Cashman: Montero is Ready to Catch in the Majors 17

Via Josh Norris of the Trentonian:

JN: With [Jesus Montero], obviously the questions are with his defense. I know the Yankees believe he can catch right now. How far does the organization believe he has to go before its certain he can catch long-term.

BC: We believe he can catch, and we believe he can catch long-term.

JN: What are you and the organization seeing, then, that perhaps other organizations are missing when it comes to Montero’s defensive abilities?

BC: He’s come a long way. The defensive side is something he’s had to work on a long time. I’d liken it separately to a guy like Wade Boggs, who came through the farm system of the Red Sox, always hit, but people said he can’t play defense. He ultimately turned himself into a perennial Gold Glove-winning third baseman.

Hard work can close the gap on deficiencies. Derek Jeter made 56 errors in the South Atlantic League. … The minor leagues is (where you) work out your problems, and he’s certainly closing the gap. He’s not there yet, but he’s pretty damn close. We believe he’s better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now.

This seems to be the Yankee party line. It is natural that they would say this. Even if they didn’t believe it they would stick to it because admitting otherwise would hurt his trade value.

Of course it is certainly possible that Cashman is speaking the truth. The thing is that so many people have questioned his defensive without ever seeing him and if they did see him it was just once or twice not enough to develop a real educated opinion on his skills. When it comes to minor leaguers what happens a lot of the time is that a story evolves about them and people just stick with it.

Take Francisco Cervelli for instance. Before he reached the majors a lot of people insisted that he was a great defensive catcher. Then in 2010 he plays a full season in the majors and we finally get a good chance to see him and he was one of the worst catchers in baseball.

I’m not suggesting that the complete opposite is true. Montero may never win a Gold Glove in his career, but he may end up being half way decent defensively. We’re really going to have to wait for him to reach the majors and see for ourselves. Until then it’s good to know that the Yankees, at least publicly, believe in his ability.

Also important to know, Cashman said that Russell Martin is definitely the starting catcher and that there will be a three way competition between Montero, Cervelli, and Austin Romine to be the backup catcher.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

17 thoughts on “Cashman: Montero is Ready to Catch in the Majors

  • smurfy

    Betcha we'll see Cervelli start the year as backup, with Jesus coming up (after some more practice) with Cervelli's inclusion in a trade package for a shiny new starter.

  • Lincoln

    Think they would package Cervelli with Chamberlain and possibly a third AAA prospect (position or pitcher)? Would be hard to think of a pitcher that would be worth that haul, or a team that would take that haul for a decent pitcher.

  • The Pirate

    Montero it's not the worse defensive catcher in the Yankee Organization, he may be the best and improve rapidly, like others players in the past, but how long will take a rookie to fully manage a game to starters and relievers such as Sabathia, Hughes, Burnett,Pettite, and Rivera,Feliciano,Soriano, etc. You need to first learn the oppositon players weakness and the how strong it's you pitcher that date before you can call a good game. I predict that by July or even in less time, Posada will be the regular New York Yankee catcher again.

  • Peter Lacock

    People forget that last season was Cervelli’s first full one in the majors and because of Jorge’s injuries he was pressed into duty above and beyond the call. His defensive prowess, or lack thereof, should not be judged just yet.

  • Rob Abruzzese Post author

    Cervelli was 24, ready for the majors, and only played in 93 games and 266 at bats. That was not above and beyond the call of duty. He might be able to improve, but if he wasn’t ready then he might never be.

  • Hardcore Yankee Fan

    Cashman said it best when he stated:

    "We believe he’s better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now."

    How convenient that the Yankees happen to have a "starting catcher" that Montero is better than defensively. I'm not referring to Martin here but Cerv or Posada, take your pick. I don't even really know how good Montero is or isn't behind the plate (other than his numbers which aren't THAT bad), but it would take quite the imagination to think that he's any worse that Curly or Moe.

  • nyyankeefanforever

    Frankly, from everything I've read and seen, everyone's projecting Montero to be a 1st baseman/DH type anyway, so I don't even think he's in the equation for Yankee catcher. He'll get his at-bats this this spring to showcase his wood and then head straight back to Scranton to await our trade for an A-list starter. The kid just grew too big and fast. Was just reading today that only four catchers have ever played 200 games or more who were as tall and heavy as JM is, and three of them have suffered debilitating back and leg troubles. Let's call him what he is — the best trade chip down on our farm. I expect to see Martin start, Cervelli to hang around awhile for insurance, and Romine to return to Double A to be kept on ice until Montero gets traded for a pitcher, at which time he'll get bumped up to Scranton. Posada will be full-time DH'ing and maybe see some third-string garbage time only if Martin or Cervelli get hurt or tired, but that's it. Next season, I think we'll be having this conversation about Romine and Martin; and Montero, Posada and Cervelli will all be memories.

  • David K.

    If Montero's defense is bad enough, then they should make him the full time DH. Why would you trade a potential Edgar Martinez or Manny Ramirez? We've heard that he is going to be a great major league hitter. I want to see how good he'll be. Give him 500 at-bats, a full season as part time catcher and DH. There is nothing wrong with using a rookie as a DH, if he is a great hitter.

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