Michael Pineda Rumors
Alex Anthopoulos hinted last night that some young Blue Jays drew trade interest this offseason, and Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail has the details on some talks that never materialized. The Blue Jays and Mariners discussed Michael Pineda, but the Blue Jays balked when the Mariners wanted Brett Lawrie in return for the right-hander, according to Blair's sources.
Instead, the Yankees obtained Pineda for Jesus Montero last month and the Blue Jays held onto Lawrie. The 22-year-old British Columbia native made his MLB debut in 2011, posting a .293/.373/.580 line in 171 plate appearances. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik selected Lawrie in the first round of the 2008 draft when he was Milwaukee's scouting director. Meanwhile, Pineda posted a 3.74 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 171 innings as a rookie last year.
The Mariners needed hitting, the Yankees needed pitching. The two teams addressed each other's needs in a blockbuster trade of young stars, as right-handers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos will go to the Bronx in exchange for catcher/DH Jesus Montero and righty Hector Noesi. Both teams confirmed the trade this afternoon.
The Yankees re-signed C.C. Sabathia and Freddy Garcia this winter, but those moves amounted to just standing pat with a rotation that (after Sabathia) contained several question marks. In Pineda, however, the Yankees now have one of the top young arms in the game and one who has already showed he can perform at the Major League level. Pineda (pictured) posted a 3.74 ERA, a 3.15 K/BB ratio and a 9.1 K/9 rate in 28 starts last season, earning an All-Star appearance and a fifth-place finish in the AL Rookie Of The Year vote. Pineda recently turned 23 and is under club control through 2016.
Campos, 19, is another intriguing young arm. John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked Campos as the fifth-best prospect in Seattle's system going into 2012, noting that while Campos' secondary pitches need some polish, "his upside is very high, he throws hard, and already throws strikes." Campos is coming off a dominant campaign in low Class-A ball in 2011, posting a 2.32 ERA and a whopping 6.54 K/BB in 14 starts. Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears from an NL executive that if Campos was in this year's amateur draft, "he is [a] no-doubt top-10 pick" (Twitter link).
Montero was a top-four prospect in both 2010 and 2011 according to Baseball America and the 22-year-old showed why when he posted a .996 OPS in 69 September plate appearances. Montero was drafted as a catcher but questions about his defensive capabilities had several pundits projecting his long-term future to be at designated hitter or first base. In New York, these spots will be blocked by Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez for the next several seasons, but the bat-starved Mariners have plenty of room in the lineup. Montero immediately projects as Seattle's probable #3 hitter, splitting time between DH and catcher, and it's easy to see Montero hitting behind Dustin Ackley for years to come.
Montero was very nearly a Mariner in July 2010, as he headlined a prospect package the Yankees were ready to send to Seattle for Cliff Lee. The M's, however, pulled out of that trade and ended up dealing Lee to the Rangers. Yankees management was reportedly upset that the Mariners pulled out of the deal at the last minute, but whatever hard feelings existed between the two clubs clearly weren't enough to keep them from doing business 18 months later.
Noesi appeared in 30 games for New York last season (two of them starts), posting a 4.47 ERA and a 2.05 K/BB ratio. Noesi turns 25 later this month and amassed impressive numbers over six seasons in the Yankee farm system. Noesi should get a shot at filling Pineda's rotation spot in Seattle and could blossom at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com was the first to announce the trade as official, with MLB.com's Greg Johns adding Campos and Noesi's involvement. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick first heard of a "significant trade" involving a "young impact hitter" coming to the Mariners earlier today, and Larry Stone of the Seattle Times was the first to cite Pineda and Montero in the deal, as he had heard "rumblings in that direction."
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News shares some final thoughts on the Yankees' eventful week, noting that the team feels Jesus Montero's potential is easier to replace than Michael Pineda's.
- GM Brian Cashman tells Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that the Yankees will have made a mistake if Pineda never develops into a #1 starter (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox shouldn't feel pressured to answer the Yankees' pitching acquisitions immediately, says Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, arguing that plenty of new trade candidates could emerge by July's trade deadline.
- Although the Rays continue to explore adding another bat, they may not move forward until they see how arbitration figures look for David Price and B.J. Upton, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times proposes what he believes could be a win-win solution for Tampa and St. Petersburg, regarding the Rays' stadium situation.
Last night's news was highlighted by the Yankees' signing of Hiroki Kuroda and the four-player trade that sent Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners in exchange for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that it might not be until next week that the trade is announced (as teams wait for completion of physicals), and opines that it may be the Blue Jays who are hurt most by this trade, as their rotation once again looks too thin to compete in the AL East. Here's a look at the highlights from Olney's latest blog (ESPN Insider required)...
- Both the Yankees and Mariners believe that Montero will be able to stick at catcher, which many in the industry feel is a must in order for the trade to make sense for Seattle.
- One executive posed the question: "Why is Yoenis Cespedes playing in any Winter ball games?" Olney says Cespedes' first few games have looked rough, as he hasn't played for a long time. With questions about his ability to pick up a breaking ball, he could potentially hurt his value with a poor showing, and doesn't stand to gain much if he plays well.
- The Indians seem to be in position to land a good first baseman, writes Olney. Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, and Derrek Lee all remain unsigned, and if the Nationals sign Prince Fielder, Adam LaRoche will become available as well. Olney points out that all four are regarded as good fielders, which is crucial to Cleveland's groundball staff (Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe, and Fausto Carmona are all extreme groundball pitchers). Olney writes that there were indications earlier this offseason that Lee did not want to play for the Tribe.
- With the Diamondbacks showing interest in Bartolo Colon, GM Kevin Towers, who spent a year working for the Yankees, will "presumably get an honest read about what [the Yankees] feel Colon could contribute."
It's not every day that two of baseball's best young stars are swapped for each other, but the Mariners and Yankees pulled off just such a deal today, as Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi went to Seattle in exchange for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. Here is some of the early reaction to this stunning trade, plus some information on how the deal came together...
- "The risk for both clubs is low. The reward for both clubs is outstanding. This could be a transformational deal that will have fans of both clubs buzzing about for a long time," writes MLB.com's Bernie Pleskoff.
- Replacing pitching via minor leaguers or the free agent market is far easier than attracting top-caliber hitters in Seattle, notes MLB.com's Greg Johns.
- Mike Salk of ESPN 710 Radio in Seattle outlines the reasons why he "loves" the deal for the Mariners. Also from Salk (on Twitter), he hears from "a non-M's baseball guy" who believes Noesi is a better long-term option than Pineda.
- The trade makes the Yankees the favorites in the AL East, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Miller talks to two scouts who rave about the Yankees' sudden surplus of young pitching that also includes Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos.
- Dave Cameron of the U.S.S. Mariner blog sees Montero as developing into a Carlos Lee-type of hitter who is productive but not quite a superstar. Cameron thinks the deal will look better for the Mariners if they were to sign a free agent starter like Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson, since then the team would have Montero's bat plus a pitcher that could match Pineda's production.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels he took a "huge risk" with the trade, reports The Record's Bob Klapisch (via Twitter). "I gave up a ton (for Pineda)," Cashman said. "To me, Montero is Mike Piazza. He's Miguel Cabrera."
- "Some execs from other AL East teams believe Yankees just made an incredible trade," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- The two teams were "talking for weeks" about the deal, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Each side told the other that they had limited funds to address their needs.
- The Yankees initially tried to acquire Felix Hernandez from the Mariners, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) and were willing to offer a package that included Montero, Betances, Banuelos and more.
6:06pm: The Mariners have moved closer to a trade that would net them a "young impact hitter," reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. A source calls the trade "significant" and says Brandon League is not part of the deal (both links via Twitter).
Here's the latest news and notes out of the AL West...
- The Angels have reached their payroll limit and any further moves will have to come via the trade market, GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. Dipoto says the club would need "a fairly compelling reason" to trade either Kendrys Morales or Mark Trumbo, but "there are scenarios you could envision."
- Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times that the Angels' signing of infielder Jorge Cantu isn't a sign that the Halos have new concerns about the health of either Morales or Trumbo.
- Josh Hamilton's hard-nosed style of play (and subsequent injuries) will make it hard for the outfielder to earn top dollar either in free agency or from an extension with the Rangers, writes MLB.com's Lyle Spencer.
- The Mariners recently turned down inquiries about Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda from Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. This doesn't really represent a failed attempt for Anthopoulos since, as Rosenthal explains, the Toronto GM "routinely asks about the best players on every team. He almost always is told no."
- The Mariners have addressed most of their offseason wish list, notes MLB.com's Greg Johns, except their biggest need: an impact bat. Johns says there has been no indication that the biggest name the M's have been connected to this winter, Prince Fielder, has any interest in coming to Seattle.
- Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle finds it "astounding" that Billy Beane is remaining with the Athletics through this latest rebuilding period, but the A's GM isn't just looking ahead to the club's potential move to San Jose. "I'm too competitive to 'punt' anything," Beane said. "It's not part of my DNA. I've got an emotional investment in this team, and if we're playing in Oakland, then let's make the best of the situation. I don't leave for clear skies as soon as I start seeing the clouds. I keep thinking something will get better."
Here are some late night links as Thursday turns into Friday...
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports spoke to rival executives who believe the only three Mariners off limits in trade talks are Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, and Dustin Ackley. Impending free agents like Adam Kennedy, Jack Wilson, and Jamey Wright are certainly on the block, but pitchers Jason Vargas, Brandon League, and Doug Fister would be the most interesting trade candidates.
- The Blue Jays scouted Kevin Slowey's minor league rehab start on Wednesday night, tweets Morosi. They've had interest in him since Spring Training.
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki says the Phillies are unlikely to add both a reliever and a right-handed bat before the trade deadline. Healthy returns from Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras could be all the bullpen help they need.
It appears that the Diamondbacks will be among the most aggressive teams on the trade market this summer. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has an update on another team preparing to make deals and other notes from around the league...
- The Marlins will also be among the most aggressive teams on the trade market, Olney reports. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said this week that he believes in his team’s prospects and doesn’t see glaring holes on the Marlins.
- Olney points out that talent evaluators love high schooler Dylan Bundy and suggests the right-hander will be selected early on in Monday’s draft.
- It’s a reasonable guess that Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Red Sox career is over, according to Olney. The Red Sox probably didn’t get their money’s worth on their $103MM investment, but it's not like Matsuzaka's career numbers are bad (4.25 ERA, 622 2/3 innings, 8.2 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 10.4 WAR). The right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery.
- As Olney pointed out yesterday, the Mariners will have to monitor Michael Pineda’s workload this summer. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says they’ll watch Pineda’s pitch count and innings count with a common-sense approach, rather than a “hard and fast rule.”
Mariners rookie Michael Pineda is a big reason that Seattle is in the middle of the AL West race, but ESPN.com's Buster Olney looks ahead to a dilemma the M's could face later in the summer. Here are the details and Olney's notes from around the Major Leagues...
- The 22-year-old Pineda has thrown 70 1/3 innings this year and has never thrown as many as 140 frames in any pro season. If Seattle limits Pineda's innings total this year, they'll either have to shut him down early or limit him to 25 innings or so per month from here on.
- Some rival executives wonder when the 17-37 Twins will give up on the season and start considering trades. More aggressive general managers than Bill Smith (think Kenny Williams) might already have started making changes, but the Twins have typically been conservative at the trade deadline. Jason Kubel (who may be headed for the DL), Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young are among the players the Twins could consider moving.
- The A's have lost ten consecutive games against New York (dating back to 2010) and Olney says "Oakland's best young players have to get over the emotional hurdle of playing the Yankees."