The Seattle Mariners made a move, the first of what should be a few more in the coming weeks, if not days.
Jesus Montero has been transferred from the Good Ship Mariner to a tugboat known as Tacoma. He will not be working as a catcher, not with Mike Zunino getting at bats, not with another minor league catcher called up to Tacoma to back up Zunino. Montero will work out at first and DH as his catching days should be behind him.
He simply can not come close to managing the position. Montero has throw out only one base stealer and that was when the runner stopped half way to second. His 4% caught stealing is the worst in baseball. He does not frame pitches well and has trouble blocking pitches. The move to another position should help since he will not have to worry about catching duties.
This move and how he handles it will determine his future. He came to spring training out of shape, a bit pudgy, which did not please manager Eric Wedge. At the plate he swings at any pitch out of the strike zone, being a sucker for the slider. Considering he can’t catch, has hitting woes, and coming to camp out of shape makes you question his commitment. He needs this wakeup call to regenerate his once promising career. He simply needs to do the work at the plate and learn a new position.
With Justin Smoak becoming a singles hitter and Kendrys Morales on a one year contract and who could be traded at the trading deadline in July, this is a chance for Montero to find his way back to the Good Ship mariner at a new position, a new attitude, and more plate discipline.
Jesus Sucre, 25, has been called up to back up Shoppach at catcher. He was backing up Zunino in Tacoma, batting .302 in 14 games; 16 hits, one a double. He has no power, but is consider a good defensive catcher.
Now the Mariners need to do something with Brandon Maurer or Aaron Harang. Most likely Maurer will go to Tacoma because he is a rookie, with Jeremy Bonderman coming up, because he is a veteran and teams love veteran pitchers, whether they can pitch or not. Someone like Harang for instance. Teams would rather see a veteran pitcher get hammered than a rookie.