Pineda trade a hard but smart move for the Yankees

The initial shock has worn off and I’m beginning to see the Yankees trade of Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos as a move that certainly comes with a bit of risk, but one that the Yankees had to make.

In dealing for Pineda, the Yankees got a soon to be 23-year-old with ace potential who is under team control for the next five years. That helps them upgrade the rotation and helps to keep them under a $189 million payroll by 2014.

The deal is almost the opposite of the Javier Vazquez trade. Instead of landing a pitcher past his prime that makes a good amount of money while losing Arodys Vizcaino, a low level pitching prospect with a high ceiling, they landed a young pitcher who hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of his talent while also grabbing a young prospect with a high ceiling.

The risks are real, but it isn’t like the Yankees can’t overcome them. If Pineda flops, this will look bad, but realistically the Yankees don’t like Montero as a catcher. They could have used him behind the plate last September when Francisco Cervelli got hurt, but they went out of their way to call up Austin Romine instead. If Montero is seen as strictly a DH, then he is replaceable no matter how good his bat is.

Meanwhile, the Yankees needed to upgrade their rotation. Hiroki Kuroda, whom they signed yesterday, is somewhat an improvement, but a year from now they would just need to replace him anyway and there is no guarantee they will be able to land any of the big name free agents expected to hit the open market next year. Pineda is a long-term solution so they won’t have to keep addressing the same issue year after year.

The Yankees had a very good team last year, but ultimately didn’t have enough to get past the first round. Now they have a pitcher who could fill in behind CC Sabathia as a strong No. 2 and with Kuroda in the fold they also have a marginal upgrade at No. 3 as well.

Pineda could flop. His second half ERA last season was scary, but as one commenter on this site has already pointed out, his second half FIP wasn’t nearly as ugly. His GB% was an ugly 36.3 percent, which could come back to hurt him in Yankee Stadium, but he does well against lefties (limiting the effects of the short porch) and he strikes out a ton. Those strikeouts will help make up for all of the fly balls. So while he certainly could flop (any pitcher could), he has the tools to do very well also.

Like I wrote yesterday, losing Noesi in this deal is no small thing. But the Yankees did have a problem where they viewed him strictly as a starting pitcher. That’s not the problem, the problem is that Brian Cashman said that he was going to start no matter what, even if it were in Triple-A. The problem is that Triple-A has a filled rotation with Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and D.J. Mitchell. Somebody had to move somewhere. In dealing Noesi, the Yankees were dealing from an area of depth, a smart move.

Campos also helps cushion the blow of losing Noesi. Noesi projected as a middle of the rotation type at best. Campos comes with a high ceiling. He will also start lower down in the minors, helping to avoid the Triple-A rotation crunch.

Like I’ve said, it certainly comes with risks. Montero’s bat seems like it has a pretty good chance to make him a memorable player, but the Yankees can replace him, they have had a lot of trouble finding a young starter. So the Montero-for-Pineda portion of the deal makes sense. Noesi was a nice piece to have, but at this point Campos is probably the better option for the Yankees, making that portion of the deal make sense as well.

So it’s a good trade. One that is even better when considering the packages teams gave up for Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez. Realistically, Pineda seems like at least as good an option as either of those two and perhaps even better. Meanwhile the Yankees didn’t have to unload the prospect cabinet to land Pineda. Montero plus Noesi is no small haul for the Mariners, but the Yankees managed to hold on to the Killer B’s and even add a very strong pitching prospect all while upgrading the major league rotation.

Hopefully I don’t have to come back and eat my words, but this looks like a job very well done by Cashman.

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25 Responses to Pineda trade a hard but smart move for the Yankees

  1. Grant says:

    I agree. A DH doesn't equal a number two pitcher any way you slice it. Noesi will be missed, but is essentially a wash in this trade with the AAA depth we have.
    Anyone can fail, but on paper I like this.

  2. NYYJJinATL says:

    Pineda is only 22 YEARS OLD! He hasn't even fully learned his craft yet….and as I mentioned in another thread….as a pitcher, when you know you have absolutely ZERO margin for error because your team can't score….you pitch in a totally different manner. Like every inning is extra innings! He won't have that problem with the Yankees.

    Also, every young pitcher hits the "rookie wall". He had never pitched that many innings before and as a power pitcher, he was gassed!

    This is a big strong kid with a huge arm. I LOVE Montero….but it's a good move by Cashman!

    Can you imagine a rotation of: CC, Hamels, Pineda, Nova and Banulos/Betances next year?? It's possible!

  3. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    No one can know what the future holds and only time will give definitive guidance on whether this was a good deal or not. But before the fact, this is one of those deals that is a win/win for both parties and really does an excellent job of addressing both teams' most urgent needs.

    The Yanks needed a young MLB ready high potential starter and got that in Pineda. They also needed a young high ceiling prospect pitcher (who doesn't) and got that in Campos. The Mariners were desperate for a premier hitter and were even looking at Fielder but got a substantially cheaper option in Montero. They also needed some depth at the rotation with their trade of Pineda and got that in a MLB ready player in Noesi.

    No matter how this trade turns out, on paper, it was a perfect marriage IMO.

  4. John says:

    Ok after my initial OVERREACTION I am coming around on this. I am scared of pineda leaving a pitchers park for ours but Montero will have to deal,with safeco now. Tradeoff. Kuroda is a one year stopgap til Banuelos is ready ok. Fine
    Somebody has to go from the rotation. Who will it be?

  5. Mel says:

    YEAH BABY!!! Finally some moves made to help the once weak rotation. Great move and they still have the young arms waiting in the wings. I think this is a win win for both teams but I'm glad Pineda is on our side now, he's got SICK STUFF!

  6. Tanned Tom says:

    Good analysis Rob. The other factor in all this was A-Rod needing the DH spot soon, so there really wasn't a good fit for Montero on the club. Now Pineda comes with risks, especially injury risks, but that's true of every player. The moves that FOLLOW the Pineda trade and the Kuroda signing will be interesting. The team now needs a 3B more than ever, so I'm guessing Chavez comes back as Laird is in no way an option while his minor league OBP is under .300. The other shoe to drop is which out of Burnett, Garcia, Hughes gets traded? Garcia will be the easiest to move, but moving Burnett makes the most sense. Hughes can be the long relief/spot starter, and Garcia will instantly become one the best #5 starters in all of baseball. I'm looking for Cashman to bite the bullet and pay the lion's share of his salary and trade Burnett to a clueless NL team (Pittsburgh anyone?).

    • ron says:

      Why drop Burnett, Garcia, or Hughes? let them earn a spot in the rotation Pineda and Kuroda as well.
      Back in 2000 I think ,Torre faced the same problem of having to many starters [7] that he wanted to keep in the end he got a WS. The Red Sox [ in my opinion] didn't have any depth last year and in the end thats what did them in.
      The Yanks now have potential SP and RP depth for 2012.

      If they really feel the need to trade AJ who I believe is due a good year then swap him for Alphoz Soriano. Since Chicago is looking to eat part of his salary maybe they could work something out. AJ might fair better with national league hitting and Alphoz could platton with Garner, back up 2B, DH, and maybe 3B .

  7. jerry says:

    It appears to be a great deal for both teams, whats wrong with that . I hope both players end up in the Hall of Fame. Im happy with the present and future of this team. All that young pitching , its incredible, I love Montero , but this is a great deal I applaud Brian Cashman.

  8. John says:

    Pittsburgh can afford AJ. Best we hope to get is a bad contract like Soriano from the Cubs.
    Nobody will take AJs Money

  9. Bronx_Knight says:

    Rob, nice analysis. I also agree with Tanned Tom's comment that trading Montero frees the DH spot up for A-Rod. I would add that Jeter could also use some DH spots. Too bad we don't have a better backup infielder than Nunez …

  10. hotdog says:

    I like the move. I hope that Pineda can deal with NY pressure. Now, can we find another lefty reliever? I heard there's a possibility of Carlos Pena signing with the Yankees to platoon as DH with Jones. Could be interesting for Pena hitting against all righties. His obp against righties last year was 130 points higher than lefties.

    • Mike Sommer says:

      The Yanks did sign a lefty reliever to compete with Logan. They signed Okajima to a minor league deal and will see how he is in Spring Training. Of course, they could use more…

  11. Gonzalo says:

    The problem I see with Pena is that we need more a 3B backup than a 1B or just a DH. Like Bronx Knight said: Too bad we don't have a better backup infielder than Nunez.

    Chavez makes a lot of sense, He could be DH against Right pitchers and a very good ARod backup with Jones being DH against lefties. The problem with him is injuries.

    • hotdog says:

      We do need a decent defensive infielder with a decent obp if possible. I'm concerned about the Yankees getting older and guys like Swisher, Jeter, Arod and Tex declining in productivity. Granderson had a great year and Cano is a steady weapon but I'd like to see the Yankees add guys that can get on base. One of the reasons that I like Bobby Abreu although he was dicey in the outfield at times. Swisher and Tex don't hit righties well. I'm not sure if there's anything to do about that but there's a lot of righties they will face. Good thing that both have decent obp's.

  12. Jeff K says:

    I liked the article, I think its gives a solid analysis of the reasons for making the trade- especially the upside for the Yankees.

  13. David K. says:

    I totally disagree with this, seems like we traded a sure .330 hitter for a pitcher who will absolutely suck. All I can say is I hope Pineda is great but I won't be holding my breath. When he is 5-15 with a 6.50 ERA and Montero is putting up .330/20HR/100RBI, I'll be saying "I told you so". Well, who knows, if Montero goes out there and lays an egg, maybe it won't look so bad.

    • Marc Perez says:

      On what grounds are you making the bold prediction that Pineda will suck? Maybe give one shred of reasoning or evidence before you make such a claim.
      You're talking about a guy who just finished in the top 5 in rookie of the year voting while playing on a shitty team.
      I understand that it's hard to see Montero go, but don't take it out on Pineda. Kid's got the stuff to make it big and he's gonna be proving you wrong for the next 5 years.
      Great trade in my opinion, can't wait to see it play out.

      • David K. says:

        Okay, Pineda only has two pitches, fastball and slider. The rest of the league caught up to him in the second half and he did, in fact, suck in the second half. Power pitcher with only two pitches who doesn't know how to get hitters out. Plus he was pitching in one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball. And he is a fly ball pitcher. He got his butt handed to him by the Red Sox. Check out his stats against other good lineups. I can't believe the number crunchers think this guy is the next Nolan Ryan. He has one year of major league experience. I never buy the shitty team argument either. If you have a losing record for a shitty team, chances are you will have a losing record even pitching for a good team. Overall, I'd say there is more cause for pessimism than optimism. Unless he develops significantly, he won't be a number 2, he might be the next A.J. Burnett.

        • Just for the record, Nolan Ryan never had a K:BB ratio as good as Pineda's was last season. The rest of everything you said is not even worth responding to.

          • David K. says:

            Oh so you think Pineda will be better than Nolan Ryan. You are the eternal optimist. As a Yankee fan I only pray you are right.

          • I'm not saying he will be as good as Nolan Ryan. I'm merely pointing out that this guy strikes out a lot and really doesn't walk that many. I don't like his GB% either, but I think he is good enough with the command that he can compensate.

  14. Michael Pimentel says:

    When was the last time the Yankees acquired a young, fireballer like Pineda? While I love Montero anytime you can get elite pitching for elite hitting I will make that trade every single time. The kid comes with question marks but he is still developing and scouts love him for a reason. Getting Campos is also huge; I have always been a huge fan of Cashman and maybe this trade will help people see that Yankees G.M is not just good at spending money. Pineda, Nova, Hughes, Betances, Banuelos, Campos, Mitchell, Warren, Phelps ect ect. The Yankees have a wealth of pitching. Good job Mr. Cashman.