Jesus Montero: Slim, Trim, and Ready to Play for the Mariners?
When I say the words: trim, motivated, athletic, which Seattle Mariner do you think of? Dustin Ackley? Austin Jackson? Kyle Seager?
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. I am talking about former catcher turned first base/designated hitter Jesus Montero. Yes, that exact same Jesus Montero who was suspended in the Minor Leagues last season for getting in a tiff with a scout and throwing an ice cream sandwich at him.
A one-time top prospect in the New York Yankees organization, the Mariners traded for Jesus Montero in exchange for RHP Michael Pineda.
Last spring training, Mariner GM Jack Zduriencik was disappointed in Jesus Montero, arriving to camp 40 pounds overweight.
But, in a presser on Thursday, GM Jack said that Montero has dropped those extra 40 pounds. In fact, Trader Jack remains very cautiously optimistic that the 25-year old will be a contributing part of the 2015 Mariners.
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“It appears maybe the light has come on for him,” Zduriencik told MLB.com’s Greg Johns. “He’s a guy we’ll take a good look at.”
Since the beginning of 2013, Jesus Montero has played in only 35 major league games. All added up, he missed time with injuries, a general lack of offensive and defensive production (at catcher), and his 50-game suspension that came with the ice cream incident.
Montero is expected to compete for a spot on the 25-man roster during spring training, as the Mariners have no clear backup for Logan Morrison at first. Granted, there may not be a spot for Montero on the 25-man roster, as there are already enough spots filled by 1B/DH types who are mix-and-matchable.
However, if Willie Bloomquist isn’t 100% by Opening Day, or Logan Morrison or Nelson Cruz or someone else gets hurt, Jesus Montero could be ready for the Major League challenge.
If anything, an improved Montero improves the 2015 Mariners and beyond. He could be the future at first base, or a trade chip, or even still a September call-up that provides extra right-handed pop to the lineup.
Either way, the M’s could use a slim, trim, hard-hitting Jesus Montero.