Nothing about this post went as planned. I initially scheduled it for the middle of the week, hoping it would spark a discussion about the ultimate value of Jesus Montero as a prospect. Was he more valuable as a player or as a trade chip?
Then Montero was traded.
Rather than eliminate the post, I decided to put it in the leadoff spot, and I emailed its author to ask for an update to put at the bottom. It’s interesting to look back at what Arad Markowitz thought about trading Montero just a few days ago, and to read what he thinks now that the Montero deal is complete. Arad also does some writing for Bleacher Report, and it seems safe to say the Montero trade worked out better than he expected. Here’s what he wrote before the trade, with his final thoughts at the bottom.
Prospects are a very unpredictable species. You can never guess whether they will turn out the way their supposed to, whether they will flame out completely, or whether they’ll fall right in between. A prospect is never a sure thing.
Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero has been in the Yankees system since signing as an international free agent on October 17, 2006. Ranking as the No. 9 prospect among the Top 50 Prospects by MLB.com entering the season, Montero had been predicted by most to be up by midseason or even earlier. Still, July and August went by, and still no call up. Then September rolled around and the expanded rosters were in effect and the Yankees called up their top young hitter. After an 0-for-4 (with a HBP) debut against the hated Boston Red Sox, Montero went on to hit .328, with 4 HR and an OBP of .406 in 18 games in pinstripes. Sure the sample size was very low, but it was still a great indicator on Montero’s abilities and potential.
Montero, whose name often pops up amongst trade rumors, was nearly traded at the 2010 deadline to the Mariners, for the now mutually disliked for different reasons by Yankee fans, Cliff Lee.
We all know about the Yankees pitching woes. They’re heading into the season with a rotation headed by ace C.C. Sabathia, sophomore Ivan Nova, and three question marks in A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.
If the Yankees were to trade Montero, they would surely need to receive a top-flight No. 1 starter, not starters like Matt Garza or Gio Gonzalez. The Yankees would need to receive an ace. A young, cost controlled, game-changing ace like Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez or even the reigning Cy Young and MVP, Justin Verlander.
We all know none of that is happening. The teams who have those starters would never trade their franchise players for anything less than the entire farm system and then some. Trading Montero for anything less will be a mistake on the Yankees part. Montero is the most hyped up, and highly regarded Yankee rookie since Derek Jeter. That’s gotta be worth something.
Let the rookie play, and if he doesn’t work out the way we all hope, then we still have next off-season to sign someone like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke.
Six years of great, cost-controlled hitting > a few years of a decent starter.
Update: Although Michael Pineda was not one of the few pitchers I mentioned above, I still feel this can work out in favor of the Yankees. No matter how attached I was to Montero, we still upgraded our number one need: starting pitching. Our pitching went from questionable at best, to very good in just one night, as we also acquired former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda to free-agency. Loving your prospects is defiantly okay, and while it hurts to lose Montero, upgrading our rotation was always our number one goal.
Associated Press photo