Jesus Montero is not only the Yanks #1 prospect according to Baseball America, he may very well be their #1 Catcher next season, ahead of Jorge Posada and Francisco Cervelli. Mark Feinsand of The Daily News has the details:
The consensus among the Yankees’ high command is that Montero who turns 21 on Nov. 28 – is ready to assume the starting catcher’s job, according to a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
Montero’s future was among the topics of discussion during the Yankee meetings at the Stadium over the past two days, with Lee and the free-agent and trade markets dominating the conversation.
Montero’s defense has been scrutinized, but team brass believes he made enough strides this season to assume the bulk of the workload in 2011.
He will likely be given the chance to win the starting job during spring training, turning over a position that has belonged to Jorge Posada since 1998. The front office believes that Montero is already a better defensive catcher than the 39-year-old Posada, who has struggled behind the plate – and to stay healthy.
If Montero comes through, Posada would likely be shifted to the designated hitter spot, with some backup catching duties mixed in.
The plan would be for Montero to catch roughly 100 games, said a source, with Posada and Francisco Cervelli sharing the rest of the duties. Austin Romine, the Yank’s other blue-chip catching prospect, would start at Triple-A, potentially taking over Cervelli’s spot by midseason if he shows he is ready.
Many industry experts believe that the Yankees have tried to inflate Montero’s value in order to use him in a trade for a starting pitcher if they’re unable to sign Lee, but as the source noted, “There really aren’t any pitchers of that caliber out there to trade for.”
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