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Mariners activate Michael Saunders, send Jesus Montero back to Triple-A

Jun 27, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT

Jesus Montero Getty Images

Jesus Montero‘s latest stint in the big leagues was a short one, as the Mariners have demoted the one-time top prospect back to Triple-A to make room for outfielder Michael Saunders‘ return from the disabled list.

Saunders missed three weeks with a strained shoulder and comes back after going 9-for-20 during a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A. He’ll resume playing regularly in the Mariners’ outfield after hitting .265 with four homers and a .741 OPS in 52 games before the injury, more or less matching his production from the past two seasons.

Montero got just 14 at-bats during this latest call-up and wasn’t especially impressive at Triple-A, so his status in the Mariners’ long-term plans is definitely shaky at age 24. Billed as one of the elite hitting prospects around while in the Yankees’ farm system, he’s hit just .252 with 19 homers and a .672 OPS in 169 games for the Mariners since coming over in a deal for Michael Pineda.

  1. lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    But…..but……wait. Wasn’t he a Top 5 prospect in all of baseball, Kevin S?

    • Kevin S. - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      He’s been a bust so far for the Mariners, but you claimed that he had backup-catcher level upside at the time of the trade. That’s pretty objectively false, unless you think Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law are all in the habit of ranking guys with backup-level upside at the tops of their prospect lists.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:32 PM

        Yeah, I kind of overplayed my hand on that one, and you were right to call me out on it. What I should have said then was that I never shared the opinion that he was a can’t miss prospect. The comment tonight was just designed to see if you were paying attention. What’s a little trolling amongst friends?

      • dan1111 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:18 AM

        The problem is that some people seem to believe that “can’t miss prospect” is a thing.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:56 AM

        See, that’s fairer. I *did* think he would hit, but “can’t miss” prospects do indeed miss from time to time, especially when they show up one year forty pounds overweight. Like I said previously, I still think the ability’s there. There certainly seem to be some mindset issues he needs to sort out, and he might need to move on from Seattle to realize his potential, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him show up somewhere in a couple years with the bat finally playing at 1B/DH like we always thought it would.

  2. thisdamnbox - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Ah, these are the days of our Jack Z…

  3. ehretsmr - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    When it comes down to it though, his numbers are fairly representative of an entire 162 game season, and .252 with 19 home runs isn’t exactly terrible for a catcher. Granted he has failed to live up to the elite prospect status of a few years ago, but he has shown decent production. His defense needs work and he could hit a few more extra base hits but in my opinion, he still has time to figure it all out.

    • jeffbbf - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      the problem is…he’s not a catcher anymore

      • ehretsmr - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        Ok, well Logan Morrison, the M’s starting 1B tonight has a lower average, less home runs, and a similar OPS in his last 162 games so what exactly makes Montero such a bust of a prospect

      • dan1111 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:26 AM

        “what exactly makes Montero such a bust of a prospect”?

        How about not being able to hit or play defense? His hitting would only be just barely good enough to stick at catcher if he were a top defensive catcher. He has a little pop, but his .292 OBP with the Mariners is appalling.

        The fact that he is similar to Logan Morrison, another player who is not good enough to play full time in the majors, does not help his case.

  4. miguelcairo - Jun 27, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Saunders does have one helluva arm.

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