Cashman: Montero is Ready to Catch in the Majors

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.

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17 Responses to Cashman: Montero is Ready to Catch in the Majors

  1. smurfy says:

    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.

  2. Lincoln says:

    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.

    • smurfy says:

      figure that would be the 'trash package"? I think Cervelli is better than he showed last season. Not much power, but a clutch, savvy hitter.

  3. The Pirate says:

    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.

    • Wesley says:

      Wow…you sound like Antonio Cromartie trying to type out a tweet!!!

    • smurfy says:

      Well, I get your point that it takes some time and experience, not to mention smarts to call a good game. But they would break him in as backup, and coach him from the bench. I agree with your implication that Jorge is a better catcher than he is credited. But either you are forgetting Russell Martin, or you figure he won’t hold up, you didn’t say.

    • At this point Posada is the 5th catcher behind Martin, Montero, Cervelli, and Romine. There is almost no chance he’ll be the regular catcher at any point in 2011. It would take multiple injuries and disappointing seasons all around for that to happen.

      • smurfy says:

        Well, at least I think that’s how Jorge can cope with the DH separation from duties, by mentoring Jesus from the bench, teaching him about pitcher and batter preferences.

  4. Peter Lacock says:

    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.

  5. 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.

    • The Captain says:

      Exactly.

      Everybody needs to realize that Cervelli is what he is, a backup catcher who can call a decent game, play average D, and come up with some hits here or there. He got exposed as that last season by getting more at-bats than he normally would have gotten.

      Cervelli is nothing more than a placeholder for Jesus to start the season. As soon as the Yanks think Jesus is ready, he’s coming up and Cervelli will either become the 3rd option or will be gone.

  6. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    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.

  7. nyyankeefanforever says:

    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.

    • Franco Kotos says:

      I agree, Montero’s defensive skills are the worst of any Yankee catcher in their system i believe…if he’s capable of learning another position, they should shift him…ultimately, I think he’s a Yankee DH full time if he cannot play the outfield or he’s trade bait…

    • Henry Hull says:

      Montero is the best defensive catcher at the moment. Romine will be better but is not yet better. Montero gets a bumb rap on his defense. No one knows Montero as well as I do. Yankees would be out of there mind to trade him.

      [editor's note: there is no need for name calling.]

  8. David K. says:

    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.

    • Franco Kotos says:

      David K, you make a good point but the Yankees appear to want to keep the DH position flexible so that aging ballplayers, Arod, Jeter, Posada can have an off-day in the field, or a series of off days in case on mild injury while still having their bats in the lineup…Posada is slated as the full time DH but that remains to be seen…if Arod re-aggravates his injured hip and the team believes he's still capable of hitting without further complications, they will want Arod in the lineup…i would imagine the torque on his swing could cause further discomfort but they've used Arod in that role when he needed it in the past…other players may benefit from DH flexibility as well…right now, Montero's defense is keeping him out of consideration for the 2011 season as a catcher…that might change but he should have the chance of learning another position if possible…i heard he played some time in right field…if the Yankees do not believe his defense will improve enough and are unwilling to put him behind the plate, they still have options, one of which is to do the unthinkable for many of us Yankee fans, trading him…personally, i'd like to see him in pinstripes but they may opt to trade him for a front-line starter…