I was working last night when I received a text from a friend of mine informing me of a big trade involving the Mariners and Yankees. My mind immediately went to thinking the Yankees had pulled off the coup of the century and gotten themselves Felix Hernandez somehow. I was a little relieved to find out it was Michael Pineda, but still…….he isn’t chopped liver. In fact, he is one of the top young right handed pitchers in the game.
The Seattle Mariners are obviously in need of some offense, and they got one of the better prospects in the game in return when it comes to swinging the bat. Jesus Montero has been compared by some to have a Miguel Cabrera type ceiling with the bat, though I personally wouldn’t go that far. Either way, Seattle needed to find someone that fits in the middle of their order, and Montero should be able to do that.
So on the surface, the deal looks like a win-win for both teams.
I’m not sure that is the reality though. It’s entirely possible that Montero never really gets over 3.5 to 4 WAR in a season. Why? Simply put, he can’t defend. He isn’t a good catcher, and given his body and lack of athleticism as the young age of 22, I don’t think he is even going to be nimble enough to play 1B at an average level. Essentially, Montero is a DH, and playing him in the field might do more harm than good. But that is looking at the move in somewhat of a vacuum.
Seattle does have some pitching depth in the minor leagues, and much less when it comes to potential impact bats. It also allows Seattle to kind of pull out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes in a manner which allows them to save face in front of their fans. It’s not as if their fans don’t know Seattle needs offense, and I am sure the Seattle organization was under pressure to get some. That money that they aren’t using on Fielder could also be used on a couple of pitchers to help offset the loss of Pineda. Imagine a pedestrian Joe Saunders pitching in Seattle? He might be quite good there with that spacious LF. How about Edwin Jackson as King Felix’ second in command? Or even Roy Oswalt?
Pineda and Montero weren’t the only players involved in the deal, which could be the reason this deal gets real ugly for the Mariners. The Mariners went and kicked in ultra talented pitcher Jose Campos as well. Campos, who I would consider the Mariners 4th or 5th best prospect, has front of the rotation potential himself, but is a good 3 or 4 years away. In return, the Mariners received Hector Noesi from the Yankees. Noesi is a back of the rotation type or potential reliever, but is pretty much big league ready. I assume he will get every opportunity to make the Seattle rotation.
Make no mistake, this is an epic swap of talented young players. I think Seattle came up a little short in this deal. After seeing the haul that guys like Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez procured for their respective teams, I thought Pineda could’ve brought a similar package on his own, let alone throwing in Campos. Montero is obviously a big time offensive prospect, and Noesi is solid, but the Yankees got better here today, making their potential post-season rotation more formidable.
The reason for that is the Yankees also signed Hiroki Kuroda as well today, and I don’t think that move should be underestimated. Kuroda is a very good pitcher, and a guy I would love for the Tigers to have for a year. He wasn’t likely to come here, but I hate seeing him on the Yankees. I mean, doesn’t almost everyone hate the Yankees?
I know I do. It sucks they just got better today and it didn’t cost them an arm and leg to do it.