Once the initial shock of the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero wore off most fans understood the inherent risk involved, but liked that the Yankees upgraded their rotation, a weakness at the time, from an area of strength. Even on this site, only one regular reader spoke out against the trade even as other more pessimistic commentors liked the deal (here is the initial reaction piece).
Nobody was especially happy to give up Montero, but most fans realized his potential was limited as the presence of Russell Martin meant that he was more likely to end up as a DH with the Yankees and the Yankees needed that spot open for the likes of the aging Alex Rodriguez and other veterans.
It indeed did look like a great win-win type of trade for both teams involved at first and it was only months later when Andy Pettitte unexpectedly came out of retirement and Austin Romine came down with a back injury that anybody really openly questioned the trade.
Now the trade obviously looks bad. Pineda is done for a full year at a minimum and realistically may never be the same pitcher he once was. It is very likely that there is no chance that the Yankees will come out as “winners” in this deal. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that at the time this was a good deal. The Yankees needed to upgrade their pitching and were trying to do so while still being able to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014 and this trade helped them do both at the same time.
“The deal we did I would do that 10 times out of 10,” Cashman told Joel Sherman of the NY Post. “Pitchers are risky. I knew that going in, but trying to find quality pitching is difficult. So my regret is [Pineda] went down, my regret is that we did not get his production, but I will not regret how we went about our business.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance,” he added. “I can’t run and hide from it. This was my decision. Whatever comes from that, comes from that. I know we were very detailed and thorough. We had a physical in this process with X-rays and an MRI [exam]. This guy was clean. This guy was healthy. This is something that happened on our watch.”
The truth is that things like this happen. They can happen to any pitcher. It’s just part of the game. Hindsight is 20/20, but the Yankees did what they thought was best for the team at the time and nothing that has happened after that changes a thing. Sure, it ended up being a bad trade for them, but there is potential for that to happen in practically every deal.
This is not the Yankees fault, it’s not the Mariners fault, it’s just something that happens. At this point the only thing that we as Yankees fans can hope for is that Pineda is one of the rare cases where he pitches as well after shoulder surgery as he did before it and that Jose Campos turns into a real stud.