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Mariners Spring Training 2012: All Eyes On Jesus Montero

The largest move that the Seattle Mariners made this offseason -- one that was fairly unexpected -- was trading away young pitcher Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees in exchange for catcher (and perhaps designated hitter) Jesus Montero. He was possibly the top prospect in the Yankees system; certainly their top young position player. The line on Montero was that he was a top-flight hitter but needed plenty of work behind the plate. Although Montero is now away from the intense media scrutiny in New York, that scrutiny will not disappear entirely, as he could potentially be pegged as one of the faces of the future of the team, along with Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak, along with burgeoning young pitchers.

Geoff Baker at The Seattle Times penned an insightful column on Saturday that took an in-depth look at Montero and the pressures that he will be facing while with the M's. Montero is lucky enough to have two veteran catchers working with him as mentors throughout 2012 Spring Training. Both Guillermo Quiroz and Miguel Olivo have been there before. They're doing their best to help ensure that Montero becomes a well-rounded player.

"You have to concentrate a lot," said Quiroz, 30, who played a handful of games with Seattle in 2006, 2009 and 2010. "You have to be on top of everything. My best advice would be to be aware of everything on the field, because all eyes are on him.

"He has the ability to play," Quiroz added. "You can't deny that. The kid can hit. Catching-wise, I've seen him working out there and it's good. Once he gets the confidence, that experience, he'll be ready to play."

The M's and their fans certainly have high hopes for the young player. His development will be closely watched over the spring and likely throughout the year. He has an opportunity to become a key component of the Mariners rebuilding efforts.

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