Every report seems to mention the same two names — Jesus Montero and David Adams — going to the Mariners in the possible Cliff Lee deal. There could be a third prospect as well. For now we know these two names.
.253, 6 HR, 35 RBI
Considered one of the top hitting prospects in baseball, Montero has routinely faced questions about his ability to stay behind the plate. He seems to have made progress as a catcher, but it’s always been his bat that has wowed scouts and tantalized executives.
Why keep him? Because he can hit, and he’s shown signs of adjusting to Triple-A the past month and a half. After rocky two months, Montero was hitting .283 since June. His power numbers haven’t been overwhelming, but there’s enough of a track record to think that won’t be a problem.
Why trade him? Because there’s still no guarantee that he’s a viable defensive option in the major leagues, but mostly because Austin Romine is right behind him, apparently ready for a call-up to Triple-A. Romine is believed to be more polished behind the plate, and he’s hitting .281 with six home runs and 44 RBI in Double-A. The Yankees also have Gary Sanchez, J.R. Murphy and Kyle Higashioka in the minors, plus Jorge Posada signed for one more year in the majors. Catcher is a position of strength and depth in the system.
Double-A, second baseman
.309, 3 HR, 32 RBI
Injured since mid-May, Adams was off to a terrific start in Double-A. He’s a former third-round pick who breezed through Low-A and High-A last season, but an ankle injury sidelined him this season. He entered the season as clearly one of the top two or three infield prospects in the system.
Why keep him? Because he might have enough bat to be more than a utility man in the big leagues. The Yankees have plenty of utility options, but Adams is a fairly polished hitter out of the University of Virginia. He has some experience at third base, so he could become defensively flexible if necessary.
Why trade him? Mostly because Robinson Cano is an MVP candidate, Alex Rodriguez is a superstar and neither is going anywhere. Also, one of the Yankees prospects-on-the-rise is High-A second baseman Corban Joseph who’s hitting .315 with six home runs down in Tampa. Not to knock him, but given the player’s ultimate upside and the Yankees current roster status, clearly Montero is tougher to give up than Adams.