The trade that sent Michael Pineda to New York has eternally linked the fates of Jesus Montero and Pineda.
The last time we heard from Pineda he’d been put on the 15 day disabled list with shoulder pain that seemed less than serious. Pineda ended up missing all of 2012 after coming into camp significantly overweight. Pineda was already a big guy, but he came in nearly 300 lbs, and looked noticeably out of shape.
Montero on the other hand struggled to play catcher, and while he showed promise at the plate he also had some discipline issues at the plate and hit for below-average-power based on his isolated power (.126 vs. .151). Of course, Safeco Field suppresses power for right-handed hitters, and we did see Montero put some occasional deep dents into the padded walls in the outfield. With the fences moving in this season, and hope that Montero would develop this offseason, there was nothing but hope for Mariners fans looking for Montero to develop into a star.
No matter how willing you are to presume innocence until guilt is proven, Montero being linked in any way to a dealer of PEDs, which happened on Wednesday, isn’t good news.
Let’s be clear though, Montero could be innocent. I’m not saying he’s guilty, but where we sit now we’ve just received bad news about Montero that isn’t so unlike the news the Yankees received last year when they found Pineda to have shoulder pain.
Pineda may go on to have a tremendous career. Montero may go on to have a tremendous career. We could find out that Montero didn’t use PEDs. We could find out that any PEDs he used didn’t help, or that he wasn’t on them long enough to see dramatic effects. It’s also entirely conceivable that Montero’s prospect status, minor league production, and to-date production are rooted substantially in his use of PEDs. We’re a long way from knowing the truth, probably, if we ever do get to know the truth. But no matter what this isn’t nothing.
Jesus Montero has a red flag.
His red flag may be the result of Alex Rodriguez looking for 50 bucks off his next month’s bill by referring a friend to Biogenesis. If that were the case we could legitimately say that Montero’s flag wasn’t self-inflicted.
Anything short of that, and it’s hard to believe that he doesn’t have at least some knowledge or connection to Biogenesis or Anthony Bosch, the anti-aging company’s founder.
In retrospect, nearly a year removed from the trade that tied Montero and Pineda’s fates, a scorecard that once had the Mariners significantly ahead has now gotten a lot closer. What was once a likely-DH and an ineffective pitcher (Hector Noesi) for two injured pitcher (Jose Campos was injured last year too) may have become a potential roider and a bad pitcher for two guys that have potential to be very good pitchers.
For what it’s worth, I texted Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors, Fangraphs, and his own Yankee blog River Ave Blues about how this news effects perception of the trade, and he had this to say:
I don’t think it does, honestly. Unless we find out that NYY knew he [Montero] was on something and that’s why they made the trade, I don’t see any difference.