There are reports of the Red Sox and Diamondbacks trade talks intensifying. Presumably, it will end up costing the Red Sox Michael Bowden to acquire their “catcher of the future” Miguel Montero.
These same reports are saying that the Red Sox are balking at the idea of trading Bowden, but in the end I am not convinced he will be the reason the Sox do not get Montero. I’m not sold on that premise of Montero being the “catcher of the future”.
The positives, he is still only 25 years old, he is under team control for four more seasons, and he has experience catching a veteran pitching staff which includes Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and Randy Johnson.
The negatives are his defense and offense.
First his defense, from his 2008 PECOTA card Nate Silver wrote “Montero has improved his defense to the point that it`s no longer a reason to keep him out of the lineup. His arm isn`t so great that he`ll win between-innings accuracy contests, but it`s not Piazza-poor, either.” I feel it is pretty safe to say that Montero is, at best, and average defender. That is alright if he is a good hitter, but I have to bring that into question.
Below are some projections on Montero’s 2009 stats:
CHONE .256 .330
Bill James .255 .335
Marcel .254 .323
Once again, these are numbers that do not jump out at me. The average major league hitter is expected to have a wOBA of approximately .336. In all cases, Montero is projected to be a below average hitter.
I understand stand that catchers do not grow on trees. I also understand that 25 year old catchers, even if they are average, have value. But on the other hand, Miguel Montero is not going to come cheap.
If it costs Michael Bowden, we will be giving up a potential #3-4 type pitcher who is under control for six years. Those type players may be just as rare as catchers. When a player, such a Varitek, is on the market and will only cost money it is difficult for me to see why we need to trade for someone. Varitek will produce similar numbers of the next 2 years and will provide all the intangibles that fans love.