In today's New York Daily News, John Harper wrote that Jesus Montero's hot start in Triple-A may give Brian Cashman a better opportunity to trade for a top-of-the-line starting pitcher.
I think someone should shoot Cashman right in the head if he even thinks of trading Montero for a starter.
And then go shoot Harper for suggesting it.
Last summer, as the Yankees desperately tried to trade for the Mariner's Cliff Lee, reports surfaced that Cashman was willing to include Montero in the deal, but that the young shortstop Eduardo Nunez would not be included.
Let's analyze that for just a minute.
The Yankees were in need of starting pitching. Lee was the best prospect out there. Any team in a pennant race should have wanted him.
At that point though, Cashman would have been renting Lee for a little over two months in the regular season and for the playoffs.
There was no certainty Lee would stay with the Yankees for 2011. All the proof you need for that is when Lee went back to the Phillies for less money, even after Cashman opened Scrooge McDuck's bank vaults in January.
To rent Lee for less than half a season though, the Yankees were willing to give up their top prospect in Montero, but not Nunez.
Analyze a little more.
The Yankee shortstop last July was a fella named Derek Jeter. He was in his "walk" year. (Like he was really going to walk!)
Theoretically (quantum physics kinda theory here), Jeter would be gone, and the Yanks would be out of a shortstop come November.
So, Cashman would have had to keep Nunez in case Jeter did indeed walk away from New York.
Montero has been touted by everyone who has seen him as a can't-miss,major-league hitter. He has hit superbly at every level of the minor leagues.
He is hitting .448 through the few games the Scranton Yankees have played in Triple-A so far this season.
Harper thinks that is just grand because the better Montero hits in Scranton, the better chances Cashman has of landing a starting pitcher.
Just how valuable does Harper think a front-line starter will be? Or how valuable does Cashman think one would be?
Valuable enough to give up Montero? In the humble opinion of this writer, that is stupid.
The Yankees had question marks with their starting pitching in 2009 and still won the World Series.
The Yankees had serious problems with their starting staff in 2010 and still made it to the ALCS.
Another example, in 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays went to the World Series with no starters winning more than 14 games.
Montero can be a major league catcher. He showed that early in Spring Training this year when everyone was raving about his defense. He fell off about half way through camp, both defensively and with the stick.
But this kid is only 21 years old. He could be the answer for the Yankees behind the plate for the next 15 years. How often will the team have an opportunity to have a catcher who can tear it up with the bat for 15 years?
That is how often.
Jorge Posada has been a great offensive asset. On the other side of the ball, he has been a less-than-average defensive catcher, causing problems to the point that some big-name pitchers did not want to throw to him.
Can Montero possibly be any worse behind the plate than Posada was for more than a dozen years?
The answer is no.
Cashman wanted to protect a shortstop last summer who has proven nothing, while dangling a stud catcher who is going to be a star in the major leagues.
I repeat, if Montero continues to tear it up at Triple-A and Harper convinces Cashman to trade him for an arm, please, somebody shoot them both right in the head.
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