Today Major League Baseball dropped what is undoubtedly the heaviest hammer it has yet to wield in the steroid era, suspending 13 players including Alex Rodriguez and Jesus Montero.
Some Mariners fans, many of whom are likely still bitter about many things A-Rod related that have very little to do with his steroid use, view today as a day of ultimate justice. A false messiah turned ultimate pariah. Justice served with a sprinkle of vengeance.
For me, it’s hard to call anything that happened to A-Rod justice while Mark McGwire is the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, especially after he sat in front of congress with the noble intention of reminding them of his distaste for conversations about the past:
Don’t get me wrong, I say fuck A-Rod sideways with a thick-handled bat, but it just doesn’t make sense to me that on one hand a player tricked America on a tour around the country that rivals Lance Armstrong’s tainted trips around France, while the other player, Rodriguez, was simply also very good at baseball, and arguably less obstructive. Mark McGwire made a mockery of your tax dollars. A-Rod made the Yankees look stupid. Twice.
But I digress – Jesus Montero is a Mariner. We love the Mariners. We loved Michael Pineda for a while, and around that time we considered Montero something of the “one that got away,” something like Madonna to one’s A-Rod, as it relates to the Cliff Lee trade that brought Justin Smoak, and some other stuff which ultimately led to John Jaso and then Michael Morse. Now we look at Montero as that really stupid, slow-footed, ostensibly-lazy baseball player that is drawing the ire of Mariners fans far and wide.
Jesus Montero won’t appear for any Mariners team for 50 games, effectively ending his 2013 season, a season that had already gone pretty poorly for him, having been removed from his position of choice and the majors altogether in one fell swoop. This of course, after basically being called fat by Eric Wedge in the offseason, a key offseason that may have ultimately decided whether Montero could ever play catcher regularly in the big leagues for the Seattle Mariners.
Checking back in on the Michael Pineda trade is getting annoying, especially as the Yankees inch closer and perhaps pass the Mariners to take the lead in that deal.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Montero is done for. A switch to first base and basically no organizational depth at the position short of Kendrys Morales, an impending free agent; Smoak — a walk-only defensively-talented first baseman; and Michael Morse, also an impending free agent and an oft-injured one at that.
You probably haven’t seen the last of Jesus Montero, for better or for worse. You’ve potentially seen something close to the last of Jesus Montero though. There’s always been a presumption that Montero wasn’t long for the catcher position. There’s never been a presumption that he’d be able to play first base, and there was something of a presumption that his bat would be good enough to play designated hitter.
Right now, though, his bat isn’t close to good enough to DH, and the backdrop of a steroids scandal is the matte finish on the would-be reflection of anything good that Montero has ever done. Every dent he made in the outfield wall in center at Safeco Field, or that one time he threw Mike Trout on a steal attempt, all tainted.
Jesus Montero is like the best cell phone or tablet device that somebody you find generally repulsive took with him on a long bathroom trip. While it may have a lot of functionality in the future, there are too many perceived fecal particles floating around or literally attached to it to care at the moment.