The Rafael Montero Experience Needs to End Right Now

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 03: Rafael Montero of the Seattle Mariners walks off the mound. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 03: Rafael Montero of the Seattle Mariners walks off the mound. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
Rafael Montero of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch.
BUFFALO, NEW YORK – JUNE 29: Rafael Montero #47 of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images) /

Tuesday evening brought us another edition of the Rafael Montero experience, as the Seattle Mariners reliever imploded yet again. Montero gave up a 3-run home run to Bo Bichette in the sixth inning, putting the Mariners in a hole they had just climbed out of with a Ty France home run in the top of the sixth inning.

And once again, Montero was poor out of the bullpen. Just 12 of his 35 outings have been clean appearances, and he continues to cost the team victories. Whether it’s blowing a lead, letting a close game slip away, or even a tie game slip away, Montero has been a constant problem this season.

Rafael Montero’s FIP might not be bad, but he’s been a weak link for the Seattle Mariners

While Montero’s FIP is actually serviceable at 3.34 (entering tonight), there comes a time when the analytics don’t matter. At the end of the day, Montero is getting shelled almost every time he takes the mound. He’s blown six saves, and has lost an additional three games. It’s really not a stretch to insist that the Mariners have another couple of wins without Montero.

At this point, if the team wants to hold on to him, he needs to be used exclusively in low leverage situations with the Mariners either up or down by a bunch. Between Kendall Graveman, J.T. Chargois, Drew Steckenrider, and Paul Sewald, the club has enough reliable bullpen arms to handle the big moments. And all four have proven they are competent relievers, something  Montero has failed to do.

There was a time when using Rafael Montero was a necessity. He was one of the only Mariner relievers that avoided IL time, and at some points, Scott Servais had no choice but to use him. But those days are no longer. The bullpen is mostly healthy again, and the hope is they’ll be getting Erik Swanson back soon as well.

But as long as Montero keeps being utilized in important situations, there will be a constant risk of him blowing games. And for a team that has worked their tails off, and battled through adversity to be over .500 at this point, it’s discouraging to watch one individual continuously let the team down and fall apart in important stops.

Rafael Montero needs to go, regardless of any other circumstances. Until he does, the Mariners will be running a huge risk of losing a lead or letting a game slip away when he gets used.

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