Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting Over Montero With Imagination

After having my dreams of the past three years crushed and destroyed hearing about the departure of Jesus Montero, I was very upset and felt betrayed. The mental image of Jesus Christ Montero being the salvation, saving the Yankees' aging core, plus the widespread speculation that Noesi was throwing 94-96 MPH in the Winter League made it very painful to see them go. Oh, and their stats were okay too, I guess.
It's like trading baseball cards. It just hurts to trade away one of your favorites, even if you needed the card you're getting to complete some team's collection. It hurts like hell to see it go, and you realize that it may be the last time you ever see that particular card. However, after the initial pain and suffering, logic kicks in and you feel nice that you did the right thing and acquired that card.
Noesi, while a nice prospect and did well in the Majors last season, didn't seem like he was going to contribute to the Yankees in the long term. With Sabathia and Nova atop the rotation, and guys like Banuelos, Betances and Stoneburner down in the minors chasing him, plus some lateral competition from David Phelps and Adam Warren, the Yankees had plenty of guys who can replace the soon-to-be forgotten gap from his departure.
Montero looks like he'll be a nice hitter for years to come. However, the Yankees had catching depth in the minors that can rival any club, and the Mariners needed a catcher more than anybody, after trying guys like Rob Johnson and Kenji Johjima for the past half-a-decade or so. While losing a guy of Montero's potential is certainly painful, the Yankees have a bunch of guys that can lessen the blow. Gary Sanchez, whose hitting have earned him comparisons to Montero, is not yet 20 and though he has dealt with maturity problems this past year, is seen by many as a considerably better defensive player than Montero. He was a consensus top-5 talent in the Yankees system, often sharing the honours with Montero, Banuelos, Betances and Mason Williams, amongst others. A level or two below him in skills, but a level or two above him in the minors, is the 7th-round pick by the Yankees in 2008, J. R. Murphy. Largely overshadowed by Montero, Sanchez and Romine, he is quietly putting up respectable stats and climbing up the prospect lists.
Pineda, same age as Montero, is under team control for 5 more years. He came in 5th in the Rookie of the year voting and put up a nice year, although it did have some help from Safeco Field. He is seen as a two-pitch guy, complimenting his mid-90s pinpoint fastball with a devastating slider, though if his change-up improves he may become ace-caliber.
Campos is the most intriguing piece in the deal. He's young and he put up very nice numbers with a set of tools seen as very advanced for his age. He might become a solid starter once he develops. It is worth noting that he is a top 5 in the Mariners prospect lists, and some have thought that he'd achieve the same status with the Yankees too at this moment.
Now here's the part that truly cheered me up. The Yankees can now get very nostalgic or very creative at DH. They can go the nostalgic route and grab up Damon, Pena, or even Posada. They can also get creative give the very deserving Jorge Vazquez a chance, or they can make a huge rotation of DHs. Though the DH rotation can be nice, it must be mentioned that the Yankees don't exactly have a good-hitting backup infielder. After a boring winter filled with mostly rumors, it could be fun speculation who's the next DH. It's a bit too far to dream about Fielder (nor do I want Fielder on the Yankees), but there is finally something to look forward to besides Spring Training.

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