30 Homers For No Money? Who Needs That?

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The newest reason for the emerging disaster of the Yankees’ decision to trade Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos (estimated arrival 2016?) is that they didn’t need Montero; they had no position for him; they have other catchers and veteran players to rotate as the DH.

In short, he was a luxurious amenity.

I’ll say he was a luxury.

A player who can catch—even if it’s for 75 games—and be adequate while hitting as a catcher is a luxury.

A player who hits 25-30 homers while being paid league minimum is a luxury.

A player who has value to get something more proven (and is actually usable in the moment) than Pineda and Campos is a luxury.

The Yankees could’ve held onto Montero and used him to lead a package for Matt Garza or another veteran commodity rather than make the trade that they did.

This is not to say that the initial trade was a mistake. The second-guessing and “I told you so” references to Pineda’s drop in effectiveness and velocity over the second half of last season are designed to allocate blame to the wrong place.

The Yankees are responsible for another pitching mistake not in making this trade, but by pressuring Pineda and running him down publicly immediately upon getting him.

We don’t know if Montero is going to evolve into an adequate defensive catcher just like no one knew if Jorge Posada—a converted infielder—would do the same. Posada wasn’t good when he got to the big leagues, but became pretty good as he got older. He handled the pitchers well enough and did what he was there to do: hit.

And the Yankees won. The macro dissection of how and after the fact sniping at Posada’s game calling is irrelevant.

To suggest that Montero wouldn’t have been useful for the Yankees as a backup/part-time catcher, DH, outfielder, first baseman, third baseman, whatever is ignoring his value on the market and that he wasn’t going to make big money for years.

It stinks of desperation.

For GM Brian Cashman to state unequivocally that he’d redo the trade 10 times out of 10 if he had the chance is pure propaganda and arrogance. It’s no great accomplishment in life to never make a mistake; it’s magnified when a mistake is blatant and known to everyone. If Cashman came out and said, “If we’d known this was going to happen, of course we wouldn’t have made the trade. But at the time it was a good move.”

It’s okay to harass Pineda and put it into his head that he had to throw 98 mph in spring training but not okay to utter a retrospective truth?

Which is worse?

The YES Network and Mike Francesa can exonerate the Yankees’ GM; they can nudge facts into the direction they desire in a bratty, “We’re the Yankees and we’re supposed to get whatever we want,” fashion with the idiotic and faulty justification of, “Well, they didn’t need Montero anyway.”

But the same tenets that led the Yankees to this failed experiment of developing their own pitchers so they didn’t have to buy the pitchers of others hold true for Montero.

He was homegrown, he was cheap and he would’ve been productive.

Everything else is stupidity designed to placate the masses who take everything the Yankees do and say as gospel and to blunt the attacks that haven’t yet hit high gear because of their continued organizational egomania that’s shown no signs of slowing down. Ever.



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