... M's 7 (Montero CERA)


Funny how Jesus Montero's pitch calling is just fine when Jason Vargas or Felix Hernandez is out there able to execute the signs he puts down, isn't it?

Felix shook Montero off a ton, to which I can confidently say, who cares.  At worst, this shakeoff routine means that Olivo vs. Montero is 100% a non-issue with a good pitcher on the mound.  At best ... what?   Hmmmmm...  

Don't quote me, kiddies.  But watching Jesus Montero for several days, I'm getting a creeping suspicion that he is an overall better defensive catcher than Miguel Olivo.   To paraphrase my fave beat writer, I'll come on and debate anybody who wants to take the other side.  After I dust you off we can still be friends.


The coaches are locked into a micromanagement paradigm, like NCAA basketball coaches judging players by whether they set backscreens off the ball.  Wedge judges Montero by whether he is starting to do the specific small things that a 10-year catcher does.  If they shifted paradigms, they might notice that rookie catchers bring their own fresh perspectives to the game.  

Of course, Olivo is technically more sophisticated.  That does not resolve the larger issue.  There are basketball players who do not cut the right way off a triangle offense, but who win you games by hitting 35 points.  There are a whale of a lot of youth basketball coaches who lose games because they judge players by technical sophistication, and are completely blind to anything that cuts across that.

One year we co-coached a youth girls' soccer team that went 14-0.  That winter the other coach sat down and analyzed every player technically to a fare-thee-well; our star defensive stopper was 10 lbs too heavy, he "realized," and he put a bunch of players out there who would execute as he directed.  Eleven little puppets out there, extensions of the coach's will.  I politely withdrew as co-coach, and they went 6-8.

At 14-and-0, we were coaching to what each girl brought to the table, adapting our system to them.  At 6-and-8, the coach tried to teach each player to adapt to his system.


The CERA's going into last night:  Olivo 4.20, Montero 3.58.  That's before the shutout Saturday.  At this point you're sort of arguing that Nick Collison has a better technical shooting motion than Kobe Bryant; not exactly, but you know what I mean.  Maybe Collison is more technically proficient than Kobe.  At some point we're going to benefit from less Bobby Knight and more Jerry Tarkanian.

Point cheerfully conceded, there is some minimal level of competence required here.  You can't have Munenori Kawasaki call the pitches four times next week.  You needed to make sure that Montero wasn't Carlos Delgado behind the plate.

But Vargas and Felix just allowed 0 runs in back-to-back games.  "Minimal levels of competence" are not in question at this point, not with Montero's CERA leading the club by a wide margin.  Jesus Montero is not Carlos Delgado, and he's not Mike Napoli, either.

I'm a big Eric Wedge fan, and the Montero catching situation is going to shake itself out.  Montero has a month to prove himself or not.  This isn't the mythical 1980's NCAA football championship, where our debates change the shape of the world.  One month from now, people will know whether Jesus Montero is all right behind the plate; there will be a consensus on June 1.  

My prediction is that the consensus will be positive, come June 1, but I could be wrong (25% chance IMHO).

Tag onto this idea:  the Seattle Mariners have a cleanup hitting catcher!




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Lakay's picture


That's Monty's birthday. Of the Big 3, I think the one who share the same birthdate as him would be the first one to be called up. I believe that would be a first for a battery pair having the same birthdate (or at least the first battery rookies pair). That would be very neat.


I noticed Felix shaking off Olivo a ton in his last start with him. Or maybe it was the start before that. Or probably it was both.

With Felix not letting many guys on base, Olivo's arm advantage over Montero is moot. So in my estimation the biggest difference between Olivo and Montero is about 100 points in batting average and slugging and an open DH slot.


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SpectatorI personally am not anywhere close to buying in on Jordy Lara. Just me.3 min 52 sec ago
SpectatorI would take Carp back for a marginal prospect. Why wouldn't you? Even though he's LH, he can't be any worse than the guys we've been using.5 min 6 sec ago
SpectatorWell, Chris Denorfia is a upgrade if all your other outfielders are below-average. Oh wait ...11 min 38 sec ago
moethedogTo follow-up my earlier Denorfia Shout: MLBTR--4:11pm: The Mariners and Braves are the two teams pursuing Denorfia most heavily right now, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.12 min 27 sec ago
mojicianDay 4 of Beast Mode Strike: I'll bet any of y'all, (limited to the first five takers) a family size bag of Skittles that Beast Mode ends his hold out before practice on Wednesday and avoids getting hit with a serious fine.22 min 29 sec ago
okdanCot's Contracts for this season have us at ~$90M, so what's Mather thinking of?? Cot's: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ah4PW47PiAi-dDB3cjNSRWVmNUVSTDExUEJkSjBVQVE&output=html45 min 10 sec ago
okdanThis quote from Kevin Mather stuck out to me: “I have an ownership group that’s as tired of losing as our fan base is,” team president Kevin Mather told FOX Sports last week. “I get tired of reading that our player payroll is $89 million or $90 million. We’re well over $100 million, and we just added Morales. We feel good about where we are, and we do have some flexibility.”46 min 14 sec ago
okdanCurious article full of sour-grapes about Zduriencik's negotiating style: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/trader-jack-as-seattle-s-gm-struggles-to-complete-deals-some-rival-executives-wonder-07281446 min 45 sec ago
benihanaBaker also points out - 6 #Mariners regulars at .546 OPS or worse in July. Chavez (.546), Hart (.516), Miller (.510), Zunino (.494), Jones (.493), LoMo (.458). What gets me about those numbers? RF, DH, 1B. Your three EASIEST defensive positions, three BAT FIRST positions are as useless as SS and C.1 hour 59 min ago
MtGrizzly1B/DH is a bit crowded at Tacoma. Montero, Smoak, Choi...2 hours 4 min ago
Bat571Also appears to me that Lara is now in our top 20 or so as a prospect.2 hours 9 min ago
moethedogMorrison is 2 for his last 29 and .165-.205-.253 over the last month. Smoak is a better option right now (and I can't believe I said that). Montero is a better option. Ackley to 1B and Kelly to LF is a better option. Choi is a better option. Richie Sexson is a better option. Does anybody have Alvin Davis' phone number? Morales to 1B and Franklin to DH is a better option. Morales to 1B and a Romero/Tenbrink DH platoon is a better option. Waiting for Morrison to figure it out is the worst option available. If we pick up the COF then we have to do something in-house to fix 1B. Let's use our options.2 hours 9 min ago
Bat571Looking ahead a bit: Kivlehan continues to perform at a level with DJ, and now they've been joined in Jackson by Jordy Lara, who's been playing 1B for a while. Lara has been taking the Cal League apart this year, and then stepped it up - in his last 10 games, 19 hits, 12 for XB, 7 HR while batting .463/.521/1.098/1.618. I wonder if DJ or Kivlehan moves to Tacoma soon - Morban went up to make room for Lara, but 1B is looking a bit crowded. And, if Lara continues to hit anything like that at Jackson, what does that mean about the plans for 1B on the 2015/2016 Ms? Is there room for 1 more? Like Marte hitting his weight, this is an unanticipated, welcomed, but vaguely disconcerting development.2 hours 14 min ago
MtGrizzly@GeoffBakerTIMES: At some point, if only solution is to add 4 or 5 bats to earn 1-game playoff, #Mariners could decide this is as far as they can go.2 hours 23 min ago
rick82I wonder how Willingham would do at first base. He's played every position in the minors, so he'd probably be decent.2 hours 29 min ago
moethedogEven LL is on board: http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2014/7/28/5944949/moving-on-from-corey-hart2 hours 52 min ago
rick82Regarding the replay use: I don't like not having an answer right away. It's one of the charms of baseball that you don't wait around to find out what you just watched is going to count or not. I hate that about football: TOUCHDOWN!!! (look to see if there are any flags). But I'm getting conditioned and you may as well take the time to get the play right. There are fewer useless yelling at the ump episodes. I don't mind watching them, but they are pretty useless if you can't get a call overturned. It just becomes therapy.4 hours 3 min ago
moethedogI've thought the same thing rick. But I imagine in a small sample (55 games or so) he's no better of a bet than Morrison or Smoak or Choi, for that matter. MLBTR headline: Padres Could Trade Chris Denorfia “Soon”. We're listed as one of the teams that might be in. OK, I encouraged chasing Denorfia last winter. He's a 3 positional OF who has a career OPS of .810 vs. LHP (not a masher, though). But this year it is .644. He's not hitting RHP, either. He's WAY better than Hart ini my book (because he can play CF), but I'm sure hoping he's not our preferred COF signing. He would cost only about $700K, but then he's a FA. I hope he's not our current Plan A. He would have been great to get in March. Not right now...unless we're getting two guys. He is ranked by B-R as the #1623 hitter of all time, 3 spots ahead of Brendan Ryan. He's got that going for him.4 hours 40 min ago
rick82I wonder if we could get Mike Carp back for cheap. I'd like to see him at first base. Lifetime OPS+ of 115.4 hours 51 min ago
DaddyOI know the subject de jour is the trade deadline, but...Is anyone else impressed with how well MLB's expansion of replay reviews has gone? I must say it looks like MLB got it right having a remote umpire executing the review and the ruling, then relaying the decision to the local umps, who simply implement it. I'm sure a few more reviewable play types will be added over time, but the what has been implemented has IMO gone almost without a hitch. There is no sense that the game is being delayed unduly. You don't foster a "Kill The Umpire" rage in the stands. The ruling themselves have been almost unimpeachable. The "not enough evidence to overrule" option has been judiciously used. I like it. A lot. Clear mistakes are being overturned, and the game isn't being "messed with" too much.5 hours 11 min ago