A couple weeks ago last year, the Yankees had pretty much acquired Cliff Lee from the Mariners in exchange for phenom Jesus Montero and a few other prospects. It seemed so close, that the only thing I was wondering was what number Lee would wear.
But of course, that trade never happened. GM Brian Cashman apparently did not want to give up a shortstop named Eduardo Nunez, who had yet to make his Major League debut. So Seattle looked to the Texas Rangers, who before you blinked had Lee at the top of their rotation.
The thing that surprised me about the deal that almost landed Cliff in pinstripes, was that Jesus Montero, the guy who was supposed to be the next face of the Yankees, was going to the Mariners for what basically was a 3 month rental. 'Why get Lee now, when the Yankees could just sign him in the winter?' was my thinking. I didn't want to see Montero traded away. He was too valuable in my mind, and when the trade fell through I had a slight feeling of relief, knowing now he could be the Yanks' starting catcher in 2011 and bomb 30 homers and be Rookie of the Year.
Clearly, I was a little wrong.
Jesus Montero has not been on the Major League roster once this year and is still a long ways away from getting called up and making an impact. He is having another solid year at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but his power has dropped considerably despite improvements in his defensive skills behind the plate.
At this point it is uncertain whether he will ever be the Yankees starting catcher, as Russell Martin is 28 and I would certainly consider bringing him back next season. Montero is going to be 22 in 2012, and even if Martin isn't back the Yanks might say he still isn't ready for the Majors.
That's probably why the Yankees have been so open to trading him as the deadline is a week away. They won't part with Banuelos or Dellin Betances, but Montero? If the price is right, sure.
And I agree. I'm sorry, I know Jesus Montero has a lot of potential, and he very well could be a great major league backstop, but I don't see him being that with the Yankees. I would like him to be, but I am thinking like The Boss right now, where it's about this season, the 2011 Yankees. Not the 2012, 2013, or 2014 Yanks. It's about this year. And if a great No. 2 starter comes up in discussions this week that can push the Yankees over the top THIS SEASON. Then make the move.