Friday, January 13, 2012

Mariners make bold move; Trade Pineda to Yankees for Montero

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners finally made a move to help their weak offense and it was a big move indeed. No the Mariners didn't sign Prince Fielder instead Jack Zduriencik traded all-star pitcher Michael Pineda and the organizations #5 prospect pitcher Jose Campos to the New York Yankees for the #3 prospect in all of baseball catcher/DH Jesus Montero and their organizations #7 prospect pitcher Hector Noesi.  This was the type of risky move that several people including myself begged Zduriencik to pull off. Well Jack Z did just that trading an organizational strength(pitching) for a weakness(hitting). The Mariners traded away a 23 year old pitcher who has already made the all-star team for a guy with limited at bats in the major leagues plus gave up one of their top pitching prospects in return. Still this is the type of bold move that championship teams make and Jack Z has just shoved his chips into the center of the poker table for the first time in his career.

The Mariners acquired Jesus Montero and  Hector Noesi from the Yankees. What the Mariners have in Montero is a 22 year old catcher who will most likely be a DH. In 2010 he was regarded as the fourth best prospect in baseball and in 2011 he was rated as the third best. Montero this year in a September call up with the Yankees in 69 plate appearances hit .328/.408/.590 while hitting four home runs and driving in 12 runs as he also scored nine runs. In the minor leagues in 2,038 plate appearances Montero hit .308/.366/.501 with 76 home runs, 318 RBI's, and 262 runs scored. He also had 118 doubles. The guy can flat out mash the ball and brings a much needed power right handed bat to the Mariners. He isn't just a power hitter as you can see he is a good hitter who is compared to Miguel Caberra. The Mariners also acquired the 25 year old pitcher Hector Noesi who last year with the New York Yankees in 30 games including two starts went 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. In his minor league career Noesi has appeared in 84 games with 64 starts went 25-15 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 365 strikeouts in 377.2 innings. He will be competing for a spot in the Mariners rotation especially with the departure of Pineda.

The Mariners are taking a big chance by trading away 23 year old Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. The Mariners are trading away Pineda a pitcher who finished fifth in the rookie of the year voting and made the all-star team last year. He was also the 16th best prospect heading into the 2011 season. Last season Pineda in 28 starts went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 171 innings pitched. In his minor league career Pineda in 86 games, 71 of which he started he went 31-14 with a 2.49 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 396 strikeouts in 404.1 innings. Prior to this season his career high for innings pitched in a season was 139.1 innings as he was injury prone. Still the Yankees acquired an ace of the future who is already a proven Major League all-star plus acquired another pitcher who most scouts are high on. is pitcher Jose Campos who is only 19 years old. Campos in 40 appearances, 30 of which he started has a 14-10 record with a 3.26 ERA, 1.17 WHP and 167 strikeouts in 171.1 innings pitched. The Mariners gave up a lot for Montero a player which they almost acquired two years ago.

Two years ago when the Mariners fell out hopelessly out of contention Zduriencik had a big trade chip in Cliff Lee. Instead of dealing Lee to the Yankees he chose to deal him to the Texas Rangers for Justin Smoak. So far the return on Smoak hasn't been what fans had hoped for. Smoak who in 2010 was 13th best prospect is now 25 years old. So far in Seattle in 611 plate appearances Smoak has hit .235/.316/.398 with only 20 home runs and 69 RBI's. Had the Mariners simply acquired Montero then they wouldn't have had to deal Pineda plus Campos now. Smoak to date has been a bust for the Mariners but if he can be that player he was in the Minor leagues where he hit .283/.401/.458 with 24 HR's and 93 RBI's in 773 plate appearances the Mariners would take that. The facts are Smoak hasn't even had 2,000 plate appearances in his professional career so the book is still out on him. Either way this trade today and Smoak's developement will be Jack Z's legacy in Seattle.

In conclusion, I love the fact that Jack Z is taking a risk here. This isn't your normal Jack Z trade where is trading a pile of garbage for a less than pile of garbage. This is a big time move that can make Zduriencik a legend in Seattle or a failure in Seattle. Prior to this trade Jack Z was like a game manager QB a guy who made no real mistakes but also made no significant big plays. This trade he is putting himself out there. Fans such as myself have been screaming all offseason to make a big move, to acquire a big bat. Now Zduriencik makes this move and a lot of those same fans are now bashing him as well as his usual supporters. The great thing about sports is nobody knows what any of these four players and Justin Smoak will turn out to be. Heading into the 2008 season the Texas Rangers who had taken last place basically every year since 2000 made a bold move. They traded their top pitching prospect and future all-star Edison Volquez for a guy who waas a former drug addict and had played just one season in the Major leagues.That player was Josh Hamilton and the Rangers have been to two straight World Series. Risks need to be made in sports sometimes. Without risk there is no reward. This trade could turn out to be legendary for the Mariners or this trade like many in the past will come back to haunt us. I'm just glad that Zduriencik finally had the balls to make a big time move like this. I'm also confident when the dust settles the Mariners not the Yankees will win this trade.

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