Rafael Montero Forever Part Of MLB History
For those New York Mets fans who watched Rafael Montero, we wouldn’t have been shocked if he was a part of Major League history. Certainly, we could have bought him doing what Lance McCullers did in allowing a record five homers in a World Series start.
Actually, that’s not true at all. By 2017, there was not one Mets fan alive who believed Montero would still be in the Major Leauges at this point. Really, most Mets fans had believed Montero would not only never come close to living up to his prospect status, but they also believed his career was essentially over.
As was par for the course, much of that had to do with the Mets organization. More specifically, there was Jeff Wilpon’s meddling in medical matters, and there was Terry Collins eternal mishandling of pitchers. As we can recall, Montero had complained of shoulder and elbow issues with the Mets claiming he was making it up, and Collins traveling to essentially tell him to “man up.”
Well, eventually, we would see Montero’s Mets career end when he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. After all the disappointment, he was finally free to pursue his career elsewhere. While he had one promising year with the Seattle Mariners, he returned to the enigmatic pitcher he always was. It would not be until he was traded to the Houston Astros that his career would finally take off (pun intended).
Back in April, when the Mets had their combined no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, it was a shock the Mets used Joely Rodriguez. As shocked as we were to see Rodriguez, it was far more surprising to see the Astros use Montero in the eighth inning to try to keep the combined no-hitter intact.
Rafael Montero, 96mph ⛽️
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) November 3, 2022
However, it wasn’t really a surprise for Astros fans. Montero has been phenomenal all season for them. He was one of the best relievers in all of baseball. Over 71 appearances, he was 5-2 with 14 saves, a 2.37 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and a 9.2 K/9. He also had a 163 ERA+ and 2.64 FIP. In reality, he was better than any Mets reliever not named Edwin Diaz.
In this postseason, Montero has been great. Over nine appearances, he has a 1.00 ERA and a 0.889 WHIP. While it is coming as a reliever, you see what the Mets saw in him when they thought he was better than Jacob deGrom. The skill and execution is finally there. As a result, he has been great, and now, he is forever a part of Major League history.
Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly celebrate the combined no-hitter 🙌 pic.twitter.com/4XHaVl1Sx9
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 3, 2022
Now, the old excuse of he wouldn’t have done it here has been far too overused with the Mets. With Justin Turner, his career starting blossoming at the end of his Mets tenure. For Travis d’Arnaud, he actually was great with the Mets in 2015. Both and more could have done it with the Mets.
For Montero, the excuse might actually be applicable. As an organization, the Mets continuously stood in his way. The questioned whether he was really injured. They challenged him when he should have been healing or resting. Because of this Wilponian mixture of arrogance and ignorance, Montero would not be able to be the pitcher he could be until 2022.
That’s a sad fact for Montero. That said, he is a lesson in perseverance. Because he never quit, he finally found the right situation, and now, he will forever be a part of Major League history while Jeff Wilpon is history in baseball.