Interesting stuff via Joel Sherman -
There was a time in 2007, and even for a good deal of 2008, when the Yankees pretty much could have acquired just about anyone for Joba Chamberlain.
Personnel men were that gaga about his stuff, his mix of pitches and his ability to retain command and velocity deep into games. He projected as a young ace, the most attractive commodity in the game.
But slowly, as he ricocheted between the rotation and bullpen; health and injury; and success and mediocrity, Chamberlain’s value plummeted. Some teams remain intrigued about obtaining him to see if they can reclaim a quality starter, but only if they can buy low. The moment to maximize Chamberlain, however, has vanished.
Are the Yanks on the same loss-of-value path with Jesus Montero? Because the more scouts have seen him this spring, the more dubious they have sounded about his defense.
And while the belief is he will hit for impact as a major-leaguer, his attractiveness in the trade market dims if teams view him only as a first baseman/DH — as some have always. One reason, for example, Seattle chose to trade Cliff Lee to the Rangers rather than the Yankees last July was doubts about if Montero could stay a catcher.
I asked four scouts independently about Montero’s defense the past few days, and none was enthused about his chances to stay a catcher long term.
One scout went this far: “No matter how many different ways you ask, I don’t see a catcher. Just because you have shin guards and a mask, that doesn’t make you a catcher.”
Did you know, before the 2000 season, Nick Johnson was considered the #5 prospect in all of baseball? The Yankees traded him after the 2003 season. Would they have gotten more from him in 2000? Dunno. The fact that Johnson did so well in 2003 kept his stock up – if not made it better. Perhaps the same will happen with Montero? We’ll know the answer in the near future.