Buster Olney had an insider only piece about rival evaluators “taking note” of Jesus Montero’s offensive downturn in 2011. He mentions that some think the Yankees “could push Montero this season ‘in an effort to recoup some value.’” (MLBTR)
I’ve said many times before that I don’t think trading Montero would be prudent for the Yankees unless they were getting absolute top of the line talent back for him. I still believe that and always will believe that. Right now, it is still not a good time to trade Jesus Montero.
When I discuss trades, I like to discuss actual value and perceived value. It’s hard for us to get a feel for the former, since we’re not talent evaluators, we’re not real GMs, etc. But we can pretty easily identify perceived value most of the time. With Montero, there’s a bit of a reversal. We more or less know his actual value. He’s a guy who probably won’t stick at catcher but could probably fake the position for a little bit while absolutely mashing. His perceived value could be low considering the downturn in performance and the attitude issues, but when the Yankees start trade talks with anyone, you’d better bet that Jesus Montero’s is one of the first names brought up.
As documented here and many other places, there have been not only performance issues with Montero this year, but apparently attitude/maturity issues as well. Both of those things have contributed to lower Montero’s value. Why would the Yankees be interested in trading him when his value is at what is presumably the lowest it has been? If the Yankees did want to trade Montero, it would make much more sense to wait for him to start hitting and let him build up his value again. If they pull the trigger too quickly, they could end up with another Jose Tabata situation in which they trade a player for a pretty minimal return when his value is low (though Tabata’s non-baseball playing issues were definitely more of a concern than Montero’s).
Again, and this is probably the most important issue at play here, as far as we know, the type of talent that you’d trade a prospect like Montero for is likely not going to be available this year. TEams are locking up their best position players and pitchers and taking advantage of team control. Even the most talented of players in the “use-Montero-to-trade-for-him” bracket–guys like Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, Justin Verlander, Justin Upton–are relatively affordable and franchise staples; they’re not going anywhere.
Montero’s value is just about the lowest it’s been right now and the guys that you’d want to trade him for are not available and probably won’t become so. It is still not time to trade Jesus Montero.
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