Michael Pineda Rumors
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."
Here’s some welcome news for those of us who enjoy trades: executives tell ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that trade talk has started between teams. At this point, GMs are checking in with one another about possible needs and real trade talk probably won’t begin for another month. Here’s the latest from Olney:
- Royals GM Dayton Moore says first base prospect Eric Hosmer accelerated his own timetable by hitting .439/.525/.582 at Triple-A. Instead of keeping Hosmer in the minors for another month or so to prevent him from going to arbitration four times, the Royals called him up as soon as he appeared to be ready.
- ”Right now, he helps us put the best team on the field that we can," Moore told Olney.
- The Royals had expected to call Hosmer up after about 250 minor league plate appearances, but he’s in the majors after 118 trips to the plate for Omaha.
- Michael Pineda’s strong pitching is convincing scouts and executives that the Mariners should hold onto Felix Hernandez and look to contend before King Felix’s contract expires after the 2014 season.
Teams like saving money and extending their control over top young players. Why wouldn't they? Having impact players on affordable contracts simplifies a GM's job. As a result, teams call top young players up strategically every season to control their service time and, in doing so, delay their free agency and/or limit their earnings.
Though service time is a consideration all season long, it's most evident at two times: in April and again midseason, around early June. If teams wait until a few weeks after the season has begun to call a prospect up for his MLB debut, the player doesn't collect a full year of service time, which delays his free agency by a year.
The precise date until which teams must wait before calling prospects up varies each year and according to whether players are on the 40-man roster. Now that we're nearly three weeks into the season, even prospects on the 40-man roster can be called up, since they have spent the requisite 20-day period in the minor leagues.
None of the following prospects have big league service time, which means that their teams can call them up at any point and keep them through the 2017 season, if not longer: Dustin Ackley, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas, Jesus Montero, Eric Hosmer, Julio Teheran, Manny Banuelos, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles.
On the other hand, Michael Pineda, Zach Britton and Brandon Belt are now in the majors, picking up service time. Because those players are now on MLB rosters, they're currently on track to hit free agency after the 2016 season. However, if their respective teams option them to the minors for 20 days or more, their path to free agency could be slowed as well (that's an immediate possibility for Belt and a long-term one for the pair of impressive rookie hurlers).
That may sounds complicated, but it's the easy part. Later this spring, in late May and early June, the guessing game begins. Teams do not (and can not) know exactly when future cutoffs for super two status will be, so if they want to play it safe and ensure that prospects like Montero and Ackley only go to arbitration three times, they'll want to wait until at least the middle of June before calling them up.
The Red Sox should complete a seven-year extension worth $154MM or so with Adrian Gonzalez at some point in the next ten days, as ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reminds us. On a lighter note, Olney points out that Boston appears to be functioning despite a winless week for the Red Sox. Here are the rest of Olney’s rumors.
- Starlin Castro has “made the adjustment” to the big leagues and is no longer phased to be playing at the highest level, Cubs GM Jim Hendry says.
- Another young shortstop, Alcides Escobar of the Royals, may be the best defensive shortstop in the American League, according to at least one scout.
- Angels fans may not like hearing it, but one evaluator says that in sending Mike Napoli elsewhere they “traded a player who would've given them similar production to what they'll get out of Vernon Wells , except it'll cost them about $75 million more."
- Instead of delaying Michael Pineda’s service time and/or arbitration, the Mariners called him up to start the season in Seattle. "He earned the right to be on the club," GM Jack Zduriencik said. "We actually talked about calling him up last September."