CLEVELAND -- The Yankees added another blue-chip prospect to their farm system this week, signing 16-year-old catcher Jesus Montero for $2 million.
The Venezuelan backstop was considered one of the top players on the international market, if not the cream of the crop.
The Yanks beat out at least three other teams for Montero, as the Mets, Red Sox and Indians were all reportedly interested in the 6'3", 220-pound power hitter.
"He'll instantly become the highest catching prospect in our system," general manager Brian Cashman told the Daily News. "One of our scouts believes he's the best prospect to come out of Venezuela since Miguel Cabrera."
Montero will begin his Minor League career playing rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League next season.
Carlos Rios, the Yankees' scouting coordinator in Latin America, announced Montero's signing at a press conference in Venezuela.
"His main assets are his bat and his great arm, but Montero has the complete package and even George Steinbrenner got excited," Rios told Líder newspaper.
With Jorge Posada approaching his 35th birthday, the Yankees were looking for their catcher of the future. New York dealt Dioner Navarro to the Diamondbacks in the Randy Johnson deal, moving their top prospect at the position.
With no other big-time catching prospects to speak of in the farm system, the Yankees are banking on Montero to fill the void a few years after Posada's career is over.
"The idea," Cashman told the Daily News, "is that in five years everyone will know who he is for the next 20."
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