Montero would not solve the A-Rod problem

The problem with respect to Montero’s ability to mitigate the problem of A-Rod’s contract is that offensive value isn’t purely fungible, because that offensive value has to be attached to a specific defensive position the player is at least minimally capable of playing. If Montero were able to be even an adequate catcher, he really would have been able to pick up the slack for A-Rod a bit, because his offensive production could have been slotted in at a different position. But if he can’t catch, and if we assume that A-Rod isn’t going to be benched or released when he’s no longer capable of playing the field regularly, then any way you slice it, having Montero on the roster would give the Yankees three players for two positions.

Now, that’s not to say there couldn’t be ways around that. Most obviously you could have just continued putting A-Rod at third so long as he could stand there and swing a bat. You’d have to account for the lost run value on defense as A-Rod’s skills diminished at the least, and more likely you’d have to figure you’d be getting little more than replacement level contributions from the position when A-Rod was physically unable to play, but perhaps Montero could make up for that with his offense alone. Probably not, but it would be possible. Of course, this doesn’t account for what the pitching staff would look like at this time either, which we have to keep in the back of our minds, at least.

In a perfect world, the Yankees wouldn’t have made such a ridiculous commitment to Alex Rodriguez. But they did, and now that reality simply has to be dealt with. A-Rod is going to be the primary DH for this team sometime in the not to distant future, and considering that they have to pay him either way, that’s probably for the best. The Yankees would have been most fortunate if Montero had been able to develop as a catcher, but barring that, they got about as lucky as they could have hoped to in managing to trade Montero (a long-term supply glut) for Michael Pineda, another young player with a more obviously role on the roster for the foreseeable future. The added value they’ll get from the starting rotation thanks to Pineda actually will mitigate the A-Rod problem somewhat, and if the Bombers manage to get their hands on a 2-4 win third baseman to replace A-Rod, they will have basically spun out the best case scenario for dealing with Alex’s (expensive) decline.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

17 thoughts on “Montero would not solve the A-Rod problem

  1. jay_robertson

    Yup. Well put, clearly stated. I'll still miss watching Montero, but 2 dhs, with one being Alex and getting 30 mil a year, really doesn't help anyone.

    I just hope yesterday's guy was wrong and Pineda doesn't turn into Javy (3).

  2. MIkeayankeefan

    A-Rod will be fine he went overseas to fix his injury like kobe did, he leading everyone in points.

    • mcmastro

      Isn't Kobe playing through injury?

  3. Michael P

    Puts the deal in a whole new light. Simply put ARod hamstrings the Yankees not only because of the money but because he doesn't allow the Yankees to be able to commit to anyone else at 3rd or DH essentially taking up 2 roster spots. Hopefully this can be mitigated through a renewed emphasis on pitching. The Yankees down the road will be an older team with a less explosive offensive simply because they cannot add anyone to the roster we all know. But if the team is headed by an exceptionally strong rotation, that would cover up a lot of declining offense. Hopefully this is the Yankees mindset if (when?) Hamels, Cain, and Grienke are available next year.

    • BrienJackson

      Well, they can commit to someone at 3B OR DH, but not both, b/c A-Rod gets the other spot. And really, of course, he has to DH, so they can't commit that spot to anyone else. Hence, no room for Jesus.

    • mcmastro

      I don't think this is true. Name a third basemen that you'd rather have right now that would be available. Outside of giving up prospects for David Wright, the Yankees couldn't do much better at third. Is A-Rod overpaid? Certainly, by around atleast 20 million dollars. IF he is healthy, he plays a good third base, will knock in atleast 20 homeruns, with a possiblity of 30, and drive in 100. As a New York Yankees fan, we always want the newest, hottest, flashiest toy, but sometimes we have to settle. After all, that thought proccess is what got us A-Rod in the first place.

  4. mcmastro

    Montero couldn't afford to be stuck behind A-Rod for 6 more years. That being said, the fact that A-Rod and Tex are being considered after-thoughts behind the Yankees rotation is a nice change of pace. I've always said that great pitching takes a lot of pressure of the hitters. A line up of Gardner, Jeter, A-Rod, Cano, Tex, Granderson, Swisher, Martin and a DH is by far the scariest in baseball still. I'd lobby for a trade of Granderson, but that's just my personal opinion.

  5. Frank S.

    Trade Granderson?! Why on earth would we do that?

  6. mcmastro

    Well, for starters he strikes out way too much. He was sixth in the league in strikeouts in 2011. His contract is up after 2013, and by then he will be 32 years old. He's a rather poor defensive center fielder, who gets bad jumps on the ball. And his value is at an all time high. The Yankees need young prospects to eventually work into their system. With the inability to pay over the slot now, the need for prospects is at an all time high, especially with that "cap" being in place now. Trades will probably be the only way the Yankees get those young guys now. Granderson is a good power hitter, but that's about all he is. He's proven he can't hit for average AND power. The Yankees lineup would still be very potent without him, and they could get a blue chip prospect to either replace jeter, or to put in the rotation for the future.

    • skeaney

      A) Strikeouts are overrated.

      B) He demonstrates a positive dWAR in centerfield. That put with his offense and Gardner in left suggests that we can live without him being the world's greatest centerfielder.

      C) We have more than enough young prospects. It is not worth trading arguably our best offensive player to stock what many are already calling a #3 – #9 top farm system.

      D) Average is overrated, especially so since his BAbip was 20 points lower than his career line. He put up a .365 OBP which was second highest on the team. Considering he also had the highest OPS+, home runs, triples and was second in stolen bases, I'd say he is more than just a power hitter. Consider that last year does not seem like a fluke considering the massive changes he made in 2010 and the strength of how he finished that season which carried over to 2011.

      E) He is 30 years old, playing at an all star level and made only $8 million. I highly doubt there are many better returns on investment.

      In all seriousness… Granderson and Cano are the type of players you build around, not trade for prospects. The only reason you ever trade someone at this level is if you cannot sign them and risk losing them as a free agent.

      • mcmastro

        Strikeouts may be overrated because an out is an out no matter how you achieve it, but with the game on the line, he seemed to disappoint a whole lot. That's probably what frustrates me most. He's not the type of guy you want up late in the game. Also, that all-star level he played at last year has not been consistently there. Yes, last year he was great, but there have been years he was downright disappointing. Cano is the type of guy you build a franchise around, but to me, granderson is the type of guy you trade to a team who is foolish enough to believe in him every year.

        • Jacques

          We already traded Montero. Trading Granderson leaves two open holes in the lineup. Unless we trade Grandy for a young developed outfielder, there is simply no one in farm system or free agent market who is going to efficiently contribute 150+ games in the outfield (Andruw Jones would probably be the best bet, but that would frown several people). I understand your concern of having to deal with Tex, Arod, Jeter for next few years, but trading Granderson is not the answer.
          One day Dante Bichette Jr and Mason Williams/ Slade Heathcott can crack the big leagues, but expecting all-star talent out of them is a bit too far. Thus, ya gotta keep Grandy.

  7. OldYanksFan

    ARod and Teix may not be .900+ OPS guys anymore, but they are both above average, and I believe far from done. You gonna tell me you would REALLY be surprised if Teix had a .880 OPS this year? Yes, in 3 or 4 years it may get ugly, but I think we are still good in the short term. And even at 40, ARod will still be better then Brosius.

  8. Bill

    The A-Rod situation is what it is. We can lament the lousy decision regarding it, but they'll have to make the best of it. In two or three years he'll be a full time DH and it will be time to bring a new 3B into the mix, whomever that may be (Wright, perhaps?). Teixeira's issue appears to be more mental than physical, as he has become hypnotized by the short porch, much like Giambi. At least Tex can field his position. If he breaks out of the pull only mindset as a lefty batter, he should be back to where he was. Or at least close.

  9. Ben

    I'm fed up with people lumping Tex and Arod together. It is absurd, dumb and idiotic. Why? Do the math, look at the statistics, and then shut the heck up. Arod is turning 37 in July. He clearly is not a full time 3B anymore. He needs his day offs. That being said, his bones aren't made of glass like Nick Johnson. He's more susceptible to injury, but he's not an injury waiting to happen. We'll see what happens with his knee and hip this year. Are the doubts legitimate? Yes. Are they overblown? I think so as well.

    As for Tex, He's 32 in April, yea, more than 4 and half years younger than Alex. Yet why is he seen as breaking down? What are people talking about? His batting average, and his OBP, have tumbled, I get it. But his power numbers and RBIs are there. He's not injured and his defense is still great. Yet people are saying he needs to be at the DH like Arod. Are you insane? Tex will probably need a day off once every 10-12 days, whereas Arod needs one every five or six. There is no comparison there. As for Tex's struggles, they are not age related. He needs to improve his swing, that's it.

    Idiots and fans in the media always want to talk age about the Yanks, yet it does not mesh with reality. For instance, Wally Matthews from ESPNNY says in an ominous tone that no Yankee regular is younger than 28. Ok Wally, how about stating the fact that 6 of their 8 defenders are all under 33. Nope, no recognition. It's pure fantasy. The team has a new core based around Cano, Granderson, Tex, Swisher, Martin and Gardner. Jeter and Arod are critical pieces, as will be Jones and whoever else they find to DH, but they are not the make or break pieces they were back in the mid-2000s. Not acknowledging this fact is delusional, stupid, and/or unbelievably biased.

    • BrienJackson

      Yeah, I don't get why Tex gets lumped in with A-Rod either. Tex's problem is quite obviously that he's become a dead pull hitter from the left-side, pitchers have noticed it, and they've exploited that hole in his mechanics. Hopefully that's something he and Kevin Long get corrected, but in any case he still mashes LHP and he's extremely durable as well.

      I think A-Rod is a minor injury waiting to happen at this point, the sort that keeps him out of the lineup and limits him to 120-130 games if he's being asked to play the field all of the time, but that's to be expected from a player his age.

  10. sam

    Tex is overdue for a .300+ BA year and ARod should be good for 35+ HRs.. I cannot see them both maintaining their subpar stats of the past couple years.

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