rays, bursting with young talent and a good pipeline.  If the AL West is turning into the AL East, then I'll be satisfied to be the Rays to Texas' NYY and the LAAAA version of the Sox.
Just with a little more payroll on our end, if you please.


Of course I'm thrilled with the Montero pickup.  It addresses one of the weak spots in the lineup cheaply (in terms of payroll), if Montero can play catcher.
It adds more upside rather than spending large on a player at his peak already.
Of course, as a prospect, there is always risk ... but there are few prospect bats out there with less chance of failure than Montero.
But, I would like to note that if Fielder had been signed, then getting Montero would never have even been considered.  Since Montero's ability to catch in the majors remains a question mark ... you CANNOT make that move unless you have the lineup flexibility to move him to DH if you are forced to.  Once you commit $25+ million to a DH you can't seriously consider any player "like" Montero, (big bat, questionable defense).
But, this is Jack working from HIS strength.  Since his arrival, the one constant is that Jack is good at wheeling and dealing in regards to prospects.  In regards to the FA market ... his record is spotty to bad.  The one multi-year FA deal was Figgins ... so not a lot to go on.
But Jack couldn't negotiate Branyan back into the fold.  He had to let him walk and then trade to get him back. 
Evidence (or lack thereof), suggests that Jack is not in the elite class when it comes to negotiating with PLAYERS.  Evidence suggests that he is excellent at dealing with GMs.  This is yet another reason that the club is likely going to be better off long term rebuilding from within.  If Jack really isn't good at player level negotiations, then better he start those negotiations with players who might already be prone to considering home town discounts. 
Z has a gift for judging young talent.  No, he's not 100% accurate.  But when the baseball world as a whole tends to hit .167 with prospect swings, Jack seems to bat closer to .400.  If that's your strength you need to maximize your swings with that talent. 
That said ... I like the idea of Fielder even less with Montero on board.  Adding Prince would destroy the flexiblity of making Montero a DH (if necessary).  The club STILL has too much uncertainty about future production to take $25 million a year gambles just yet.  A year from now, the club should have a much better take on whether it needs a 3B a 1B or a CF. 


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