Blogs > Minor Matters

Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Regardless of Lee's uniform, Yanks send signal that Montero is expendable

BOWIE, Md. – Regardless of what uniform Cliff Lee is wearing tonight, yesterday’s proceedings made one thing abundantly clear: Austin Romine is the Yankees’ catcher of the future.

By agreeing to send Jesus Montero, the best bat in the system and perhaps the entirety of minor league baseball, to Seattle for Lee, they not so subtly inferred which man they believe will be the successor to Jorge Posada.

The pair has long been regarded as the twin peaks in a system rich with catching talent, but the ultimate question was about which would win out: Montero’s supremely gifted bat, or Romine’s all-around excellence.

Now, after about eight hours of deliberation, it appears we know the answer.

The deal, which would have sent Montero, Thunder second baseman David Adams and former Trenton ace Zach McAllister across the country, broke down because of questions Seattle had regarding Adams’ ankle.

That last part is surprising, given that Adams has been hurt for nearly two months. Yes, he did have a set back recently, but hasn’t had surgery. It’s a fully recoverable injury, and it’s not as if he would have started immediately with the Mariners.

The more likely scenario is that the Rangers simply offered Seattle a superior package of prospects, which includes slugger Justin Smoak, stud pitcher Blake Beavan, second baseman Matt Lawson and reliever Josh Lueke.

Beavan was with Triple-A, while Lueke and Lawson were a part of the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders.

The deal also tips the Yankees’ hand a little bit as far as the rest of the month leading up to the non-waiver trading deadline is concerned. By even making the proposal in the first place, it signals to the rest of the league that they believe their rotation, even with three All-Stars, is incomplete.

This belief may have been spurred by the up-and-down first halves from the rotation’s non All-Stars – Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett – or the upcoming innings count placed on Phil Hughes.

No matter the cause, it appears that the Yankees believe they need pitching, and Montero’s the man they’re willing to part with to acquire it.

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