M’s had other options than sending Jesus Montero back to Tacoma
Jesus Montero went 2 for 2 with a walk Sunday against the Yankees. He scored the only run for the Mariners. He was basically perfect in his three at-bats, and I’m admittedly biased, but even if I wasn’t, who can explain why Montero was sent to Tacoma today?
I know the answer before I asked the question – he was only here for five games no matter what, until J.A. Happ returned from his minor-league “assignment.”
But I’d like a better answer. Montero went 3 for 10 and walked three times, showing better patience than he has in the past. He also went the other way to right field for both of his hits Sunday, another encouraging sign.
For the sake of some semblance of objectivity, Montero looked awful when he pinch-hit against the Yankees’ Andrew Miller Friday night, swinging at two bad pitches and striking out.
Yet for all the talk from Lloyd McClendon before the All-Star break about “changes,” the Mariners remain on the same course that has led them to the worst record in the American League.
Keeping Montero on the team would have required unconventional wisdom, but we’ll have none of that! Every move must make baseball sense even when so many of the Mariner moves don’t, this one included.
You have the worst offense in the league, you have a guy who hit .300 and was tearing up the Pacific Coast League, yet you still get rid of him because there wasn’t room on the roster for a player who might actually help your offense.
The Mariners should have made another move and, frankly, I don’t care which one it was as long as Montero stayed on the team.
If you dumped Fernando Rodney or David Rollins, you’d leave your bullpen shorthanded. I still like Rodney for whatever reason – probably the arrow thing – but Rollins? Why is he still on the team? Again, another question where I know the answer – he’s a Rule 5 guy, and if you don’t keep him on the major-league team, you lose him.
To that, I’d say: “So what?” Here’s a guy who was suspended 80 games for a PED violation and has a 12.53 ERA since returning. Yeah, that’s the kind of guy I want on my team that’s trying to make the playoffs.
I’d rather have a shorthanded bullpen than see him on the mound again, but I know, down the road he probably has all kinds of potential and will no doubt be a star on another team if the Mariners dump him now.
I guess Montero is redundant with Mark Trumbo on the roster since they’re both right-handed power hitters, but how about sending Jesus Sucre to Tacoma and making my favorite player the backup catcher?
On Twitter Sunday night, I was roundly criticized for suggesting such an outrageous thing. Don’t you know that Montero doesn’t catch anymore, and when he did, don’t you realize that he was terrible at framing pitches and throwing out base runners? And don’t you know that he flinched and even closed his eyes sometimes when he caught the ball? Or that he’s had major knee surgery since he last caught and might not be able to even squat behind the plate? Don’t you know he’s not a major-league catcher?
Well, Mike Zunino and Sucre might be major-league catchers, but they’re not major-league hitters, so at this point, I’ll take a minor-league catcher in exchange for a major-league hitter.
Besides, I’m just asking Montero to catch one day a week. How bad can he be? Let’s say he has a passed ball and allows two stolen bases, costing the Mariners a run with his poor defense. But what if he hits a two-run homer in the same game? Would you take that trade? So would I.
Sucre has one hit this year – ONE HIT! And Zunino’s batting .158. Are you kidding me? In which baseball world is that acceptable?
What have you got to lose at this point? You’ve already got the worst record in the American League. And if it doesn’t work out, what harm will it do? Just another hitter who didn’t hit on a team that’s full of them during another lost season.
Montero could also give a struggling Logan Morrison a break from time to time at first base. And he could DH, primarily against lefties, but he has a good track record against right-handers too.
Yet instead of playing against the Tigers in Detroit tonight, Montero will be playing against the Salt Lake Bees in Tacoma tonight.
I don’t get it, don’t get it at all.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for SeattlePI.com and KitsapSun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.