That's right. I read an article on the internet, and now I like Lou Montanez.
Not only does Montanez come off like a humble guy that has learned from some mistakes, but openly attributing his failure to live up to his draft spot and early hype to a poor attitude sort of endears me to him, and even sort of gives me the hope that maybe he'll actually be a good player in Major League Baseball.
It's foolish, but sometimes I'm a sucker.
What's really turning me on Montanez is his competition, Felix Pie. While Montanez is hitting .354/.415/.438 this spring, Pie is batting a paltry .200/.260/.267 -- a .527 OPS. Against spring pitching.
Making that even worse is the fact that his glove has stunk, and that was supposed to be his biggest asset. But then we heard that about Luis Hernandez, too.
Let's not beat around the bush about it, because others have stopped doing it, too. Felix Pie was a vanity pickup by Andy MacPhail, or perhaps an obsession pickup. His top prospectdom had a lot to do with tools that may have made him a good baseball player. Pie is 24, which isn't old, but when your Major League line is .223/.284/.331 in 260 at-bats, it starts looking kinda old. Montanez finally made it to the bigs late last season and his mediocre .295/.316/.446 line is better than Pie has to offer.
It's also not like Pie has torched the minors at any point. He didn't stall like Montanez did, but he wasn't exactly lighting it up down there. He's hit .299/.353/.470 in 2500 minor league at-bats. Better than Montanez's mediocre career minor league numbers, yes, but isn't the point that he's supposed to be better? If he can't actually outplay Montanez (and he has not this spring, make no mistake about that), then why did we even get him?
MacPhail has done a great job so far and this won't be some make-or-break deal either way. Neither of them are likely to be the long-term solution, I don't think. But Pie was acquired because he's Andy's boy and Andy thought this was the right situation for him. If he can't hit and can't field, the situation was not right for him no matter what the team's expected W-L record was.
Now if Pie plays well and shuts me up, then great! We have a good left fielder, and Montanez is just sort of SOL unless someone gets hurt. But they're talking platoon with Ryan Freel, who hasn't been healthy in years and is a great idea in the superutility role, but not much further than that. They're talking platoon with Ryan Freel, and we're talking about the guy MacPhail went out and purposely got to start in left. He has no minor league options left, he's been left for dead by another organization, and this just isn't a great start in Baltimore for Felix Pie. If he flops as hard as it looks like he might, Andy will have some 'splainin to do.
I also feel it's worth mentioning that Luke Scott is a better player than both of them and that we wouldn't even be having this conversation if the team had signed a first baseman.