Only a couple of years ago, Adam Moore was touted as the Mariners’ catcher of the future. Now, his future is with the Kansas City Royals.
Moore was claimed off waivers by the Royals earlier today after being designated for assignment by the Mariners last week. There was almost zero chance a 28-year-old catcher was going to be able to make it through waivers and be outrighted back to the minors.
So, when Moore was taken off the 40-man roster last week to free up a spot, he was as good as gone. The only thing that was left was to see whether Moore could be dealt someplace in a minor deal during a 10-day window for the M’s. Didn’t happen.
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Right at the end of the 2009 season, Moore was seen by the team as one of the building blocks of its future. He was called up in late August of that year and thrilled observers by catching all 14 innings of a Mariners victory over the Chicago White Sox. Given how many pitchers Moore caught that night, many felt he had — based off that — the defensive prowess behind the plate to handle the job full-time.
But that never materialized in a 2010 season in which Moore struggled to handle many of the team’s veteran pitchers. The lack of confidence some had in Moore is what propelled the Mariners to go out at the winter meetings and sign veteran Miguel Olivo to a two-year deal.
Moore returned to spring training in 2011 determined to earn a spot on the team and did so with a good Cactus League session. He opened the season with Olivo in a split-time situation but suffered a season ending knee injury the second series of the year in Texas.
This spring — after an off-season heart-to-heart with M’s assistant GM and former big league catcher Ted Simmons — Moore came back strong in spring training once again. But he broke a bone in his wrist early on, then re-injured his knee. The setbacks delayed the start of his minor league season and by the time he was healthy again, his time with the prganization had run out.
The lessons to be learned from the Moore experience are many. The big one, for me, as it applies to Jesus Montero, is that you can’t judge the defensive abilities of a catcher based off one or two stellar games in a row.
You have to see them over and over and over again, the way the M’s saw Moore in 2010.
And for Montero, the lesson is clear: it doesn’t take very long to go from “can’t miss” to “see ya later” in any organization. Montero got off to a good start this season, then slowed down considerably. No job is ever guaranteed in the big leagues forever.
And that applies to Montero, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and any other player long on promise and short on results. The big leagues don’t wait long for anybody.