Jesus Montero is fat.
That sounds harsh, but it seems to be the overarching sentiment coming out of Seattle Mariners spring training, where Montero has showed up 40 pounds overweight.
The Seattle Times' Ryan Divish (h/t The Big Lead), reports the young catcher bulked up over the winter, and not in the massive-amounts-of-muscle way. His belt size is growing and his pants are bursting, and Montero blames the weight gain on, well, eating.
Per Divish, Captain Obvious had the audacity to state, "After winter ball, all I did was eat."
That's excusable for an average Joe after a weekend bender in Vegas, but when you're a professional athlete like Montero, not so much (apologies to any professional eaters in the audience). Imagine showing up to work with a hangover and telling your boss that you were blackout drunk a few hours ago...but you're sorry.
Things are going downhill fast for Montero, a former top prospect who was once mentioned in the same conversations as MLB wunderkind Mike Trout.
No, I'm not kidding.
Hard to believe for a middling catcher-turned-first baseman that played all of 29 games last season due to injury and a 50-game suspension after being named in the Biogenesis steroid scandal.
In those games, he had as many hits as strikeouts (21) and batted all of .208. However, the 24-year-old weighed 230 pounds, which we are guessing the Mariners might take at this moment.
While there is no mention of his current weight, Divish reports that each player is given a target weight every season—something Montero has failed to meet in Seattle on multiple occasions.
Here is the big, beautiful specimen, via a tweet from Divish:
All is not lost for Montero, who as recently as 2012 belted 15 home runs, batted .260 and drove in 62 runs in 135 games for the Mariners.
All optimism has been lost on general manager Jack Zduriencik, though, who had a pointed assessment regarding his nonchalant power eater, via Divish: "We are disappointed in how he came in physically." The GM continued, "It’s up to him. I have zero expectations for Jesus Montero. Any expectations I had are gone."
Manager Lloyd McClendon was equally frustrated: "At some point, the light has to come on for all of us. When I talked with him, I told him he’s at a crossroads. It’s time to put up or shut up."
For his part, Montero states that he is "comfortable" with his weight and is doing all that is asked of him, including extra cardio work.
Maybe next time, Montero will instead answer for his weight with something like "big is beautiful." At the moment, it seems the public admonishment has worked on the young athlete, who maintains, "Whatever they want. I’m here for the opportunity."
Hopefully that means the extra work leads to some of the extra weight melting off by the start of the season, and that raw talent can beat his apparent apathy.
If that's the case, the Mariners will have a nice asset. If not, baseball fans have just another cautionary tale that making it to the bigs is never enough, because you still have to work at it tirelessly—good advice no matter the venture.