Mariners’ Montero on 2016 hopes: ‘I have to work even harder now’
Heading into the 2016 season, Jesus Montero knows what he has to do. The Seattle Mariners’ slugger is now out of options and can’t be shuttled back and forth between the M’s and Triple-A, so if he wants to be a part of the team he’ll have to prove his worth once and for all.
Speaking with MLB.com’s Greg Johns about that this week, Montero is fully aware of what has to happen:
“Yeah, I have to work even harder now. I have to make the team. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm just going to do my best to be up here the whole year.”Article continues below ...
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto echoed that sentiment, stressing while that Montero has done well at Triple-A, he’s had a tough time translating the prospect promise he’s had earlier in his career to the Majors:
“He had a great Triple-A year. He's done what he can do in the Minor Leagues. It's his time to be a big leaguer. Certainly, as it pertains to at least the right-handed portion of a platoon, he's an option for us. We have to find out how he handles the defensive duties. But he can swing the bat.”
In 2015, Montero appeared in 38 games for the Mariners, hitting .223/.250/.411 with five home runs in limited playing time. Seattle doesn’t have the luxury of optioning him back to Triple-A anymore unless he clears waivers.
However, the club’s recent acquisition of first baseman Adam Lind opens a potential platoon role for Montero – something manager Scott Servais addressed with Johns:
“There's a spot for him on our club. He needs to perform well during Spring Training and going forward into the season. We'd really like him to be able to mash those left-handed pitchers. That would be great. I think he knows what's ahead of him.”
This is a crucial few months for Montero, and he’ll likely be as motivated as anyone to play well during spring training in hopes of finding himself a consistent role in Seattle in 2016.