By Brady Henderson
Jesus Montero will no longer primarily be a catcher now that the Mariners have determined that a position switch is necessary to maximize his offensive potential.
The plan, according to Zduriencik, is for Montero to see time at designated hitter, play first base and catch occasionally during his demotion to Triple-A Tacoma.
The possibility of Montero playing first base was discussed when Jason A. Churchill of Prospect Insider joined “Bob and Groz” earlier Thursday. Churchill doesn’t think that’s a transition Montero can make anytime soon.
“I think there’s a misnomer out there – among the casual fan, at least – that first base is an easy position to play and an easy position to learn. It is absolutely not,” he said. “It doesn’t take an incredible amount of athletic ability, but there are a lot of specific skills to that position where if you’ve been playing a completely different position like catcher or if you were a pitcher or a left fielder and you were trying to learn first base, it’s not that easy at all.”
Churchill said digging out balls, stretching for throws and throwing to second base – all common plays for a first baseman – aren’t easy to master.
“You can hide a guy over there a little bit and be OK if he’s going to be a big bat, but a guy that’s never played the position, a guy like Montero, sure, he could learn that, but it’s not like you can throw him down to Tacoma for a couple of months and then bring him up and play him at first base and expect him to be major-league caliber,” Churchill said.
In the video below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their expectations for Montero at first base.
You can listen to Thursday’s show here.