Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats
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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Mariners - Acquired Montero
Seattle Mariners acquire C Jesus Montero for P Michael Pineda and P Jose Campos
ZiPS projected Montero at .271/.333/.486 in Yankee Stadium. Good enough for a 112 OPS+. He’s going to a much tougher place to hit, so the raw stat line is not going to be nearly as pretty to get the same value. Let’s put it this way. Justin Smoak (a name not chosen at random of course) put up a 104 OPS+ with .234/.323/.396. I like Montero an awful lot but I’d downgrade him a fair amount in anything like a Strat keeper league.
Will he catch? Far from a given even with the Mariners. ZiPS sees Todd Zeile and Mike Sweeney as his most comparable players and neither stayed behind the plate. I see him as unlikely to be an impact player unless he can stick as a catcher. The Mariners are in a position to find out if he really can handle the position and I expect them to do so. His arm isn’t likely to be a deal breaker (he wasn’t awful against the running game in the minors). He appears to have the required agility to handle the position. In other words he’s got at least the minimum level of athleticism to be adequate at the position. He’s unlikely to ever be really good there, but you can live with that if the bat is good enough. ZiPS estimates a roughly 65% chance of his being very good or better (offensively) for a catcher next year.
That said, a word of caution is in order. The way the Yankees have handled him over the last two years makes it pretty clear that they didn’t think he’d be adequate behind the plate. As I say, the Mariners are in a position to find out whether they were wrong.
For the Yankees this is about dealing what they perceive to be surplus talent (Montero has no great value to the Yankees if he is not catching) for a pitcher who rates to be able to step into the rotation and be a big net positive. ZiPS projects a 112 OPS+. He’s got a nice strikeout rate, his control is a little worse than you’d like and his stuff is such that nobody would be shocked if he became an impact player. It’s also not that different that what’s you’d have projected for A. J. Burnett when they signed him (yes, Pineda is younger and much cheaper. I’m talking here about what it would be reasonable to expect on the mound)
You just never know with pitchers. I like Pineda nearly as much as I like Montero and Pineda is a better fit for the Yankees (given that Montero wasn’t going to catch). However David Neid is Pineda’s #3 comp according to ZiPS and somehow I thing the Yankees would be unhappy if that’s how it all works out.
All in all I’d be tempted to make this deal were I running the Yankees even though I seem to be more optimistic that Montero can handle catching than they are. There’s an awful lot to like about Pineda and starting pitching is an obvious need for the Yankees. Which brings us to Jose Campos. He’s an 19 year old suspect of a different kind. He’s figured out the strike zone already, has 30 minor league starts under his belt and gets his share of strikeouts. All I can say about him right now is that I expect success at AA—possibly blowing through the level quickly. The point though is that I have no idea what his ceiling is. It’s certainly possible—if unlikely—that he alone could be worth Montero.
He’s a guy I’d be very happy to add to my organization.
A truly fascinating deal. It’s one that I’d have made if I were running either team. And it’s really a deal that could get either GM fired since every player involved looks to be a high variance player. As you’d expect of players who are basically unfinished.
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