Many of you will remember that the Mariners were after Jesus Montero in 2010 as part of a Cliff Lee trade package. The trade ended up not happening after the Texas Rangers offered to include Justin Smoak, among others for Cliff Lee. Back then the Yankees were pretty pissed off at the Mariners for using them as leverage. Looks like they got over it.
This trade is one where both team clearly win, picking up pieces that they needed in exchange for pieces they could do without. The Yankees can hit but needed pitching help. The Mariners have the young pitching but no offense. The Mariners have had two of the worst offensive seasons in the DH era these past couple years and needed to make a move that would help change that. Jesus Montero will certainly do that. After being called up to the major by the Yankees, Montero had a remarkable run for a 21 year old. In 18 games Montero hit .328/.406/.590 with 4 HR and 12 RBI. It was only 18 games so you shouldn’t really project that out over the course of 162 games. Even so, Montero has been regarded as one of the most offensively talented prospects to come along for years. The ball just shoots off of his bat.
|162 Game Avg.||162||621||549||81||180||36||0||36||108||63||153||.328||.406||.590||.996||159||324|
Montero is regarded as a catcher. The problem is that he isn’t really all that great defensively. The Mariners will likely give him a shot at catching but don’t be surprised if he ultimately ends up as a 1B/DH. The Mariners looked set at each of those positions with Justin Smoak getting the majority of time at first and Mike Carp doing the DH’ing. How odd is it that the Mariners ended up with Smoak and Montero? This trade could help set up others for the Mariners.
One thing that seems very likely now is that Mariner fans can kiss Prince Fielder goodbye. Adding Fielder would still be nice, replacing Smoak and possibly dealing him elsewhere. But, with the addition of Jesus Montero it looks like that ship has sailed. What will the Mariners do with all that extra remaining cash that they were going to give Fielder? One report a few days ago had the Mariners telling agents that they only had $3-4 million remaining. Maybe that was in fact true and this helps prove they had no shot at Prince?
The Mariners did just give up a prized player in Michael Pineda. The 22 year old was one of the bright spots for the Mariners, making the big league team out of spring training and pitching well enough to be one of the top vote getters in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
Pineda became the “ace behind the ace” for the Mariners last season. Any team would love to have a one-two punch like the Mariners did in Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda but the Mariners just no longer had the luxury of waiting for the offense to put up enough runs to support the rotation.
Jesus Montero and Michael Pineda weren’t the only two players dealt. The Yankees sent Hector Noesi, a relief pitcher with experience as a starter to the Mariners. The Mariners also included young starter Jose Campos along with Pineda.
Hector Noesi has experience pitching in the majors last season. Noesi appeared in 30 games, two starts, and had a 2-2 record with a 4.47 ERA with the Yankees.
My initial reaction to the trade was that Pineda pitched so well his rookie year, he would surely develop even further and possible be even better than King Felix. Then I had to slow down and realize that being just 22 years old, not really having to deal with such high pitch counts, Pineda, and pitchers in general have a much higher risk of injury. They are no sure thing.
Michael Pineda moves to the AL East now and will have to deal with much better lineups on a regular basis. He’s also going to lose the luxury of pitching at Safeco Field. What makes me sad is that now I have to hate Michael Pineda. I hate the Yankees and through no fault of his own, I now have to hate Pineda. Sorry Michael.