We just got done with the conference call with Jesus Montero and Jack Zduriencik, and we will post some quotes from that shortly here at the blog.
We just got a chance to meet Jesus, and he is a very impressive young man. He is very excited about being a Seattle Mariner and can’t wait to get to Spring Training.
And here is the first photo of Jesus Montero at Safeco Field.
I also had a chance to catch up with Jesus and ask him a few questions:
5 Questions with Jesus Montero:
1. What is your favorite movie? The Terminator
2. Who is your baseball idol? Sammy Sosa
3. What is your favorite kind of music? Salsa
4. How would you like to be known as a player? The complete player who can catch and hit (and with a smile he said for power!)
5. What is your dream car? Lamborghini (he loves the sport of drag racing, but does not participate — too fast he says)
The Mariners officially completed the 4-player trade with the New York Yankees, acquiring C/DH Jesus Montero and RHP Hector Noesi in exchange for RHP Michael Pineda and minor league RHP Jose Campos.
Montero and Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik will be on a conference call at 2:30 p.m. PT today, and we’ll pass along some quotes from that and hopefully get a chance to ask Jesus some questions to share on the blog.
And here is how Jesus will look in a Mariners uniform (use photoshop of course).
MARINERS ACQUIRE JESUS MONTERO, HECTOR NOESI FROM NEW YORK YANKEES
Mariners send RHP Michael Pineda and RHP Jose Campos to New York.
SEATTLE, Wash. — Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager Jack Zduriencik announced today that the club has acquired catcher Jesus Montero and right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi from the New York Yankees in exchange for right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda and minor league right-handed pitcher Jose Campos.
“With this trade we feel we have acquired a premium offensive talent that has the potential to hit in the middle of our lineup and grow with our other young players,” said Zduriencik. “It is also beneficial that we were able to acquire a Major League- ready pitcher with six years of control and who will compete for a spot in our rotation.
“It was very difficult to part ways with Michael (Pineda) as we are extremely proud of what he has been able to accomplish in our organization. He is a special young man and we wish him the best of luck with the Yankees.
“Through our evaluations, we’ve identified the strength of our organization to be pitching depth, and this helped in our decision to acquire what we consider a premium bat and a potential starting pitcher for the 2012 season and beyond. This trade is also a testament to the job that Bob Engle (Vice President, International Operations) and Tom McNamara (Director of Amateur Scouting) and their staffs have done through scouting and signing of players. ”
Montero, 22, has been ranked by Baseball America as the Yankees top prospect in each of the last three years (2010-12) and the 3rd-best prospect in all of baseball (top catcher) entering the 2011 season. He was also tabbed by the publication as the Yankees “Best Hitter for Average” and “Best Power Hitter”. He was recently selected as the top catching prospect by MLB.com.
Montero made his Major League debut as a September call-up and hit .328 (20×61) with 9 runs, 4 doubles, 4 home runs, 12 RBI with a .406 on-base percentage and a .590 slugging percentage in 18 games. His September performance earned him a spot on the Yankees Division Series playoff roster where he went 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI in his only two at-bats against Detroit. Last season in 109 games with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Montero hit .288 (121×420) with 52 runs, 19 doubles, 1 triple, 18 home runs and 67 RBI.
Montero has combined to bat .308 (570×1852) during his rapid rise through the Yankees minor league system. He was selected to play in the 2008 (Yankee Stadium) and 2009 (Busch Stadium) Futures Game. In 2010 he combined to bat .289 (131×453) with 34 doubles, 3 triples, 21 home runs and 75 RBI with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Guacara, Venezuela native was originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on Oct. 17, 2006.
Noesi, 24 (turns 25 on Jan. 26), split the 2011 season between the Yankees and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 30 games, including two starts with the Yankees, he was 2-2, 4.47 ERA (28 ER, 56.1 IP) with 45 strikeouts. With Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he was 1-1, 3.28 ERA (9 ER, 24.2 IP) with 17 strikeouts in 6 games, 5 starts. He was rated by Baseball America as the Yankees 7th-best prospect heading into the 2011 season as was also tabbed by the publication as having the “Best Control” in their system (he was not eligible to be included in their 2012 rankings due to having pitched more than 50.0 innings in the Major Leagues last season).
Noesi has combined to go 30-18 with a 2.98 ERA (142 ER, 428.1 IP) with 401 strikeouts in 97 games, 74 starts in the Yankees minor league system. In 2010 he combined to go 14-7, 3.20 ERA (57 ER, 160.1 IP) with 153 strikeouts in 28 games, 27 starts between High-A Tampa, AA Trenton and AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre and was selected to the World Team roster for the 2010 All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The Esperanza, Dominican Republic native was originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on Dec. 3, 2004.
Pineda, 23, spent the entire 2011 season with the Mariners, going 9-10, 3.74 ERA (71 ER, 171.0 IP) with 173 strikeouts in 28 appearances, all starts. In his career in the minors he was 31-14, 2.49 ERA (112 ER, 404.1 IP) with 396 strikeouts. He was originally signed by the Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on Dec. 12, 2005.
Campos, 19, was 5-5, 2.32 ERA (21 ER, 81.1 IP) with 85 strikeouts in 14 appearances, all starts with short-season Everett. In three seasons in the Mariners system, he is a combined 14-10, 3.26 ERA (62 ER, 171.1 IP) with 167 strikeouts in 40 games, including 30 starts. He was originally signed by the Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on Jan. 15, 2009.
With these roster moves, the Mariners 40-man roster is now full at 40.
With the Mariners signing of LHP Oliver Perez to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, the club has added another experienced arm to compete in Peoria for a spot on the Mariners roster. Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik said he expects Perez to compete for a spot in the bullpen during spring training.
Although he is just 30 years old, Perez already has nine big league seasons under his belt after making his Major League debut at the age of 20 with the San Diego Padres in 2002.
Perez most recently had a successful stint in the Mexican Winter League where he struck out 19 in 14.1 relief innings with a 0.63 ERA. He spent the entire 2011 season with AA Harrisburg in the Nationals organization after logging Major League service time in each of his previous nine seasons (2002-2010).
Oliver has logged 1,111.2 innings in his Major League career and has struck out 1,126 batters (9.12 K/9), making him just one of eight pitchers in Major League history who have struck out more than a batter per inning (with a minimum of at least 1,000 innings pitched).
Not a bad list:
It has been a busy day in Mariners land this morning. There was the announcement with Dan Wilson and Randy Johnson being inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame this morning, the following news about three players avoiding arbitration, and of course talk of all the snow that is in the forecast for the Puget Sound region.
The latest bit of news was that closer Brandon League, starting pitcher Jason Vargas and relief pitcher Shawn Kelley all agreed to one-year contracts for the 2012 season, avoiding the arbitration process. What is arbitration you ask? Here is one of the best definitions that we have come across:
A player with less than 6 years of Major League service time is eligible for salary arbitration if he:
- is without a contract for the next season, AND
- has been tendered a contract offer by his current team by the tender deadline, AND
- cannot agree with his current team on a new contract, AND
- meets one of the conditions below:
- has been on a major league roster or disabled list for at least three years, OR
- has at least two years of major league service but less than three, AND is among the top 17 percent for cumulative playing time in the majors in this class of players, AND was on an active major-league roster for at least 86 days in the previous season.
What this basically means, is that the services of League, Vargas and Kelley are secured for the 2012 season. All three pitchers will be key contributors for the Mariners in 2012. More information on the three players is available in the official news release:
MARINERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH BRANDON LEAGUE, SHAWN KELLEY, JASON VARGAS
Mariners agree to one-year contracts on all three players avoiding arbitration.
SEATTLE, Wash. (Jan. 17, 2012) — Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik today announced that the club has agreed to terms with right-handed pitchers Brandon League and Shawn Kelley, and left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas on one-year contracts for the 2012 season. Per club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
By agreeing to terms with the three players, the Mariners have no remaining arbitration-eligible players.
League, 28, ranked 3rd in the American League last season posting 37 saves and was selected to play in his first All-Star Game. He went 1-5 with a 2.79 ERA (19 ER, 61.1 IP) in a team-high 65 appearances. His 37 saves were 4th-most in single-season club history, and his save percentage (88.1%, 37-for-42) was 6th-highest.
In two seasons with the Mariners, League is 10-12 with a 3.14 ERA (49 ER, 140.1 IP) and 43 saves in 135 appearances. His 135 appearances over the last two seasons are tied for 7th-most in the American League.
In eight Major League seasons with the Blue Jays (2004-09) and Mariners (2010-11), League has compiled a 17-22 record with a 3.70 ERA (141 ER, 342.2 IP) in 303 relief appearances. He was acquired from Toronto on Dec. 23, 2009 along with minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez in exchange for right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow. The Blue Jays originally selected him in the 2nd round (59th overall) out of Hawai’i’s St. Louis High School in 2001.
Vargas, 28, went 10-13 with a 4.25 ERA (95 ER, 201.0 IP) in 32 starts in 2011. The lefty set career highs in strikeouts (131), wins (10), innings (201.0) and starts (32). He ranked tied for 3rd in the AL with three shutouts and was tied for 4th with 4 complete games.
In three seasons with the Mariners, Vargas is 22-31 with a 4.19 ERA (226 ER, 485.1 IP) in 86 appearances (77 starts). He was acquired from the New York Mets as part of a 12-player trade also involving the Cleveland Indians on Dec. 10, 2008. He was originally selected by the Florida Marlins in the 2nd round (68th overall) in the 2004 June draft out of Long Beach State University.
Kelley, 27, saw limited action last season after coming back from partial Tommy John surgery performed on Sept. 1, 2010. In 10 Major League games, Kelley did not allow a run and scattered 7 hits in 12.2 innings. In 15 minor league appearances with AA Jackson and AAA Tacoma, Kelley went 1-1 with a 1.53 ERA (3 ER, 17.2 IP).
Originally selected in the 13th round of the 2006 June draft, Kelley made his Major League debut in 2009. In three seasons with the Mariners he has appeared in 73 games (all in relief), recording an 8-5 record with a 3.66 ERA (34 ER, 83.2 IP).