Remember when Jesus Montero was supposed to be good? He was the New York Yankees' catcher of the future, a guy who projected as a power bat. They traded him to the Seattle Mariners in 2012 for pitcher Michael Pineda in a deal where both players had sizable upsides.
But since Montero arrived in Seattle, it's been disappointment after disappointment. That culminated this week when — according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times — Montero arrived at Mariners camp 40 pounds heavier than his target weight.
What's more? Montero is coming off a 2013 season that ended with a PED suspension as part of MLB's Biogenesis scandal. A number of players are trying to make amends this season because of that, but Montero thus far has flopped the hardest.
The Mariners aren't just disappointed with Montero — listed at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds last season — they have "zero expectations," according to the Seattle Times:
After each season, players meet with training and medical staff to set up their offseason. Each player is given a target weight they are expected to come in at for the following season. According to sources, Montero has never once met that target weight since joining the Mariners. This year he came in 40 pounds over the weight the Mariners wanted him to come in at. It’s led to frustration within the organization.
General manager Jack Zduriencik was particularly critical of Montero and his future. “We are disappointed in how he came in physically,” Zduriencik said bluntly.
That disinterest in conditioning in the offseason didn’t do much to change the minds of people who have been skeptical of Montero’s work ethic. It certainly didn’t inspire Zduriencik, who was clearly unhappy with the situation.
“It’s up to him,” Zduriencik said. "I have zero expectations for Jesus Montero. Any expectations I had are gone.”
It's not like Montero, 24, had inspired too much confidence before this. He hit .208 last season for the Mariners in a 29-game MLB season that included a demotion to Triple-A, injuries and the PED suspension. Montero didn't figure to start this year, with 22-year-old Mike Zunino beginning his second season for Seattle.
When he arrived at Mariners camp this week, Montero even told reporters: "After winter ball, all I did was eat.”
Before it was reported just how much weight Montero gained, that quote along with his suspension had already sparked outrage. The Seattle Times posted one heck of an angry letter from a fan that included this excerpt:
Have you ever thought about how you’re living someone else’s childhood dream? Did that cross your mind as you stuffed your face, sat on your ass gaining weight, and counted the money you made as a cheater last season? I’m willing to bet your 2014 salary that you didn’t write that worthless apology you made. I’ll bet it came from your agent or your publicist. Just a fee from that $503,300 stack of coinage you keep next to the weight set, treadmill, and workout plan that have collected dust.
Meanwhile, for those keeping score at home, Michael Pineda looks to be ready to deliver on his potential for the Yankees.
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