Jesus Montero is the prized jewel of the Yankees farm system. Some have called his spring training a failure and have claimed that he is not big league ready because of it. I myself disagree with this view. Montero has proven himself at the AAA level and has done all that the Yankees could ask for in the minor leagues. Currently, he is batting .336 with two HR.
I get it, Montero is not exactly enamoring people with his catching skill or with his power numbers this season. Take a look at his average, though, and you will see how talented this guy truly is. Montero has developed as a slightly below-average catcher, and that is fine with me. He needs big league experience right now.
According to a tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman, a AAA scout said Montero is "bored" right now with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. I believe the reason this is happening is that Montero is not being tested. He has no challenges ahead of him in AAA and needs to be called up.
If Montero were to be called up, it would allow for the further development of Austin Romine. It might not be the perfect time to bring Romine up to AAA, as he is hitting .282, but he will be able to encounter new challenges as a catcher. It could also help open up a spot for Gary Sanchez, who is struggling himself this season.
So, if Sanchez can turn it around by the second half of the season, he could be able to gain a short stint with the Trenton Thunder AA team. This would help the Yankees catching prospects greatly improve.
What should Girardi do?
What would the best solution be? Right now, the Yankees need to keep Russell Martin as the primary catcher. They need to give Francisco Cervelli more time catching, as it has become apparent that Martin is fatiguing.
With Jesus Montero called up, a platoon situation can be created between Montero and Posada. Against certain elite opponents, like the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, Posada could become the DH. Against other opponents, like the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners, Montero would be able to DH.
Since the Yankees do not want to tire out Montero completely during his big league stint, the DH spot could be opened up to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter on certain days, with Eduardo Nunez filling in for them at their respective positions. This gives Joe Girardi some much-needed flexibility. For next season and a few times this season, Girardi could even experiment and see how Montero could catch at the MLB level.
Assuming Jorge Posada retires at the end of the season, or before then, Montero will be able to DH slightly more often during the 2012 season, possibly catching more often as well. The only problem with this, however, is that either Russell Martin or Austin Romine would have the chance to become the primary catcher that year. This all depends on whether or not Martin re-signs with the New York Yankees come the 2011 offseason. The answer to that question could decide the Yankees' future at catcher.
The only concern I have with this plan is the fact that Girardi is very rigid and inflexible. He will not want to disrespect a veteran Posada and will want to keep him in the lineup. Girardi needs to understand that Posada should not clog up the DH spot because there are several everyday position players, like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Russell Martin and Robinson Cano, who are showing high amounts of fatigue from constantly playing the field. They need to DH some days as well.