When the Yankees traded Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Pineda, people were questioning who had won the trade before either player took the field for their respective teams. There was a bit of risk on both sides–Jesus Montero was still a young kid who’s impact on the game was questionable while Michael Pineda was a young rising superstar with a history of injuries.
There were times when the trade didn’t look good for either team; Montero arrived to camp overweight and was all but labeled a disappointment by the Mariners organization while Pineda also came to camp overweight, injured his elbow and was caught using pine tar. However, Pineda turned it around and soon became the dominant force the Yankees had hoped for when they traded for him. After yesterday’s game, where Pineda racked up 16 strikeouts against a powerful Baltimore Orioles team, it became quite clear the Yankees won the trade.
“I’m a happy guy, I’m always smiling,” Pineda said following the game. “Especially when you have a game like (yesterday), your heart is happy. Your family sees you. Everything is happy. I’m happy.”
So while Pineda was racking up strikeouts in the Majors, what was Jesus Montero doing yesterday? Well, he hit a home-run…in Triple-A. Montero hasn’t developed the way the Mariners had hoped, but anyone who closely followed the Pineda/Montero trade dating back to a few years ago would love to be on the Yankees side. Pineda is still injury prone and he’s still young, but he’s proven he could be a legitimate ace of the staff, a role that has been bouncing around for the past two seasons.
“I think you have a time to reflect about what you’re doing and who you are when you’re not in the midst of a season, and you’re in the midst of fighting to keep your career going because of an injury,” Joe Girardi said. “I think you have time to reflect. And he was young. A lot of those guys (should be) maybe just a year out of college when we got them, or still in college, and I know I wasn’t the wisest person at that age either. Not that I am now either, but I had some growing up to do, and I think that’s what you’ve seen. You’ve seen him mature.”
“I’m really grown up in the last couple years,” Pineda added. “A little thing happened with me. I love playing baseball, and I love baseball, so I want to continue to play my career. Everything that happened with me, is in the past. I’m getting older too, I’m a better person and a better man.”