Seattle Mariners: 5 Former Mariners Jesus Montero Could Resemble
When the Seattle Mariners traded away their second-best starter from last season in Michael Pineda in exchange for talented but unproven prospect Jesus Montero, many Mariners fans questioned the move.
And it's safe to say the jury's still out.
After an impressive 18 games with the New York Yankees last season, Montero is hitting just .200 through four games in 2012.
While four games is nowhere near a large enough sample size to get a feel for what type of player Montero will be, his skill set and potential can draw comparisons to former Mariners.
Edgar Martinez is arguably the best designated hitter to ever play the game, and to compare him to a 22-year-old Jesus Montero is unfair.
However, the two players could have similar value to the franchise in terms of durability and consistency as a hitter.
With a bevy of catchers on Seattle's roster this season, Montero will be spending a lot of time as the DH. As the season goes on, if Montero can solidify himself into that role, he could have a long, successful career for the Mariners.
After one season, Johjima looked promising, like he could be Seattle's catcher for the next decade.
Then suddenly, Johjima's production fell off dramatically, eventually resulting in his return to Japan.
Jesus Montero's and Johjima's situations are very different, as Johjima was 29 when he joined the Mariners, and Montero is 22.
But many Mariners fans are worried that Montero won't live up to his hype, that he'll be a disappointment and be gone in less than five years like Johjima.
Jeremy Reed was a young outfielder tearing up the minors when he got traded from the Chicago White Sox for Freddy Garcia.
In his first stint in the majors at age 23, Reed hit nearly .400 and impressed coaches with his tremendous outfield range.
Since then, Reed has bounced around the league and in between the majors and minors. Apparently, his first 18 games weren't to be taken too seriously.
Mariners fans will hope that Jesus Montero doesn't go the way of Reed.
Future Hall of Fame inductee Ichiro Suzuki brought international attention to Seattle when he exploded onto the major league scene in 2001, winning both the AL Rookie of the Year Award and MVP.
No one is asking Jesus Montero to be the next Ichiro (at least, no one should be).
But if Montero can bring about an Ichiro-like persona—that is, to have enough success to be recognized throughout the league and in his native country of Venezuela, while being known by one name (Jesus) and developing a signature (maybe the number 63?)—the trade that brought him to the Pacific Northwest will be known as one of the best ever for the Mariners.
Many of Seattle's all-time greats are known by one name: Junior, Edgar, A-Rod, Felix, Ichiro. If Montero can get on a one-name basis with Mariners fans, whether it be pronounced Hay Suess or Gee Zus, he's likely to enter into the realm of Seattle greats.
While Dan Wilson was never offensively spectacular or flashy, he was always a fan favorite in Seattle and played 12 of his 14 major league seasons with the Mariners.
Since Wilson retired in 2005, the Mariners haven't had a consistent starting catcher, which is what Jesus Montero can finally be.
Montero is expected to have more offensive success than Wilson, but as long as he brings a winning attitude and spends a lot of years in Seattle, he can be the everyday guy behind the plate and loved by Mariners fans for quite some time.