Mariners’ Jesus Montero claimed off waivers by Toronto

Mar 28, 2016, 12:14 PM | Updated: 2:05 pm
Jesus Montero never lived up to the potential that the Mariners saw when they acquired him in a 201...
Jesus Montero never lived up to the potential that the Mariners saw when they acquired him in a 2012 trade. (AP)
(AP)

Jesus Montero’s time as a Mariner has come to an end as the Toronto Blue Jays claimed him off waivers Monday.

Montero’s days had appeared to be numbered for quite some time. As he was out of options, the only position available to him was as the right-handed platoon partner at first base. The Mariners brought in a number of players to compete for the position, including Dae-Ho Lee, whom they added to the 40-man roster Sunday. Montero went 9 for 38 this spring with just two extra-base hits and went just 1 for 12 against lefties.

With limited positional flexibility and a big-league walk-to-strikeout rate of 48/172, it was clear he was not a fit in general manager Jerry Dipoto’s “C the Z” approach.

M’s option Paxton, Taylor, Romero to Triple-A Tacoma

When former GM Jack Zduriencik acquired Montero from the the Yankees in January 2012 as part of a trade that sent Michael Pineda to New York, the thought was that the Mariners had found a long-time fixture in the middle of the order and the hope was that he would also be able to stick behind the plate.

Montero never lived up to his prospect label. Midway through his first season with the Mariners, the team used the third pick in the draft to select another catcher, Mike Zunino. A year later, Montero was sent down to Triple-A after posting a .208/.264/.327/.590 line over the first two months of the season and has not seen regular playing time in the big-leagues since.

After a performance-enhancing drug suspension and a well-publicized run-in with a scout, Montero, with the help of the organization, dedicated himself to getting in shape physically and, in the words of Zduriencik, getting his life on track.

He arrived at spring training in 2015 having lost 40 pounds, married and with a child on the way. He was appreciative of the help he received and the opportunity to continue in the organization.

While he was commended for the dedication to his offseason work and the weight loss, a roster spot would have to be earned on the field. Montero put up monster numbers at Triple-A, which did not continue when he was called up. The Mariners did not see enough from his bat this spring to put him on the 25-man roster.

To see a young player come up to the big leagues and make more than his fair share of missteps then turn his life around, you couldn’t help but pull for him. He’s earned that. Montero leaves the Mariners on my good-guy list. His on-field performance aside, he is someone I would have enjoyed seeing in the clubhouse on a daily basis.

As manager Scott Servais has said so many times, however, this is a result-driven league, and the results have not been there.

Montero will see plenty of familiar faces with the Blue Jays as Toronto was the landing spot for Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders. His time there may be short, however, as Toronto reporters point out there doesn’t appear to be a spot for him and believe the Jays will try to get him through waivers.

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