Zduriencik and Montero on the Hot Stove League Show
Hot Stove wrap up…
Fun show tonight with Jack Zduriencik, Jesus Montero and Shawn Kelley joining us. If you missed it the podcast is up on our podcast page along with the rest of the shows from this offseason.
Some quick news notes and thoughts from the show…
Jack Zduriencik joined us after what was a busy day and shed light on a few question not completely covered earlier in the day. He talked about the trade and why it was important he was able to make such a move.
“When we got here one of the big things was we didn’t have any players at the big league level that were talented players making no money,” he pointed out. “Everybody was making dollars. As a result it really ties your hands on moves you can make. You look at really good clubs and you have a pipeline where you have players you get to the big league level where the first three years the salary is minimum but they are contributors. They are good players at the big league level and that helps you to do other things at the top to bring in that extra piece here or there so that is one of the things we really strived for.”
I was curious about something ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark said on 710 this week in that he had heard from rival executives that they were not even aware that Pineda was available. Well he wasn’t available to just anyone. Zduriencik was looking for something very specific, not a package of prospects.
“We were trying to acquire what we would consider an echelon big league hitter that was young,” he said. “We came up with a few names and certainly Montero was in the middle of it.”
Exactly how many names were on the list of players he would trade Pineda for?
“Probably four guys that we really coveted,” he answered.
You go ahead and guess who they were.
Zduriencik repeated what he said earlier in the day, that Montero would be given every opportunity to catch. They are going to see what happens in spring training and go from there. He acknowledged that there was a chance that they could carry three catchers this year.
As for Montero, he was brimming with excitement and enthusiasm to be in Seattle.
“I have been so happy to be here with this team because they are going to give me more opportunity. Right now I am so happy and proud that the Seattle Mariners give me the opportunity to be Jesus Montero and show who Jesus Montero really is.”
He admitted to being a little star struck when it came to his new teammate Felix Hernandez.
“In Venezuela I looked at Felix like a super star,” he said. “He played against my older brother in Venezuela and he was the only one who struck out everyone on the team, it was unbelievable. Now he won the Cy Young and now I am going to play with him on the same team.”
He then made a little blunder he may need to apologize to Felix for.
“That is going to be amazing for me because I am 22 , he’s 28, 29? I don’t know. I am going to catch Felix Hernandez and I am excited.”
Felix of course is only 25. Hope I am there when the kid tries to do his explaining!
An aside, if you missed it, I caught up with Felix earlier today and he was very Felix like. Wasn’t concerned for a minute that he could be traded this off season and thinks that the rotation will be just fine despite the fact that they lost Pineda.
Moving on. It turns out that Felix is not Montero’s only Mariners hero. His approach the other way? He saw someone on tv do that when he was very young and took note.
“It is amazing to me because that is the team that I dream all of my life when I was a kid,” he said. “I used to watch tv all the time when I was 11 years old and I used to watch Edgar Martinez hit home runs to right field and I used to tell my dad you are going to see me on tv one day and he saw me with the Yankees and now he will see me with the Mariners like I said to him.”
When Rick Rizzs pointed out that Edgar’s approach was to go the other way Montero excitedly interrupted him.
“That’s why I was watching a lot of video from him, that’s why I learned!”
Montero mentioned the Alex Rodriguez helped him out a lot in the cages and I can’t help but wonder if he also had him watching video of Edgar. If so, nice move and thanks.
We learned that Jesus is not a soccer fan, and that his passion outside of baseball is drag racing. He has two cars but does not drive them.
“Too fast,” he said with a laugh. “I just want to keep playing baseball. I don’t want to do that!”
There was a rather charming moment while we were wrapping things up.
“I just want to have fun like Jack (pause) Zduriencik,” he said very carefully, “Zduriencik (again but more sure) wow, it’s very hard to say!”
He then went on to say something that impressed me. This is a guy who just turned 22 and has barely a month of service time in the big leagues. This is a guy who no one is asking for leadership from yet. This is a guy who it would be understandable if he wasn’t quite used to the idea that he was a Mariner yet. For the second time today he promised that his new team would win. It wasn’t just about him on his first day as a Mariner, it was about his new team.
“I am going to do my best and I will help them to win. We will be the best, you will see.”