The always fun and informative NoMaas.org recently posted an interview with BA’s John Manuel. They covered a range of topics from farm system ranking to examining most of the organization’s top prospects individually. On the heels of my Montero piece yesterday, I thought it would be timely to look at what independent sources are saying about Jesus. Here’s what Manuel said:
SJK: The Jesus – Will he stay behind the plate and if he doesn’t, what does that do to his value?
JM: The best answer there is, the Yankees no longer speak of Jesus Montero as a future everyday catcher. They used to; they do not any longer. That’s not to say he can’t do it; he can do it, he’s gotten better at it, he’s probably a 30 defender on an MLB level but some scouts would give him a 40. But 40 isn’t good enough unless you hit like Mike Piazza. Can this guy hit like Piazza? Maybe. Can he hit like Posada, who has been a 40 receiver most of his career but is a better thrower than Montero? I think he will hit like Jorge Posada, at least produce like Jorge Posada.
But catching everyday in the major leagues is such a grind, and Montero’s bat is potentially so special, that I think he’ll be a reserve catcher, 40-50 games a year, and more of a full-time DH. I think if he’s hitting .300/.400/.550, which is realistic, then it doesn’t matter if he’s a DH, then he’s a 4-hole hitter on a championship team and plenty valuable.
Not much I disagree with there. Manuel sees him as a backup Catcher/DH who will potentially be an elite bat. But again, in practical terms that may very well mean he’s more valuable to another team that can play him at First Base than he is to us in the DH role, which was my main point from yesterday’s piece. For an elite Pitcher, a deal would benefit both teams. Think Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez. With all of the top-flight starters who were due to become free agents signing extensions recently, a trade is the most likely avenue to acquire a stud pitcher going forward. At least one (if not two) rotation spots will be opening up between Pettitte and Vasquez, and to be honest Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes’ roles aren’t completely determined yet. We may be loaded in the rotation for 2010, but looking at 2011 and beyond you can see a need. A need that could be filled with a blockbuster deal involving Montero.