Who will win the Montero for Pineda trade?

18 Jan

As Jeff Passan pointed out, along with many others, trading young players (prospects in particular) can be dangerous. Some of those players blossom while others fade away into obscurity. When high profile players are involved though, the scrutiny is even higher. That is the case in the Montero for Pineda trade – and don’t forget that Seattle also picked up Hector Noesi who will jump right into Pineda’s vacated slot. It’s not too early to make some observations of the deal and get an idea of who is likely to come out ahead.

Montero can hit. The kid hits a ton. “Jesus Saves” signs will be all over Seattle. Ichiro will have someone to drive him in finally. Montero may be the best hitting prospect in baseball. The problem with Montero is that even though his official position is catcher, he was lower rated in all aspects of that position but hitting than Jorge Posada. It’s fine to love Jorge, but you had to realize when being honest with yourself he was a hitter that caught – not a catcher that hit. Montero is that x2. He doesn’t have the mobility to play the outfield – if he did NY would have held him and made him the incumbent to Swisher next year. He doesn’t have the lateral moves to play first. he is not a mobile guy. His arm is average – good strength but accuracy is a problem. That can improve though.

Montero can safely be slotted to hit 20+ homers this year and drive in 75, slowly escalating until about 2014 when he should explode. That may not sound sexy, but remember where half his games will be played and who is in the lineup around him. Montero is projected as a DH by most scouts. Seattle will try to catch him some, but he is such a valuable bat they can’t risk an injury or the wear and tear catching takes on a body putting him out of the lineup. Add to that, he would regularly require a late inning defensive replacement as a catcher and that is a problem. In Seattle that is fine – in NY it wouldn’t fly. The Mariners get a potentially elite bat – that is a win filling a huge void for them.

Noesi….Noesi is a solid pitcher that was never going to get a fair shot in New York. he has good stuff and could be a solid middle of the rotation guy. He can eat innings and he’s feisty. He’s a gamer. He does need a little time to develop more though. In Seattle that is not an issue. There is less pressure. he can have a stable role. Those are all wins for him and Seattle.

Michael Pineda is a stud in the waiting. He has electric stuff and he is still basically a kid in the world of baseball. He can touch 100mph on the gun and will be filthy once he gets control of his changeup. He’s projected to be a 200 inning guy within 2 years – not that he can’t do it now, but why push? He has swing and miss stuff to the tune of a K/inning. Right away he is their #3 starter. He is a nasty guy to face in a short series behind Sabathia and Kuroda. Don’t let his record in Seattle fool you – the guy got zilch for run support. They did nothing for him at the plate or in the field. With the Yankees, that is like giving him 4 more wins.

The Yankees get their staff younger. they become less dependent on the erratic Burnett. they are as well insulated against an injury to a starting pitcher as any team in baseball. It also gives the killer B’s more time to develop. Signing Kuroda made the Yankees a near lock to take 1st or 2nd in the AL East. Adding Pineda to that mix made them early WS favorites.

The Yankees are the early winners. Pineda is the piece that makes them match up with any team in a short series. That was what they were missing last year. The #3 starter is a huge piece of the puzzle to winning. If Pineda stays healthy and handles NY pressure, he is a potential Ace. Seattle gets a big bat and some good PR for landing the top prospect in baseball. They likely won’t keep him forever though – he has trade value. The problem is that by the time they trade him, Montero will be most likely known as a great DH only and that will make it tougher to get big pieces back for him – he is not an NL player. Only time will tell, and as hard as it is to see Montero go for Yankee fans, it was the best thing for the tram – and likely Montero as well.

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