Seattle Mariners option Jesus Montero to Triple-A

05/23/2013 2:52 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Jesus Montero is hitting .208 with a .590 OPS in 2013.(AP)
The Seattle Mariners will option catcher Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle News Tribune.

Montero, 23, was the centerpiece of the trade that brought pitcher Michael Pineda to the Yankees in January 2012, but he has struggled in his second season in Seattle. After hitting .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBI in 135 games last season as a DH/catcher, Montero has posted just a .208-3-9 line and a .590 OPS in 29 games as the Mariners’ regular backstop in 2013.

In addition, Montero’s defense has been less than stellar, as he has thrown out just one of 24 potential base stealers this season and posted a negative number in the advanced Wins Above Replacement metric.

As Divish posits, the question in the Mariners organization could now become where Montero fits best. With 2012 No. 3 overall draft pick Mike Zunino catching full-time in Triple-A, Montero is unlikely to see much if any time behind the plate; he could move to first base or DH full-time, and with the Mariners having both Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales at the Major League level, it could be a case where he gets a long stint in Triple-A to figure everything out.

The Mariners will reportedly replace Montero by purchasing the contract of 25-year-old backstop Jesus Sucre, who hit .302 in 14 games as Zunino’s backup in Tacoma and will now move up to serve as Kelly Shoppach’s backup in the Majors. In addition, the organization will reportedly promote Brandon Bantz from Double-A Jackson to Tacoma to serve as Zunino’s backup, further clouding Montero’s chances for playing time behind the plate.

With Montero’s demotion, none of the four players in the aforementioned trade are currently on an active Major League roster; Pineda is still rehabbing from 2012 shoulder surgery, pitcher Jose Campos is back at Class-A Charleston after missing most of last season with an elbow injury, and pitcher Hector Noesi, the other player sent to Seattle, has made five appearances for the Mariners this season (including a spot start against the Yankees on May 16) but is currently at Tacoma after being optioned back to the Minors on May 17.

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