When the Seattle Mariners traded right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees for catcher Jesus Montero in January 2012, it was a deal that was viewed as a win-win for both teams.
The Mariners were supposed to be getting a prospect that would turn into the next great catcher in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately for Seattle and its fans, that’s the exact opposite of what the team has received in the two years that Montero has been a Mariner.
Montero has just a .252 batting average, .293 on-base percentage, 71 RBI and 18 home runs in two seasons with Seattle. He played just 29 games with the parent club last season before being sent down to AAA Tacoma in May. Oh yeah, he also was suspended for 50 games last season for a positive PED test.
“I made a big bad mistake last year,” Montero told The News Tribune.”I don’t know what I was thinking. But I’m here right now, in this new year, to be better and to help my teammates to win.”
Due to his poor play behind the plate, Montero was moved to first base last year in order to find a position the organization feels he will be better suited for. Unfortunately after the move to first last season he suffered a knee injury that he continued to rehab in the offseason by playing winter league baseball in Venezuela.
In addition to playing baseball while in his home country of Venezuela, Montero apparently found another hobby that he enjoyed — eating.
“I gained a lot of weight in my country,” said Montero to the Tribune. “So, now, I’m on a program to lose weight. I’m working really hard to get my weight back. I wasn’t doing nothing (after finishing winter ball), just eating.”
Montero already has an uphill climb ahead of him in order to make the Mariners’ opening day roster, and entering spring training on a weight-loss program will only make that climb tougher.
Montero needs to show that he isn’t just saying he wants to help the team win, he actually has to do it. Coming to camp out of shape and overweight doesn’t really sell that idea.
Word of advice: don’t give up your place in Tacoma just yet, Jesus.