Mariners Insider

Pineda to New York for catcher Jesus Montero?

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Jan. 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm with 39 Comments »
January 13, 2012 6:09 pm
Michael Pineda

Looking for a bat to drop into the heart of their lineup, the Seattle Mariners have apparently made a blockbuster trade – pitcher Michael Pineda for New York Yankees rookie catcher Jesus Montero.

Neither team would confirm or deny the reported deal, which likely  included secondary players from both teams.

If true – and reports surfaced from a handful of sources all afternoon – the Mariners have given up a hard-throwing young starting pitcher for a 22-year-old right-handed hitting Venezuelan with 61 big-league at-bats. After dominating throughout the minor leagues, Montero hit .328 with four doubles, four home runs, 12 RBI and 17 strikeouts in those at-bats.

Pineda, 22, went 9-10 with a 3.74 earned run average last season in 28 starts, striking out 173 batters in 171 innings.

Montero was the bait New York dangled in the summer of 2010 when Seattle was about to trade pitcher Cliff Lee. Eventually, the Mariners sent Lee to Texas for a package that included Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke, instead.

The trade comes in the final year of catcher Miguel Olivo’s contract, so Montero could share duties behind the plate while serving as a designated hitter or win the job outright in spring training.

It was made possible by the young pitching depth in the Seattle system – starting pitchers Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, among others. Still, Pineda was expected to open the 2012 season as the No. 2 starter on the staff behind Felix Hernandez.

The second Yankee player involved in the deal could be 24-year-old right-hander Hector Noesi . who went 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games with New York a year ago. The rumored second Mariners pitcher involved was Class A prospect Jose Campos,  a 19-year-old right-hander who went 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA

The deal breaks an off-season of small moves for the Mariners, who added a backup catcher, left-handed reliever and, last week, Japanese starting pitcher Hishshi Iwakuma. Their rotation now will come from Felix, Iwakuma, Jason Vargas, Charlie Furbush, Noesi,  Beavan and Hultzen.

How to rate the deal? A year ago, Baseball American listed Montero has the No. 11 big-league prospect – with Pineda ranked No. 13.

Last in the Amerian League the past two seasons in runs scored, the Mariners appear to have landed a productive bat for one of baseball’s younger lineups, one that will include Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Smoak and could have Kyle Seager or rookie Alex Liddi.

Confirmation, at least from the Mariners, won’t come until all players involved take and pass physicals, which likely won’t be until after the weekend.

Leave a comment Comments → 39
  1. Had to do something right? Will miss Pineda but when you have a lot of pitching and little hitting you have to make the move.

    Hate making a trade with the Yankees though….

  2. flyingdutchman says:

    Better than within the division

  3. family_man says:

    Love the trade – sad to see Pineda go – he’s going to be great, but we needed a bat. I do agree though – I hate sending such a good arm to the Yanks.

  4. While I like Montero, I have a HUGE problem with this trade, & I think it’s time to fire Jack Z as a result.

    “Montero was the bait New York dangled in the summer of 2010 when Seattle was about to trade pitcher Cliff Lee. Eventually, the Mariners sent Lee to Texas for a package that included Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke, instead.”

    We ended up trading our 2nd best starter Pineda, for Smoak & Beaven.

    Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

    I want Jack Z fired yesterday.

    He has also now almost totally gutted the pitching staff: trading Pineda, Fister & Bedard with no known attempt to extend Bedard.

    Right now our starters are Felix, the Japanese pitcher who will HOPEFULLY come back from injury & HOPEFULLY be MLB capable; + several bad jokes & kids not yet ready for the big leagues. A year ago the pitching was our strength. Now we have NO strength.

    Again, I’m pleased about Montero, but very unhappy about trading Pineda for Smoak, Lueke & Beaven.

  5. Rainierdad says:

    Fire Z over this? Now THAT is insanity. It’s because of Z that we were even able to make this trade. The object of trading is to better yourself, and to deal from a position of strength. Pitching is DEF our strength. Take a deep breath, look at it later. The trade is not that bad.

    I too over reacted and HATED the trade. But the more I look at it, the more I like it. Would I have rather traded with someone other then the Yankmees? Of course. However, I like the move, now that I have had time to think about it.

  6. My main point is if we had traded Lee for Montero AS WE COULD HAVE, we would either still have Pineda AND MONTERO, or we could have at least traded Pineda for another important piece, rather than as a make up for Jack’s last mistake.

    Again, the way I look at it we traded Pineda for Smoak, Beaven & Lueke; 3 mediocre players.

  7. longco44 says:

    We ended up trading our 2nd best starter Pineda, for Smoak & Beaven.

    Again, I’m pleased about Montero, but very unhappy about trading Pineda for Smoak, Lueke & Beaven.

    Moo…. Can you make sense out of this please? Because I don’t follow your thinking!

  8. longco44 says:

    Sorry, that last statement you made cleared it up! Didn’t see it prior to my post!

  9. Hersey33 says:

    @longco44 – What Moo is trying to say is that because we could have got Montero for Lee but got Smoak, Lueke & Beaven and than traded away Pineda for Montero a year later that we basically traded Pineda for Smoak, Lueke & Beaven. It is very flawed logic in my opinion and kind of like how someone says, well I slept with her, and you slept her technically we slept together.

    As for this trade, I think this is one that only time will tell if it was a good trade or not.

  10. No such thing as a right handed power hitter at Safeco.

  11. Chris1976 says:

    Well we know how that whole Ken Phelps to the Yankees for some chump named Jay Buhner thing worked out. Boy did we get screwed on that deal. We won’t know how this works out for 2-3 years minimum. You’ve got a young right handed (hit for average and some power) hitter now that might be your DH for the next 10 years. Kind of reminds me of that Martinez guy we used to have…what was his first name? (Not Tino)

  12. Candyman says:

    How in the world could anybody think this Is a good trade, oh yeah the Yankees do. A #2 all star pitcher for a catching prospect? Maybe nintendo does so well the owners need a write off, i have wrote them off and we havnt thrown a damn pitch.

  13. Let’s see. We won what, 67 games last year with all of our great pitching? We need hitting. Let’s hope Montero can catch so he can play regularly at that position. I think he will hit big league pitching. Can’t be worse than what we have had there recently.

  14. From ESPN New York,

    “First, it was Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi being shipped to Seattle, maybe not for King Felix Hernandez, but for someone who might turn out to be even better, Michael Pineda, a 6-foot-7, 22-year-old right-hander — he will turn 23 on Wednesday — who was a serious Rookie of the Year contender in 2011.”


    “Obviously, the Yankees think Pineda is special, even if the second half of his rookie season was not nearly as good as his first half (3.03 ERA prior to the All-Star break, 5.12 afterward), and he no doubt benefited from the vast expanses of Safeco Field.

    But on the flip side, he also pitched for a team with an anemic offense (just 556 runs scored; the Yankees scored 867, the second highest in baseball) and despite his second-half struggles, maintained his strikeout-per-inning pace and finished in the AL’s top 10 in strikeouts per nine innings (second), hits per nine innings (fifth) and WHIP (eighth). Clearly, this is a better pitcher than his 9-10 record would indicate and he could be an important part of the Yankees rotation for many years to come.

    And trading Montero for him is pretty much an admission by the Yankees that they thought Montero would never develop into an everyday catcher. In 18 games last September, Montero hit .328 and showed the kind of opposite-field power that makes GMs drool. If the guy could catch, he’d be another Bill Dickey, an untouchable. Obviously, the Yankees thought he couldn’t. And if there’s one thing the Yankees have in abundance, it’s DHs, and DHs in waiting.”

  15. I think this is an interesting trade, on multiple levels.

    First off, Pineda had an outstanding rookie season, and it is reasonable to assume that he has a bright future ahead of him. However, he does have some history of arm issues…

    Montero is a legitimate middle-of-the-lineup type of prospect. Good numbers throughout the minors, and hit well as a late season call up last year (although the K’s are a bit of a concern).

    This trade probably makes the M’s offense 50 runs or so better in 2012. If Ackley, Smoak, and Seagar can show improvement (not a stretch to believe that), that should add another 30 or so runs. A full season of Carp should add 20 or so, and a healthy Guti is probably worth another 20. That’s 120 run improvement over last season right there folks. I like it.

    New projected lineup:

    1) Ichiro – RF
    2) Ackley – 2B
    3) Carp – LF
    4) Montero – DH
    5) Smoak – 1B
    6) Guti – CF
    7) Seagar – 3B
    8) Olivo/Jaso – C
    9) Ryan – SS

    While that doesn’t quite look like the lineups that the Yankees, Red Sox, or Rangers are going to run out there every day, it is a LOT better than the opening day lineup the M’s had in 2011.

    Also, this gives us some insight into just how highly Z thinks of Hultzen and Paxton and their ability to be ML-ready sooner rather than later.

  16. Woops, that’s 8 and not a damn smiley face

  17. Rainierdad says:

    Way to put it Hershey…

    Sorry Moo, I get the point that you are trying to make. However, who’s to say they don’t trade Pineda for someone else? Would you have rather they trade Felix? Yes, we got rid of a REALLY good, young, stud pitcher. However, we also got a stud, young hitter in return.

  18. flyingdutchman says:

    If you look at highlights of Montero, you will see two of his HRs are to right field. This is a man who can hit powerfully to right, left, and center. Moo makes absolutely no sense.

  19. Re Coach’s lineup: If Smoak washes out (as I expect he will), we can move Carp to 1b & Wells in LF. Or maybe Wedge can teach Montero to catch & we can use Olivo as the backup he is.

  20. Moo: What is your reasoning for expecting Smoak to wash out?

    Olivo and Jaso will probably platoon this season (and let’s be honest: taking AB’s away from Olivo is a good thing). Montero will serve as the 3rd catcher, which we have seen more and more teams having on their roster. I see Wells being the 4th outfielder, getting a few AB’s at DH (along with Carp and Smoak), and probably 10-15 starts in RF (Ichiro is going to have more off days this year, I guarantee it).

  21. Larry: What else do you see on the horizon as far as roster moves go before Spring Training (or maybe even during)? Do you think they will try to add another veteran SP to the mix? How many roster spots are legitimately wide open? And when are you going to give us a position-by-position breakdown (like the Hawks blog just put up)?

  22. Next move! Move the damn fences in at Safeco!!!!!!!!!!! At least in left field. We will never be a very good power hitting team or lure good hitters here until we do!

  23. Misunderestimated says:

    If only we had bundled Figgins in that deal somehow…

  24. imjtaylor79 says:

    I hate to see Pineda go, but only time will tell if Jack Z is a moron like so many commenters think, or a man building a solid foundation for a great team. I highly doubt the Mariners will come close to contending this year, but I’m excited to find out which young guys will step up and which will flame out. I’m still optimistic that Smoak, Carp, Ackley, and Montero will turn into the players that Jack Z thinks they will. They’d better. Adam Moore should be the only one really bummed out.

  25. rogerelmore says:

    I hate making any deal with the Yankees but it was a necessary evil. Only time will tell who got the better deal. Anyone remember the cant miss prospect Russ Davis? Tino and Jeff Nelson for Davis and Sterling Hitchcock. Tino and Nelson were cornerstones for the Yankees championships and we look like their farm team.

  26. wabubba67 says:

    I am usually a proponent of Jack Z., but I can’t support this deal.

    If essentially a rent a player (Lee) was worth Montero to the Yankees, it stands to reason that a 23 year old flame thrower under club control for the forseeable future would be worth MUCH more.

    Pineda is the best pitching prospect that I have ever seen! If you were to ask God to physically make a pitcher you would end up with a guy about 6’7″, with amazingly huge hands, broad shoulders, long legs, and a big ass (legs and gluts take pressure off of the arm). Pineda throws the easiest 100 mph fastball…he appears to almost be playing catch…AND he’s not even in his physical prime. Couple the physical with the mental makeup (essential for a pitcher, especially) and he is off the charts. A late developing kid, Pineda has always thought that he must work harder than everyone else to succeed…by all accounts he has maintained that attitude to this point in his career. He has also been described as extremely competitive and intelligent.

    All in all, I would have been more pleased if Felix had been the one to go in a trade. He would have brought back more in return and saved the Mariners a little bit of money compared to Pineda. I know that this is predicting a great deal for the young man, but I really do believe that Pineda’s career will soon eclipse Felix’s (and yes, I do realize that Hernandez has one Cy Young award in his column).

  27. wabubba67 says:

    That said, I’ll like this trade much more if Fielder is now part of the plan. Batting some combination of Montero, Smoak and Carp in front of and behind Fielder would make them all better. I would go with this in the middle of the lineup:

    Smoak (switch hitter)

    If that’s the case, we might have something worthwhile after all. If Fielder is not part of the plan….I despise this trade for the reasons listed above.

  28. bigmike04 says:

    I am fan of both team, so I liked fact that NYY got Michael Pineda but let be real people, NYY hype up all their prospect & some turn out to be bust.. Jesus Montero played only 18 games in 2011 & yet is still consider a prospect & Hector Noesi only made 2 start with 2-2 record as he was called up to pitch in bulpen when he was up.. Thought in my opinion I think both guys are decent prospect but Mariners could done better in the traded..

    So I have to ask if both Noesi & Jesus Montero turn out to be bust & Pineda doesn’t will this traded cost Jack Z & ownership their jobs? I do can guarteed this that Michael Pineda will be winning a world series before seattle mariners will ever do..

  29. What I apparently haven’t made clear enough, is that I like getting Montero. Just we should have traded Cliff lee for him, not Pineda.

    My point is that since the Yankees offered Montereo for Lee, the Cliff Lee trade was HORRIBLE, almost as bad as Bavasi’s worst. Jack chose to trade Lee to Texas for 3 weak players.

    Just think, we could have had BOTH Montero AND Pineda.

  30. Larry, a few posts back you asked what we would like to read. I would like to see a complete list of every trade & FA signing Jack Z has made as a Mariner so we can evaluate his competency.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I think there are going to be more busts then booms on that list.

  31. Harry_Anslinger says:

    NO matter how hard I try to sell myself on the idea that Montero and Noesi will better the Mariners someone deftly points out that we could have had Montero for Cliff Lee and still could have Pineda and the opportunity for a Cy Young as a Mariner, not a Yankee. Yes it feels very ‘Bavasi-esque’. Now if Iwakuma is healthy and capable and Hultzen,Paxton, and/or Walker can make the show that will help. Most of all it is amazing to think that the Rangers may not have the $$ to sign Fielder AND Yu Darvish which means Prince Fielder is still available.

  32. Misunderestimated says:

    Or we could have traded Felix (and bundled Figgins with him) to the Yankees for Montero, Nova, and a couple of prospects.
    This would have freed up some $25 million in payroll and put us in the Fielder chase.

  33. I would take Felix over Fielder any day if that choice was necessary.

    With the $’s ownership has made, it should not be necessary.

  34. I really could care less about either team (although the Yankee$ are the team I despise most in MLB) but I think this is a fair trade.

    The risk of injury to starting pitchers is so much more than to a hitter. With a hitter, there really isn’t much of an injury risk involved. Sure, he could get hit in the head or something crazy could happen, but hitters are relatively safe in comparison to pitchers.

    Maybe Pineda has a little more upside, but he’s also more of a risk too.

    What little I’ve seen/read of Montero, he’s probably not going to catch a whole lot so even though catchers get the crap kicked out of them too, he probably won’t be there a whole lot (I don’t think he should be). I’ve seen him swing it a few times and he looks legit.

  35. jchawks08 says:

    Man, the Seahawk insider posters should probably just stay off the Marniners’ boards.. Yes, this means you, Moo.
    I was keeping track of all of the idiotic points you were attempting to make, but I lost count, and just decided to not read anything you typed any longer.
    Great trade, Jack Z.. The peeps that don’t understand that now, soon will.

  36. footballscaa says:

    We can all overthink this trade until April, how ever the truth remains. No free agent hitter is going to come to Safeco field to watch their career HR average drop like a rock. The solution? 1) Move the fences in. NO. Safeco currently make average pitching great pitching and great pitching, unhittable. 2) The hitter are groomed in the minors and brought up. Well, most of those hitters are with the the club now. 3) Trade for a player with options and little service time and see what happens. Through wise trading and mionr league signings the M’s have a bunch of good pitchers (great at Safeco) so use the talent wisely, and build the club by the only means possible. Mix and match. Good trade.

  37. I see the arguments on both sides, so I guess only time will tell. Still, can’t get over that I have exactly the same feeling in my gut as when I heard we traded Adam Jones. Great pitching is so hard to come by. It costs a lot and is high risk to sign on the open market. When something like that comes up through your farm system, I think you only let go if you get a fabulous offer that is clearly tilted in your direction and is motivated by desperation on the other team. This doesn’t meet that definition.

    If Montero was a great defensive catcher to go with his hitting skills, I might feel different, but it sounds like we traded MP for a DH.

    For a sickening perspective, read the NY media on this. They LOVE this trade.

  38. jchawks08, I kinda sorta think you’re a jerk also. I was one of the original posters on this blog for what little that’s worth.

  39. Misunderestimated says:

    With the current payroll limitations, it would appear to have made more sense to have bundled Felix and Figgins.
    I like Montero and I like what he potentially brings to our lineup.
    I do not understand trading a young pitcher that we have locked in for the next four years at $500K per year, when we had the potential to dump some $30 Million in payroll for the same Montero plus potentially Ivan Nova and Noesi.
    That $30 Million would have opened up lots of additional options for Jack, including adding Fielder.
    Still, with this trade we appear to be much better than last year.
    It is another step forward, but my oh my what could have been…

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