Even though Romine and Montero are fighting for the back-up job behind Russell Martin, the fact remains that as of late, the two youngsters have not displayed the confidence needed to handle the pressure of the job.
Montero cannot seem to get in sync, and Romine brings no bat.
“He hasn’t played well recently. He’s better than what he’s shown recently, catching-wise. He’s been struggling with the bat, and I don’t know if it’s cause-and-effect. I just know that last year he didn’t start catching well (in Triple-A) until he started hitting. And from June on, both went through the roof.”
This leaves the Yankees with a big decision.
Do they want to send the two down in Triple-A Scranton? Or take risk on one of them?
If Montero and Romine head back to the minors, it won’t be more then a month till Francisco Cervelli foot is healed so a replacement would be needed for the first four or five weeks. The first month of the Yankees schedule is crammed with a nine-day stretch after Opening Day and a 17-games stretch that starts the last week in April, so the back-up catcher will see quite a bit of time.
So, what are the team’s options?
- Well, there is always veteran Jorge Posada but the Yankees seem content on Posada being the team’s full time DH. This is understandable as Posada’s bat is his strength, and the Yankees need a stopgap defensive catcher to fill the void.
- Looking at the lingering free agents with no home, the oldest of the famous catching Molina brothers, Bengie is rumored to be looking to play still. Bengie is the most decorated of the trio and would be the perfect guy to back-up Martin.
- Now if the Yankees decide to fill it with a youngster, Romine is the better catcher of the two for now. He could fill the gap, but overall both him and Montero are so young that letting them develop their talents should be a priority, especially in regards to the younger, more talented Montero.
Everyone had their eyes on Montero, as he ranks one of the top-10 prospects across the minors. While his bat might be major-league ready, his catching game just isn’t there yet and according to some may never get anywhere. The debate is whether the 21-year old would develop better in Triple-A or given time in the bigs, if at all.
Remember, Montero has to be marketed correctly for the trade market. The Yankees know that making Montero as tempting as possible is a big factor, especially because GM Brian Cashman is ready to pounce on a starting pitcher before the All-Star break.
Personally, I think Montero should start down in Triple-A to see if he can get back to the level he is capable, as the pressure has to be at fault for his sloppy spring.
Fortunately, Montero’s age puts time on his side and with some hard work anything can happen. Not that I am saying he is going to be the next Joe Mauer, but there is a reason he had scouts drooling over him for so long.
The Yankees line-up is stacked with power, so I think there best bet is to give Bengie a call. See if he can help, like he did for the two teams who played in the World Series last season until Cervelli is healthy and then reassess this entire situation again to see where everyone is at.
- Montero, Romine still neck-and-neck (mlb.mlb.com)
- Jose Molina Says Bengie Still Wants To Play (mlbtraderumors.com)
- 2011 MLB Preview: New York Yankees (thebaseballblog10.wordpress.com)
- New York Yankees’ Francisco Cervelli out month-plus with broken foot (sports.espn.go.com)
- Harper: It Makes More Sense to Send Montero Back to the Minors (slidingintohome.blogspot.com)
- MLB Trade Rumors: Analyzing Each Top Yankees Prospect’s Odds of Being Moved (bleacherreport.com)