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Bring Molina North, Give Backup Job to Posada

By Mike Silva ~ March 5th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Francisco Cervelli‘s injury puts Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero right in the drivers seat to win the backup catching job. I don’t take away a ton from spring training stats, but thus far Montero has been unimpressive at the plate. His progress on defense has been noted, however, has been noted by the coaching staff. I mentioned this before the spring, and will again, is it wise to keep Montero on the club as a backup?

One point of view is that Montero needs less seasoning than Austin Romine. It will definetaly behoove Romine to work on his offense and defense in the minors. My original thought was Montero spends the first couple of months in Scranton, while Romine begins the season in Double-A Trenton. When Montero moves up, Romine will take his place in Triple-A.

Now the absence of Cervelli could make that scenario impossible. Of course, there are three other catchers in camp that could play the role of Cervelli for a couple of months. Also don’t forget Jorge Posada.

Gustavo Molina only has 45 big league at bats, most recently for Boston last year, but he’s been around the game for a decade and probably is serviceable enough behind the plate. He won’t hit at all, but you are looking for a once a week substitute for Russell Martin.

The other two possibilities are minor leaguers Jose Gil and Kyle Higashioka.

Gil has been in the Yankees system for six years and is another no hit/good defense receiver. He played in Trenton last year, and is just 23 years old.

Higashioka was drafted in 2008 and played in the Sally league last year and hit only .225. Like Gil, I don’t think he is ready for the big leagues.

The choice appears obvious as its Montero or bust. Of course, I am assuming Martin is healthy enough to play six of seven days a week. I also assume Jorge Posada will only see a catchers mitt in an emergency option. I wouldn’t play Posada everyday behind the plate, but I am not sure he’s incapable of being a weekly backup.

My preference would be to bring a Gustavo Molina north as the third string/emergency catcher, let Posada DH, and catch on the days that Martin needs a rest. This isn’t forever, just till late May, and both Montero and Romine could continue their development in the minors.

If Montero shows Triple-A isn’t necessary anyone, bring him up and make Martin the backup. That is when he should be wearing pinstripes, not a moment earlier.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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6 Responses to Bring Molina North, Give Backup Job to Posada

  1. Viper

    LOL. Um, no.

    Montero will be coming north with the big club when ST is over.

  2. G

    Um… Ha? Is this a joke? You’re actually judging Jesus’ hitting on how he’s been the first few games of ST? Here’s a bit of info for ya: as of yesterday, Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano, two of the best players in the game (arguably THE two best), were hitless. Today Montero went 2 for 3 and raise his Spring BA to .273, so even if you want to judge that now it’s irrelevant. Girardi, Peña, and Posada could make Montero into a better catcher than he’ll ever become in Scranton. It’s not like he’ll be benches constantly either, Girardi hinted that in a backup role he’d be playing twice a week, and if Martin’s knee acts up he could be the everyday guy for a few weeks to avoid a severe injury.

    Usually I like some of the stuff you right, but this plan makes little sense. Montero already proved there’s no point in him being in AAA, why should e have to prove it again?

  3. G

    write* not right. Also benched* not benches

    Not to mention Posada was Girardi’s backup for a few years before moving up in 1999 and becoming a star. You’re arguing against actual results if you say it won’t work.

  4. Viper

    The funniest argument Silva makes is taking the “experienced” guy with 45 career major league ABs over a kid who they believe is going to be their long term everyday catcher.

    There was a very good chance Montero would have made the team even before the Cervelli injury when you consider how much Girardi and Cashman have gushed over him the last two weeks.

  5. Mike Silva


    Glad to see you are back. It wouldn’t be baseball season without your comments here at NYBD.

    I just think Montero is better served playing everyday. I don’t think Posada was considered to be in the same class as Montero is today. Why waste him playing only once or twice a week? Unless, of course, he starts to DH over Posada. Not sure if that is very likely, but anything is possible.


    I appreciate your opinion. You make great points about Posada/Girardi. But again, Montero is very young. I think Cervelli will be the backup in May when he returns. Why waste Montero on the bench when he could be developing in Scranton. Another couple of months in Triple-A can’t hurt right?

  6. G

    I’ve actually since changed my mind. I’m still very high on Montero and I think he along with Banuelos is the next homegrown Yankees star (at least until Sanchez rolls around, but by that point A-Rod will be mostly a DH and maybe Tex can go to 3rd and Montero to 1st) in the vein of Derek Jeter, but he needs time. 21 is incredibly young for a catcher.

    If I were Girardi, here’s exactly what I’d do: I’d call Montero into a meeting. I’d tell him how much I appreciate him and how I think that with hard work he can be the next big thing. I’d tell him he’s coming north to start the season, but just to get him a little taste of what it’s like. I’d tell him that when we send him back to AAA it won’t be because of performance, it’ll be because we want to make sure he develops as fully as he possibly can before moving him up full time, and that I think he’ll develop to his full potential with some time in AAA. I’d explain that when Frankie comes back and takes the backup catcher’s job back it won’t be because we like him better or think he’s better, it’ll be because he’s got no more room to improve in the minors and has a bit more experience, and that we want him back in AAA for at least a few months so when we do pull him up to the big leagues he can be an immediate force instead of being caught in a gradual climb towards stardom and struggling with not playing everyday.

    Then do as I said, bring him north, get him a few games, send him back to Scranton around early May and bring Frankie back. Give him a couple of months in AAA, work on his defense keep fine tuning his offense to maximize the already spectacular results we expect. Then come July if it looks like he’s just too big for the minors, bring him north, this time to stay assuming he does well. Use Martin as a minor trading chip to open up the spot, leave Frankie as backup (Burnett does better pitching to him and his energy is great to have around), and give Montero the starting the job.

    Doesn’t damage his ego at all, nor does it stunt his progress.

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