Jesus Montero was once an exciting young prospect. Had the Seattle Mariners not expected Montero to be a big part of their future, they would not have traded Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees for him in 2012. After belting 15 home runs and driving in 62 runs in 2012, Montero lost his starting catching job early last season and was sent to AAA.
In August, Montero accepted a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis. His career has continued on a downward spiral since then, and he showed up to spring training this month 40 pounds over the target weight the Mariners asked him to get to. The 24-year-old even admitted he is fat.
“After winter ball, all I did was eat,” Montero said, via Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times. “I feel comfortable with my weight. But they want me to lose some weight. Whatever they want. I’m here for the opportunity.”
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 18, 2014
At the moment, it doesn’t sound like the Mariners want much of anything from Montero. With the way things have unfolded over the past year or so, they seem to have given up hope.
“We are disappointed in how he came in physically,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “It’s up to him. I have zero expectations for Jesus Montero. Any expectations I had are gone. He’s got a ton to prove. It’s all on him.”
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who is in his first year with the team, sounds like his initial impression of Montero has been less than stellar.
“I can’t want it for him,” McClendon said. “At some point, the light has to come on for all of us. When I talked with him, I told him he’s at a crossroads. It’s time to put up or shut up.”
Maybe the Mariners are going the tough love route with their young catcher, but it’s pretty obvious he’s losing supporters. If Montero can’t get back into shape by the time the season starts, don’t expect him to be on an MLB roster.
H/T The Big Lead