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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Goldman: The Montero-Pineda Trade: Rotation Upgrade at a Sustainable Cost

Or as Barnald points out…“But this is the part of the upgrade that scares me!”

Pineda’s fastball sits around 95 and goes higher, and he has a swing-and-miss slider to go with it. There is also a changeup, but it’s notional and—well, you know all of this stuff if you’ve been on line at all today. Here are the negatives you’re going to hear about:

• He dominated right-handed hitters, but the lack of a good change means that lefties hit, well, still not well, but better.
• His ERA was 2.92 in pitcher-friendly Safeco, 4.40 on the road.
• His first-half ERA was 3.03, his second-half ERA was 5.12.
• He has fly-ball tendencies, which is a problem in Yankee Stadium.
• Batters hit .261 on balls in play, and such things don’t last.
• They could have gotten Cliff Lee or Felix Hernandez for him.
• He could get hurt.
• He cost the Yankees Jesus Montero, a very fine young hitter.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2012 at 09:24 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners, projections, sabermetrics, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. UCCF Posted: January 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4036972)
• They could have gotten Cliff Lee or Felix Hernandez for him.

It would be funny if the Yankees turned around and put a package with Pineda to get Hernandez.
   2. Darren Posted: January 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4036974)
Could they really have gotten those guys? And how much more than just Montero would it have taken?
   3. Repoz Posted: January 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4036975)
Could they really have gotten those guys? And how much more than just Montero would it have taken?


Heyman tweeted last night...

"#yankees tried for #felix before acquiring pineda. #mariners wouldnt budge. #yanks woulda offered montero/banuelos/betances/etc./etc"
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4036986)
I love Felix, but I would much rather have Pineda/Montero/Banuelos/Betances/Campos than Felix/Noesi. Especially since the Mariners don't look particularly close to competing.
   5. APNY Posted: January 14, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4036991)
Sherman said Nova was also on the table for Felix, M's could of had 3 of Montero/Banuelos/Bentaces/Nova.
   6. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4036993)
So even with Nova is was still a no go? Interesting.
   7. rr Posted: January 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4037003)
This is one of the more interesting trades in awhile. When was the last time two high-profile young talents like this were exchanged? I am sure it has happened in the last 3-4 years but I don't recall it. The recent Cincinnati/San Diego deal is a little bit like this, I suppose.
   8. Lassus Posted: January 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4037006)
Volquez/Hamilton?
   9. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: January 14, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4037016)
Garza/Young?
   10. Tripon Posted: January 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4037030)
Even with Nova, hah. Ivan Nova isn't anyone's idea of something special.
   11. rr Posted: January 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4037031)
True, but these guys don't have MLB track records quite as long as those guys did, IIRC.
   12. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: January 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4037040)
What decides if this trade ends up being palatable or not is simply how good/great does Montero become? If Montero becomes a superstar, which many baseball people believe is possible, then this trade is a bust for NY and it's fans.
   13. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4037049)
What decides if this trade ends up being palatable or not is simply how good/great does Montero become? If Montero becomes a superstar, which many baseball people believe is possible, then this trade is a bust for NY and it's fans.


Many people believe it's possible for Pineda to become an ace-level starter. If both players reach their full potentials seems like the deal won't be a bust for anyone.
   14. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 14, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4037057)
"sustainable cost? Do the Yankees have a farm somewhere where they grow Monteros in a controlled environment?
   15. Jick Posted: January 14, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4037059)
So even with Nova is was still a no go?


Nice one.
   16. Tripon Posted: January 14, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4037060)
No, but two of their top prospects (Austin Romine, and Gary Sanchez, C) are also catchers. And Russell Martin can probably be signed to an extension for the next couple of years.
   17. Steve N Posted: January 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4037082)
A stray thought. Could this mean that they will bring back Posada as a platoon DH?
   18. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4037087)
"sustainable cost? Do the Yankees have a farm somewhere where they grow Monteros in a controlled environment?
In addition to the meaning that you've thought of, "sustainable" can mean "bearable" or "withstandable".
   19. APNY Posted: January 14, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4037095)
Do the Yankees have a farm somewhere where they grow Monteros in a controlled environment?

Sanchez was much better than Montero as a 17 yr old; as an 18 year old Montero showed much better contact skills but Sanchez kills him in power and BB rate. So maybe they do.
   20. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 14, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4037099)
"sustainable cost? Do the Yankees have a farm somewhere where they grow Monteros in a controlled environment?


Jesus: "In my father's house are many Monteros."
   21. Ephus Posted: January 14, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4037169)
If Jesus Montero were an option at catcher, I would not like this trade. The Yankeess have shown that they will not play Montero at catcher. Given the fact that they were willing to live with Posada's (substandard) defense for the last decade, I do not think that the Mariners will find Montero to be an acceptable catcher either. As a pure right-handed hitter, I do not think that Montero is going to be anything special. He may have a couple of all-star seasons, but if Montero turns out to be Gregg Jeffries, I will not miss him.
   22. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 14, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4037193)
"sustainable cost? Do the Yankees have a farm somewhere where they grow Monteros in a controlled environment?
Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy...
   23. cmd600 Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4037365)
if Montero turns out to be Gregg Jeffries


Really? Montero turned from Miguel Cabrera to Carlos Delgado to Gregg Jeffries pretty quickly in the eyes of Yankee fans.
   24. The District Attorney Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4037369)
Well, now some Mariners fans have suddenly discovered that Pineda is likely to get hurt. That's just the way it always goes. The fanbases have generally been very non-fanboyish about this, I think.

(I hope the poster does realize that Gregg Jefferies was a switch-hitter. Not that I think that which side a batter bats from is crucially important, but he seems to.)
   25. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4037383)
Really? Montero turned from Miguel Cabrera to Carlos Delgado to Gregg Jeffries pretty quickly in the eyes of Yankee fans.

Next stop, Wily Mo!

EDIT: And Gregg Jeffries? Even Wily Mo is a better comp than Gregg Jeffries. At least go for Richie Sexson or Steve Balboni or something equally uninspiring.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4037389)
What decides if this trade ends up being palatable or not is simply how good/great does Montero become? If Montero becomes a superstar, which many baseball people believe is possible, then this trade is a bust for NY and it's fans.

Many people believe it's possible for Pineda to become an ace-level starter. If both players reach their full potentials seems like the deal won't be a bust for anyone.

Or Campos becomes an ace.
   27. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4037408)
Sanchez was much better than Montero as a 17 yr old; as an 18 year old Montero showed much better contact skills but Sanchez kills him in power and BB rate. So maybe they do.

This is a much bigger deal than you seem to be making it.

Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy...

Are you implying that any of these guys are the quality of prospect Montero is/was?
   28. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: January 15, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4037417)
I think the correct question was "What do those catching prospects have to do with replacing Montero?"
   29. Ephus Posted: January 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM (#4037659)
I made the comparison Montero to Jeffries because I lived through the hype for each coming up in New York. In 1988, you would have thought that Jeffries was going to be the player that Derek Jeter turned out to be (Now that should get some responses).
   30. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4037723)
Geez, a guy goes away for a few days with the in-laws and misses the whole dang hubbub.


Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy...

Are you implying that any of these guys are the quality of prospect Montero is/was
?


Nah, Montero was a megaprospect, none of those three guys have anywhere near the hype or reviews.

Still, I think the Yankees are making a smart move with this trade. Obviously one tweaked elbow and the whole facade can come crumbling down in a heartbeat but it seems like a worthwhile gamble.

Ignoring any speculation about Montero's sustainability behind the plate, the Yankees certainly seem happy with Russell Martin. He wasn't awful offensively and even if the team doesn't fully buy in to Marchi's HB Times work on pitch framing I think it's fair to say the team acknowledges Martin's defensive abilities and the Yankee staff seems to like throwing to him. Further, I think it's fair to say Yankee pitchers as a whole outperformed expectations in 2011. If Mr. Cashman thinks it's worth sacrificing some offense, or even a heap of offense just to take the stress off the pitching staff for a couple of years, he's in a better position to deal his top catching prospect and address another area of perceived need than most GM's.

I don't think any of Austine Romine, Gary Sanchez, or JR Murphy will hit as well as Jesus Montero in the majors but I think it'd be a solid bet to predict at least one of the three will develop into an above-average major-league catcher in the next 3 or 4 years. Baseball America has the trio as 8th, 4th, and 9th-best in a decent Yankee system respectively; there are no guarantees in talent development and health but the Yankees are dealing from a position of depth at catcher. And of course, we're not even considering the possibility that Montero ends up not being a viable option and must be moved to DH or 1B, positions the Yankees probably feel more confident addressing through the market.

I think Montero is going to hit a ton wherever he ends up on the field, but adding a big, hard-throwing young pitcher like Michael Pineda to the rotation has to be considered a huge benefit to the Yankees both on the field where he projects to a strong #2 or #3 power starter, and on the payroll, where he'll (again, assuming health) be an inexpensive contributor in the Yankees march to <$189 million in 2014. Given the apparently serious effort the team appears to be making towards that goal, you can't fault Mr. Cashman for renouncing Jesus and dreaming of a rotation featuring an expensive Sabathia backed by an affordable and talented supporting rotation of Pineda, Ivan Nova, and some winnowed combination of Phillip Hughes, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, David Phelps, Adam Warren, or another arm from the farm (perhaps even Jose Campos).

Speaking of Campos, I hope Mariners fans aren't underselling the potential of Hector Noesi coming their way. I think Noesi will be a better-than-league-average starting pitcher in the very near future. I think the Yankees had a good bit of confidence in Noesi's ability to contribute to the 2012 team and that if the Mariners were willing to accept a non-Banuelos/Betances pitcher in his place the Yankees would certainly have preferred that option. Noesi has a live fastball and a good changeup, I'll wager he'll give the Mariners very good value as soon as this season.

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