Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero.
I am not sure what to make of this trade between the Mariners and the Yankees.
On the one hand it seems to make sense for both teams.
On the other hand it makes sense for neither team.
It’s not often a trade can be so perplexing but at the same time refreshing.
For the Yankees, they got Michael Pineda. At 23 years old he has already made the All Star team and gives New York youth they desperately need in the pitching staff.
Then again, he tailed off badly in the second half and seemed to pitch better in pitcher friendly Safeco Field. And the AL East beat him like a drum. And his home run rate rose dramatically in the second half.
Cause for concern?
The future home grown slugger is heading to the Pacific Northwest and presumably his #63 will never be retired in Monument Park.
He’s a right handed masher who was ranked one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball in back to back seasons.
Maybe he’s not a long term solution at catcher but he could have caught a season with Russell Martin and split DH duties.
He might have been part of a NEW “Core Four!”
But off he goes. A homegrown talent going to spend his career elsewhere.
Some Mariner blogs are comparing him to Miguel Cabrera.
Then again lots of bloggers complained to me when I didn’t call Colby Rasmus an elite player. It’s one thing to be a prospect.
It’s another thing to produce.
(I’m looking at YOU Alex Ochoa.)
And hitting doesn’t win titles. Pitching does. The Yankees were banking on the likes of Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and A. J. Burnett to keep them in 60% of their games. You can always sign a hitter, but 23 year old All Star pitchers don’t grow on trees?
Pineda joins a staff where he, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes would all be under 26. Suddenly the rotation isn’t so ancient. They are a turn around season from Hughes away from Cashman’s vision of a young core of pitchers backing up Sabathia.
Throw in David Robertson and suddenly the Yankees might have their pitching foundation for the next 6 or 7 years.
(Just ask Joba Chamberlain.)
Provided Pineda isn’t a one year fluke who gets torched in Yankee Stadium. (Remember how Jeff Weaver was going to be the young ace of the team?)
But there is more than one team in this deal.
The Mariners stink.
They’ve lost 95 or more games 3 of the last 4 years.
And with Ichiro in the final year of his deal, his Mariner tenure will likely end without a single World Series appearance.
The same was said for Griffey’s time in Seattle…
And Edgar Martinez’s…
And Randy Johnson’s…
And Alex Rodriguez’s…
And no doubt Felix Hernandez’s time will end pennant-less in the Pacific Northwest.
They need to mix it up. And a player that Brian Cashman once said could be a new Manny Ramirez.
Maybe put Montero along side young Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley and the Mariners will build a nice line up.
But I thought the Mariners best hopes to finally win the pennant was to take the Giants blue print. Stockpile pitching and win around your dynamic ace.
And the West could be won with great pitching. And shut down an East, Central or Wild Card opponent in a short series then play a National League style World Series… that was the Mariners ticket.
And I thought Michael Pineda could have been the Matt Cain to Hernandez’s Lincecum.
So what’s my take on the trade?
I literally have no clue.
It could be great for both or blow up in both of their faces.
The Yankees could have their young rotation and the Mariners could get a dominant lineup.
Or the Yankees could have a bust pitcher while the Mariners picked up a hitter with no position who can’t handle big league pitching.
Maybe they should have stayed on their original teams.