Blue Jays acquire Montero on waivers from Seattle

First baseman/DH once a highly regarded prospect

Blue Jays acquire Montero on waivers from Seattle

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays added some depth to their organization -- at least temporarily -- by claiming first baseman/designated hitter Jesus Montero off waivers from the Mariners on Monday afternoon.

Toronto catcher A.J. Jimenez was designated for assignment to make room for Montero on the 40-man roster. Jimenez is out of options on his contract, and he could not be sent to the Minor Leagues without clearing waivers.

Montero is in a similar spot without options and it's possible his stint with the Blue Jays will be brief. The 26-year-old does not have a clear path to the big leagues unless there's an injury, but it's possible he will clear waivers and remain with the organization.

The one way Montero could figure into Toronto's plans is if designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion is not ready to begin the season. Encarnacion has yet to appear in an official game this spring because of a strained oblique, but he went 1-for-3 in a Minor League game on Monday, and the Blue Jays remain optimsitic he will be good to go for Opening Day.

Montero was once regarded as one of baseball's top right-handed-hitting prospects when he was coming up with the Yankees, but he's never consistently produced at the Major League level since being acquired by Seattle in a deal for right-hander Michael Pineda in 2012.

Montero's best season was as a rookie that year, when he batted .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs while splitting time between catcher and designated hitter. But he batted .208 in 29 games to start the 2013 season, was sent to Triple-A and then drew a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball.

He spent most of the past two seasons in Triple-A and hit well for Tacoma, but posted just a .223 average and five homers with 19 RBIs in 38 games in several short stints with the Mariners last year.

Montero transitioned to first base and lost about 35 pounds over the past two seasons and came to camp this spring looking to compete for the backup first base and DH jobs, but hit just .237 with 12 strikeouts in 38 Cactus League at-bats. He has not played a game as catcher since 2013.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.