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Michael Pineda addition a big win for Yankees

Jan 13, 2012, 8:43 PM EDT

Michael Pineda Getty Images

Maybe there were no household names involved, but Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero is a huge trade, one that, at first inspection, appears to have been won by the Yankees.

The Mariners picked up Montero after originally passing on him in a Cliff Lee deal in the summer of 2010. They chose the Rangers’ package headed by Justin Smoak instead of a Montero-centered trade with the Yankees then, a mistake that they may well have compounded tonight. While Montero is likely to be a terrific hitter for the next 10 or 15 years, that’s probably all he’s going to be. His catching hasn’t progressed to the point at which he can serve as a major league regular, and if he’s simply a DH, then his upside doesn’t match Pineda’s.

Pineda, who turns 23 next week, didn’t overwhelm with a 3.74 ERA as a rookie, but it came with a 173/55 K/BB ratio in 171 innings. He was that good despite having just 25 starts in the upper minors under his belt. With his mid-90s fastball, he has a great chance of serving as a top-of-the-rotation starter for a good long time. Of course, he’s a young pitcher and there’s always the possibility that he’ll run into elbow or shoulder problems. Still, with no sign of them so far, the Yankees were smart to jump. Arms like Pineda’s are so rarely available. Given his ceiling and the fact that he has five years left before free agency, he was worth significantly more than the other talented pitchers traded this winter, Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez included.

The deal, which also includes right-handers Hector Noesi going to Seattle and Jose Campos to New York, brings to mind the Josh Hamilton-for-Edinson Volquez swap the Reds and Rangers pulled off four years ago. Both teams were happy with their returns after one year, but Volquez blew out his arm in 2009 and struggled to make it back. The Yankees will hope it’s the pitcher who prevails this time. With Pineda behind CC Sabathia in the rotation and a free agent designated hitter (Johnny Damon? Vladimir Guerrero?) replacing Montero, they certainly seem to be in a better position to make a postseason run this year than they did a day ago.

  1. farvite - Jan 13, 2012 at 8:48 PM


  2. benandjerrysberryhorny - Jan 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Montero for Pineda straight up? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME????????????

  3. fquaye149 - Jan 13, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Looks like Pineda+ has fallen on hard times since those halcyon days when Pineda+ could fetch a Votto and a Grandal!

  4. bry2j316 - Jan 13, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    FIRE CHUCK ARMSTRONG. This was their plan B because they are too cheap to pay for Prince. Brilliant. I can only hope rumors of a sale a year or two from now are true.

  5. tomfroemming - Jan 13, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Can’t support dealing an ace-caliber starter for a likely career DH. Great move for NYY, who can always afford to pay an aging slugger to DH on a low-risk, one-year deal.

    Pineda will be 23 next week, no?

  6. deathmonkey41 - Jan 13, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Woooooo Hoooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  7. Reflex - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Pineda is not at risk of developing arm trouble. Pineda ALREADY HAS ARM TROUBLE. He blew out his elbow in 2009, and uses the dreaded Inverted W throwing motion. Good kid, but selling high is a brilliant move given that his shoulder is due to go out next thanks to that motion.

    M’s won this deal in a landslide.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      And yet most of the people who work in the business see it as a win for both.

      • Reflex - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        Pineda’s road ERA: 4.40
        Heavy fly ball pitcher too.

        Seriously, you see this as a good thing? You also see his throwing motion as a good thing? You think a flyball pitcher is going to look good in Yankee Stadium and Fenway?

        His one start at Fenway last year. 7 earned runs. He has yet to start in Yankee Stadium.

        He’s a good guy, but seriously this is the very definition of selling high. The M’s basically acquired the top first base prospect in Smoak and followed it up with the best hitting prospect in the game for DH/backup Catcher in Montero, and only gave up half a season of Lee(in a non-contending season) and a pitcher with arm trouble who’s home/road splits are very very bad.

      • paperlions - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:24 PM

        By that same token, the Mariners play in a park where right-handed power hitters go to die…you think Montero’s bat will play well there?

      • Reflex - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        Nope, it won’t. I absolutely agree with you there. Hopefully they are smart enough to trade him, or he learns to adjust his swing. I’m not building Montero up, I think Smoak was the better deal when they delt Lee. What I am saying is they needed offense, and a sell high deal on Pineda was brilliant.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:52 PM

        Seriously, you see this as a good thing?

        No, but I listen to professional people who are paid to scout players like:

        Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus*:
        “if you could only have Campos or Noesi, who do you take?”

        “Who wins this trade in your mind. Yankees or Mariners?”

        You think a flyball pitcher is going to look good in Yankee Stadium and Fenway

        Per my other comment:
        more information, please note the super small sample size, but it’s all we have at the MLB level

        H – 9.58 K/9, 3.27 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9(!), 0.181 BAA, 0.220 BABIP
        A – 8.71 K/9, 2.59 BB/9, 0.86 HR?9, 0.231 BAA, 0.286 BABIP

        H – 3.62 FIP, 3.51 xFIP
        A – 3.26 FIP, 3.55 xFIP

        In only 185 total IP, which isn’t enough to make a true determination of ability.

        His one start at Fenway last year. 7 earned runs.

        Wow? He had a bad game? Are we really drawing conclusions based on one start vs the highest scoring team in MLB last year? in ’99 Roger Clemens gave up 5ER in 2IP at Fenway during the ALCS. Next year his only start at Fenway he went 8IP with 0 ER. It’s almost like one start isn’t indicative of future performance at all!

        and a pitcher with arm trouble who’s home/road splits are very very bad.

        See above regarding H/A splits, stop using ERA. Also, the M’s traded for a no-defensive-position hitter that some thing is more akin to Carlos Lee and not Miguel Cabrera:
        Ben Badler of Baseball America:
        “Montero and Pineda will rightfully get the bulk of the attention, but getting Campos could pay off big time down the road for the Yankees”

      • phillyphreak - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:24 PM

        Agree with Church here. All of this fly ball stuff assumes that Pineda is done developing. He needs some more work for sure. Need more data though.

      • The Wizard - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:30 PM

        Pineda’s road ERA: 4.40

        Pineda’s road K/BB ratio: 91/27 = 3.37

        Pineda’s road WHIP: 1.17

      • uyf1950 - Jan 14, 2012 at 6:15 AM

        church, most people including the people who do that sort of thing for a living don’t know as much as Reflex (btw, yes I am being sarcastic).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:57 AM

        touche uyf :)

      • steelersfan1983 - Jan 14, 2012 at 8:49 AM

        My favorite part from Reflex was

        ” followed it up with the best hitting prospect in the game for DH/backup Catcher in Montero”

        Best DH/Backup catcher prospect? Over STARTING pitcher?

      • Reflex - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:00 PM

        You know, most of the time I’m on the same side as the regulars here. But I can see how frustrating it is to have a different opinion in this group.

        Just watch. Pineda will dissapoint. At the least he will regress from last year somewhat, at worst he’ll completely implode having to start so many games in unfavorable environments.

        And in the next few years, two would be my bet, his shoulder will go out.

        Montero may or may not turn into a stud. I think he has a legit shot, but its possible he won’t be able to consistently hit to the opposite field. The M’s are also deep in pitching prospects. Dealing an injury prone pitcher, with a motion that is heavily speculated to cause long term arm damage and fly ball tendencies that do not play well outside of large parks with good defenses seems to be a no-brainer to me. Especially after a rookie season as good as his was. Thats called selling high.

        It dosen’t mean Pineda won’t find some new magic that makes him do well. Or adjust his motion to limit the arm damage. Or be a All Star for a couple years. It means that he carries significant risks, more than a lot of other ‘stud’ pitchers in his class(say, Gio Gonzalez for instance). I personally feel, based on what he showed last year, that he’s going to struggle. And since I believe he is going to break down in the next few seasons, I don’t know that he’ll have time to put it all together before he hits that breakdown point. As a result, I see the risk as much higher on the Yanks side than the M’s side.

        But we will see. I’m willing to be wrong. But I don’t see a reason to simply capitulate to the hive mind here when I’ve been calling for the M’s to trade Pineda all summer. I asked for it, they did it, now lets see if what I wanted actually turns out good for them or not.

  8. farvite - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    It appears that the zenith of the Zduriencik-era will have been the acquisition of Cliff Lee.

  9. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    a free agent designated hitter (Johnny Damon?

    Stop, just stop. The guy had a .326OBP last year and can’t play defense. There’s zero reason to sign Damon.

    • The Wizard - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      yeah, defense is a big factor for a DH…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM

        The Yankees have an adding third baseman who can’t stay healthy and an older shortstop who needs rest as well. Unless you plan on benching the dh when those two need a break, it’s good to find someone who can provide a little defensive value if they can’t really hit anymore.

        But nice sarcasm

    • bronxbomber213 - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM

      the short porch in right calls to damon tho..he could
      hit at least 20-22 bombs easy being the DH..maybe 25 so that’s not such a bad move

  10. paperlions - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Interesting trade.

    The Yankees get the more valuable asset, but the Mariners get the more reliable one (at least, the less likely to be injured one).

    What is odd (at least to me) about this deal combined with the Kuroda signing, is that the Yankees best prospects are pitchers….they really don’t have much in the way of position players coming along any time soon….so they must feel that quality pitching is harder to acquire than quality hitting….regardless of the dollars involved.

    Pineda does have arm trouble history…but then…so do a lot of guys that never had any problems after (Clemens had a torn labrum in 1985, never another significant problem)….of concern could be the unsustainable luck Pineda enjoyed at home last year….I wouldn’t look for any repeat performances of a .220 BABIP.

    • Reflex - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:23 PM

      Look at his splits. Its gruesome.

      • The Wizard - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:37 PM

        what are you talking about? his ratios are excellent. what are you looking at? w-l and era? the yankess fleeced the mariners.

      • The Wizard - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM

        assuming they stay healty of course

      • The Wizard - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:52 PM

        assuming they stay healthy of course

  11. okwhitefalcon - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Uh oh..

    Yanks current catcher in walk year with no extension in sight and future catcher traded.

    Did Yadier Molina just become the Yanks 2013 catcher?

    All conspiracy theories aside, I like this deal for the Yanks – alot.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      Yanks have several good catching prospects in the upper minors, and they never really viewed Montero as a catcher. Look at how much time Girardi gave him behind the plate in September, when the games meant nothing to NYY.

  12. uyf1950 - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    I like how poster like to quote stats that suit their needs. For the last year if not longer poster have been saying ERA is one of the worst ways to judge a pitchers performance along with wins. Strikouts and walks to strikouts ratios are a better way. Well guess what take a look at Pineda’s 173/55 in 171 innings. He gave up 18 HR’s in Seattle so say he gives up 25 to 27 in Yankees stadium so what. With the Yankees offense and bullpen he should win 18 games. And who’s he going to bump out of the rotation AJ Burnett that’s a big loss for the Yankees.

    There is not doubt this is a good deal for the Yankees. Montero in the Yankees system was never going to be anything other then a DH. They obviously had no confidence in him being behind the plate nor did any scout that ever saw him. And he wasn’t going to play 1st base with the Yankees. So he was pigeon holed as a DH in the Yankees system. And in 2 or 3 years. That job is going to be passed on to A-Rod primarily.

    So for whatever real or perceived issues that might possibly come up in the future with Pineda that all the Nostradamus’s on this site see in the future. It’s a very good deal for the Yankees.

    • marinersnate - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:58 AM


      I think the jury might be out on this one for a couple of years. I don’t love this trade but I don’t really hate it either. If this had been a Pineda for Montero trade straight up, than the Yankees win hands down. But I think that you have to look at the secondary pieces.

      Short term, I think the M’s did ok. Noesi will obviously be in the rotation this year and so will Montero’s bat. That is fine. I think it all depends on Campos. If he is a stud pitcher in the Yankees rotation in say three years, then this deal will look pretty horrible for Seattle. And the Yankees actually didn’t give up that much because Montero really had no position. It will take a couple of years to see.

      One good thing may have come out of this. Maybe we can stop all the King Felix to the Yankees for Montero talk.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 14, 2012 at 6:22 AM

        I think you can stop all the King Felix stuff anyway. With both Hamels and Cain scheduled to hit FA next winter. At least as it stands right now. With this trade I see the Yankees making a real push for one of them probably Hamels 1st if they stay on the market.

        I don’t think King Felix is on any Yankees “wish” list right now. For the 2012 season the Yankees starting rotation looks pretty darn good and 2013 it can be even better. Either with the addition of Hamels or Cain like I mentioned or one of the young Yankees arms like Banuelos.

    • henryd3rd - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:58 AM

      Plus the Yankees have Austin Romaine playing behind Russell Martin so they are set at catching for now.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 14, 2012 at 6:24 AM

        henry you are 100% correct. Romine in all likelihood will be the starting catcher for the Yankees in 2013. Then they actually have the kid Sanchez who ever scout says is potentially a lot better both offensively and defensively than Romine. Sanchez should be available in 2 years, the timing is almost perfect.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    I figure they are not dropping garcia, since he is signed to a one-year deal. Hughes and AJ? Hughes may still have some upside, so they could send Nova to the minors for a little while to see what Phil is doing.

    Can they trade AJ for a DH? Adam Dunn? Thome? (that would reunite AJ and Halladay, which worked well before). Mauer? (I kid, I kid!!)

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM

      I think Hughes has one option left, so if they have a glut of starters, put him in AAA and keep him stretched out. Everyone except TB tends to have a starting pitcher injury, call up Hughes.

  14. mdev1987 - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Truth is Montero can’t play defense and can’t play another position. He doesn’t fit anywhere on the yanks. Oh and the one position they’re stacked in the minors is catcher. I know nothing about Pineda other than he had arm issues and a possible ace. At 23 he may be a fly ball pitcher but he’s still learning. Montero is a liability in the field and hit .280 in the minors. Looks like each player loses value on their new teams

  15. mianfr - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Can we just all stop and marvel at how cool this deal is?

    I mean, how often does this really happen? Everyone is far too chicken to do anything these days. And yet in this offseason we’ve seen four good and intriguing pitchers get traded, two of which were to contending teams in a really cool prospect swap.

    I’m just glad this happened.

    And as a Yankee fan, and even as one who thought the world of Montero, I think this is a great trade. I’d have done it for Latos.

    • Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 14, 2012 at 8:15 AM


  16. realgone2 - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Pineda gets hurt mid season and Montero wont hit in that cavernous ball park. Nuff said

  17. sasquash20 - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    What were the Mariners thinking? Its sports people get hurt. But Pineda for Montero? Sorry great deal for the Yankees. It is easier to buy a bat then a potential stud arm. The Mariners could of had a stud 1-2 with Pineda and King Felix for the next decade possibly. Montero couldn’t find a spot on the Yanks.

    • paperlions - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      I’m just gonna guess that the Mariners still have a fabulous trio of pitching prospects (Hultzen, Walker, Paxton) knocking on the door of being MLB ready and that Pineada’s value would never be higher….so they traded from a strength to get a need that they do not have available in their own system.

      I didn’t know anything about Campos until I started reading about him this morning….apparently, he’s far more than just a throw in, he’s young and far from the majors, but has a high ceiling.

  18. diegosegui - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Great trade for Ms (and Yanks). M’s have several excellent arms that are near MLB ready…if not ready now. Offense needed help badly. Why is everyone ripping on Montero being a DH? That’s still 4 at bats every game last time I checked. I believe his rbi’s count the same as a position player. He fills a gaping hole in our lineup and will make those hitting around him better

    • Reflex - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:32 AM

      Yup, and again, people are massively ignoring Pineda’s mechanics, which are not good at all. And again, his road stats are not pretty. The idea that he is going to ‘grow out of’ being a flyball pitcher is pretty interesting too, he’s always been one, do they think the Yanks are going to completely change the way he pitches somehow? He’s too old for that, that needed to be done in the minors already.

      My bet is he is a #3 guy, but in Yankee Stadium I could see him falling apart and ending up in the bullpen. That said Montero may be useless being a right hander in Safeco, but some have said he has power to the opposite field, if true then he’ll be just fine…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:59 AM

        And again, his road stats are not pretty.

        You aren’t an NFL analyst, so constantly repeating this stuff when people show you are wrong won’t make you right.

      • Reflex - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:05 PM

        And your not a MLB analyst. Geez.

        Pineda was slightly worse than league average outside of Safeco. He was worse in the second half. He has a history of arm problems. Does he have upside? Sure. He also has a high risk of flaming out. I absolutely think he was the right guy to deal, especially considering the M’s farm system.

  19. txnative61 - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    Who benefits more remains to be seen, but the Mariners coveted Montero when the Lee trade for Smoak was made. The Yanks were so outraged at the Mariners backing out of that deal in favor of the Rangers the rumor was they would blacklist future trades with the Mariners. Well, Lee again spurned the Yankees in free agency in favor of the Phils for less money, so it seems Lee may have vetoed the Yank trade. For whatever reason, the Yankees have swallowed their anger and are again dealing with the Mariners. It was silly at the time, but if they had seriously attempted revenge for a blown business deal, would have been ridiculous.

  20. bigleagues - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:31 AM

    In a word . . . brutal.

    I am your bitch Brian Cashman (heard under Cherington’s breath last night upon hearing about the deal).

    • henryd3rd - Jan 14, 2012 at 6:05 AM

      Cherington? Who’s Cherington? Oh yeah he’s suppose to be the Sox GM. Uncle Larry is making the calls there and since Theo left no one wants to stick their necks out and take any chances. Nice going offering Jason Veritek that minor league contract. I am sure that will strengthen the Sox

  21. Ari Collins - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Very nice move for the Yankees. Pitchers are riskier propositions than hitters generally, but Pineda’s got a year of proven excellence and fits their needs a lot better.

    • wlschneider09 - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Bingo. This was about relative needs for each team. The players are too young to pick winners and losers right now, we won’t be able to judge for years, but you can’t argue with the motivation because each team is looking to fill holes in their depth chart.

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