Where will Jesus Montero play for the Mariners?
Still reeling from that trade last night. Unlike some deals that are rumored for several hours or days, this one sprung from the head of Zeus, fully-formed, in almost no time. And also unlike so many other deals this didn’t involve a salary dump. The M’s had a stud pitcher and needed a bat. The Yankee had a stud hitting prospect and needed an arm. It was so ... simple.
The hardest part of this deal is where to play Jesus Montero when he shows up to camp next month.
Montero has only caught and DH’d in the Yankees system. And his catching, according to the Yankees and from what people who have seen him play have surmised, is poor. That only leaves a couple of options.
Designated hitter is one. However, one would normally want to avoid putting a young guy like Montero in the DH slot now because once someone DHs they tend to always DH. The other obvious option is first base. Except the M’s, however devoid of hitting talent they are, have two servicable options at first in Justin Smoak and Mike Carp. And even if Montero’s future is at first, the M’s are going to want to play Smoak and/or Carp for a while if, for no other reason, than to showcase them for a trade.
Personally, I’d hire the best catching guru I could find to work with Montero and get him into as good as defensive shape as I could and let him catch all year. If the M’s are not optimistic about his defense, however, or if they’re too tied to Miguel Olivo or whoever, fine, let him DH but think about a future when he can slide to first base.
Either way, this is all a bit of a problem. Although, inasmuch it has been a long time since the Mariners have had a good bat they had to figure out how to fit into the lineup, it’s an admittedly nice problem to have.