Introducing Michael Pineda

The Jorge Vazquez Option
Plenty of low-risk options available for DH
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The dust is still settling from Friday’s blockbuster trade, which will send Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners in exchange for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. All four players must still take their physicals, a bit of a formality required to make the trade official, and that should happen within a week or so. While all that is going on behind the scenes, let’s take a few minutes to get to know Pineda, the soon-to-be newest member of the Yankees’ starting rotation.

Pineda, who turns 23 tomorrow, grew up in the Dominican Republic and signed with the Mariners in December of 2005 for a measly $35k . He spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons in the Dominican Summer League before coming stateside in 2008. Seattle sent Pineda to Low-A as a 19-year-old that year, and he struck out 128 (8.3 K/9 and 23.2 K%) and walked just 35 (2.3 BB/9 and 6.4 BB%) in 138.1 IP across 21 starts and five relief appearances. After the season, Baseball America dubbed him the team’s tenth best prospect.

Sent to High-A to open 2009, Pineda made just six starts before a sore elbow popped up and the team shut him down for close to three months. He ended up throwing just 47.1 IP that season, striking out 52 (9.9 K/9 and 29.2 K%) while walking just six (1.1 BB/9 and 3.4 BB%). Baseball America still considered him the Mariners’ sixth best prospect that offseason. The 2010 season was Pineda’s coming out party, as he utterly dominated the competition in 139.1 IP split almost evenly between Double and Triple-A. With his now healthy elbow, he whiffed 154 (9.9 K/9 and 26.7 K%) while walking just 34 (2.2 BB/9 and 5.9 BB%), then was ranked as Seattle’s second best prospect and the 16th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. The only pitchers ahead of Pineda on the top 100 list were Julio Teheran, Jeremy Hellickson, Aroldis Chapman, Jameson Taillon, Shelby Miller, and Matt Moore.

Pineda made the Mariners’ Opening Day rotation last year thanks to his strong showing in Spring Training (16 K and 5 BB in 15 IP), and he made the team look really smart. After pitching to a 3.03 ERA with 9.0 K/9 (25.0 K%) and 2.9 BB/9 (8.0 BB%) in 113 IP during the first half, Pineda was named to the AL All-Star Team and threw a perfect third inning with two strikeouts in the actual game. His ERA came back to Earth in the second half (5.12), though his strikeout (9.3 K/9 and 24.6 K%) and walk (2.9 BB/9 and 7.8 BB%) numbers didn’t suffer at all in the 58 IP sample. Pineda’s BABIP did correct a bit in the second half (.247 pre-ASG and .286 post-ASG), and the Mariners limited his workload by having him skip a start in early-August and two more in September.

He makes scary faces when pitching. This is a plus. (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

The numbers sure look great, and the scouting report backs them up. Before the season, Baseball America (subs. req’d) said he throws “a crisp fastball that sits at 93-97 mph and gets as high as 101 with explosive life and occasional heavy sink” and a “quality slider.” They also said he “did a better job of selling his upper-80s changeup with the same arm speed as his fastball, keeping it down and getting hitters to chase it.” The PitchFX data from last season backs up that scouting report, and it’s worth noting that he threw that changeup just 2% of the time to righties and 11% of the time to lefties. That’s the pitch he needs to focus on to reach his substantial ceiling.

Speaking of enormous, that’s the best way to describe Pineda. The kid is listed at 6-foot-7 and 260 lbs. on Seattle’s official site, which is probably how big CC Sabathia was at that age. You can’t help but look at a frame like that and think 230 IP a year, every year. I have to imagine he’s an uncomfortable at-bat as well, this gigantic long-levered guy on the mound unleashing mid-90’s heat. There’s bound to be an intimidation factor in play here. Given his results — held hitters to a .211/.279/.342 batting line last year, righties to .184/.261/.326 — I’m guessing opposing batters were a little antsy in the box.

A few weeks ago Keith Law ranked Pineda as the 20th best player in baseball under the age of 25, the fifth pitcher on the list behind Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, and Brett Anderson. “He has the size and stuff to continue to pitch as he did in 2011,” said KLaw in the write-up, “but improving his changeup, really a show-me offering with virtually no action on it right now, would help him get to ace level.” You’ll hear quite a bit about the changeup in the coming weeks and months, I imagine. It’s the great equalizer, and in fact Brian Cashman told Jim Bowden that he’ll consider the trade a failure if he doesn’t improve the pitch and develop into a top-flight starter.

The Yankees gambled on upside by acquiring Pineda, just like the Mariners gambled on upside by acquiring Montero. Pineda’s power stuff is well suited for the rugged AL East, as is his knack for strikeouts and uncanny ability to limit walks at such a young age despite the huge fastball. We’ve been saying the Yankees should only trade Montero for a young, high-end starter with several years of team control remaining for quite some time now, and that’s exactly what they got in Pineda. He’s not a finished product, but he sure is starting from a high baseline with that electric fastball-slider combo and monstrous build.

The Jorge Vazquez Option
Plenty of low-risk options available for DH
  • Steve (different one)

    Really hurts giving up the Jesus, but you have to excited about this guy.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Con mucho gusto.

  • Dicka24

    The more I think about this trade, the more I like it. I hated to hear that Montero was traded, but like the article says, at least it was for a young, controllable, fire baller with ace quality ability.

    I was concerned about his fall off in the second half, but in reading that his K and BB %’s stayed relatively the same, relieve some of that concern.

    • Slugger27

      i loved it from the beginning. its clear the yankees didnt believe jesus could catch at the ML level, so because of tex, he didnt really have a long-term spot on the roster.

      • Ted Nelson

        DH is a position in the AL.

        • gc

          You’re fighting a losing battle at this point. What’s done is done. It’s clear the Yankees saw Montero as either their greatest bit of trade bait to help them address more pressing needs, or a long-term answer at DH. It sure does seem it has always been the former. But let’s say they weren’t able to pull off this trade and they go into the season with Montero as full-time DH (when ARod and Jeter aren’t taking days off from the field). That could have worked out pretty well, for sure. But then in subsequent years as the left side of the infield gets even older, those days off become more numerous and then what do you do with Montero? He’s not playing the outfield. First base is just about as unlikely. So it’s even more obvious that the position of DH, as you put it, will NOT be held by one primary player for the New York Yankees going forward. It may even come to the point in a few years when Alex Rodriguez will have to be the every day DH. Montero simply didn’t have a long-term every day position on the Yankees, so they took the risk and made their move. We’ll see how it shakes out, but it’s good to see they got some pretty stellar talent in return.

          • Ted Nelson

            Your comment has nothing to do with my point. My point is that DH is a position. I responded to a comment that he didn’t have a position. I said nothing about the trade.

            Derek Jeter at DH is a joke. Guy hits well for a SS, not for a DH.

            If A-Rod needs to be an every day DH in a few years… trade Montero then. If he hits half as well as he’s capable his trade value is only going up. You can get another Pineda for him then… maybe get two Pinedas for him without having to include Noesi.

            • choochoo

              Good to know you’re not talking about the trade, Ted

        • DM

          DH is not open as a full-time position on the Yankees. As everyone seems to realize except you.

          • Ted Nelson

            Really? Who needs to DH besides A-Rod? Jeter the .700 OPS DH?

            C Montero or give him the day off the 10 games a year A-Rod DHs.

            • Fred Nelson

              Do you have HARD gas??

            • DM

              Oh, I see — only A-Rod and his right-handed power bat — and his 6 yrs at 150mil? Is that all? Yeah, let’s make him a late-inning pinch hitter to make room for the great 69 AB Montero at DH. Absurd. Like A-Rod is standing still in time. First a hip, now a knee, another year older — but his “10 games a year” at DH will stay static? Not increase, huh? Aging veteran players who still can do damage with their bats always sit rather than DHing more and more.

              • Ted Nelson

                A-Rod has DHed about 10 games a year so far… how likely is it that the Yankees suddenly go from 10 to 50? What signs of defensive decline did A-Rod show last season? Did you watch the Yankees play? Do you have any proof at all that he’ll stay healthier DHing or that the Yankees believe he will?

                That they traded Montero is not proof they will go with a rotating DH in and of itself. If they sign Pena or trade for Butler or platoon Jones with the lefty… they’ll essentially have a fulltime DH.

                • DM

                  You mean like A-Rod playing in only 99 games down from 137 the year before — like that kind of suddenly? Or Jeter DHing 10x in less games played (SUDDENLY missing 30)after never DHing more than half that before? With aging players, “sudden” changes are not surprising. Sometimes it ends quickly — like Posada catching 80 games, then appearing in 1 game as catcher the next year.

                  And I love this logic.

                  “If they sign Pena or trade for Butler or platoon Jones with the lefty… they’ll essentially have a fulltime DH.”

                  So, a left/rigthy platoon is a full-time DH? EVERYONE has a full time DH if you’re going to ignore the fact that you’re using more than one player in that slot. I guess the Yankees had a full-time DH last year, huh? His name must be Posarodswistexoneseter.

                  And notice that the Yankees are looking at LEFT-handed hitters like Damon, Matsui, Pena, etc to add to the DH mix after parting with Montero. Why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T NEED A POSITION-LESS RIGHT-HANDED DH. Their immediate focus on a lefty shows how Montero at DH without another position didn’t fit.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    “So, a left/rigthy platoon is a full-time DH?”

                    I am saying that they will not have a rotating DH. This makes your point that they will have a rotating DH void for at least one season.

                    “Their immediate focus on a lefty shows how Montero at DH without another position didn’t fit.”

                    You are questioning my logic? It shows who they are considering signing now that Montero is no longer a Yankee… not that Montero didn’t fit.

  • Broll The American

    I always had Hensley Meulens flashbacks when people spoke of Montero. His lack of position, I think, would have been such a distraction that it effect his bat and ultimately the other players on the team. The team works better with the DH slot free for use as a rotational rest for ARod and Jeter every few days. Pineda is a nice simple fit for an obvious need.

  • Roster Rooster

    fun fact: Pineda is From San Cristobal, DR. The mayor of San Cristobal is Raul Mondesi. Yes, that Raul Mondesi.

    • Slugger27

      that is a fun fact. im glad you shared.

    • jsbrendog

      this is awesome

    • MannyGeee


      • Monterowasdinero

        Hopefully Pineda will get Thekeytothecity at some point.

        • MannyGeee

          Pineda for Alderman.

          • Monterowasdinero

            What does Alderman throw?

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Who didn’t already know that? Amateurs.

    • GardnergoesYardner

      Haha that’s great.

    • Avi

      They must have a monopoly or something on top flight arms down there.

  • Mike Myers

    Ditto everone.

    Please keep posting stuff like this so I feel better about losing sweet baby jesus.

    that elbow issue on a pitcher with a strong slider worries me though.

    • G

      I’m guessing he’s going to get hurt at some point in time and need surgery, so the entire fanbase will want Cashman’s head for trading Montero for him. However, I believe he’ll then come back just fine and continue a career as an ace, so everyone will once again forget about their irrational Cashman hate.

  • ItsATarp

    Pineda is what the yanks wished Joba was.

    • Slugger27

      obvious statement is obvious.

      i also wish eric duncan was evan longoria.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Or even Eva Longoria … :-)

      • ItsATarp

        Well they are similar in their fastball and slider usage, that’s what i meant.

      • Mike Myers

        i wish eric duncan was shelly duncan…haha

    • Kevin Winters

      Yep only they fucked it up.

    • the Other Steve S.

      Humberto Sanchez

  • Gerald Williams


  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I agree with cashman on this one, the success of this trade depends on the development of Pineda’s arsenal. If he remains a two pitch starter, he’s probably never going to be the front end pitcher we envisioned, and not have been worth a trade of the best hitting prospect in the game. If he hones that changeup, we could end up with a cost controlled ace, which is the best commodity in the game.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      I think even if he can maintain at a solid #2 starting pitcher, this isn’t a bad deal. It seems obvious that the Yankees had no position for him, as they weren’t willing to wait for him to be able to be a full time catcher. I hope Jesus does well, but I hope Pineda does better!

      • TheOneWhoKnocks

        I don’t think he’ll be a solid #2 starter if he remains a fastball-slider guy with a show me changeup.

        He’s a flyball pitcher in yankee stadium who has a split concern against lefties. Color me concerned if he doesn’t develop that 3rd pitch.

        • Bo Knows

          His “split concern” is a 7.77 k/9 of lefties, that’s really good

          CC Sabathia by has a career k/9 of 6.92 (7.52 in 2011) against right handers, and 9.82 vs. Lefties (11.52 in 2011) and we all know CC has a filthy changeup.

          • Needed Pitching

            you beat me to it. This split concern has been so overstated it’s getting ridiculous. Pineda vs. LH last year 7.77 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9, .234 BAA, 3.49 FIP, 3.82 xFIP (Sabathia for context: 7.52 K/9,2.65 BB/9,0.64 HR/9, .268 BAA, 3.19 FIP, 3.42 xFIP

            Even if he never improves on this split, Pineda can be a solid #2.

            • BK2ATL

              People are being blinded by their Montero-love to see that this kid is a beast. They are looking for what this 22 yo doesn’t have, rather than what he already does have and has shown.

              Improvements are needed, but I’m sure Rothschild, Girardi and Cashman already had those conversations. I’m sure CC, Mariano, Nova et al will be more than willing to take this kid under their collective wings and help him and his family get acclimated to the Bronx Zoo.

              This might be a fun year.

              • Ted Nelson

                You can think he’s a beast and still think that the trade was the wrong decision for the Yankees.
                In fact, that is exactly my position.

                That the Yankees want Pineda to succeed does not mean that he will succeed. Teams generally do want their players to succeed and do what they can to help them… still not all players succeed.

          • MannyGeee

            so hes phenominal against RHH, and merely very very vedry good against LHH.

            wow, we got boned on that deal

            • Ted Nelson

              Phenomenal? Really?

              • Gonzo

                What righthanded starter held opposing righthanded hitters to the lowest batting avg. in baseball last year?

                • Dave

                  haha burned!

                • Ted Nelson

                  Batting average? Is it 1980? A nice cool .235 BABIP could mean he dominated RH or could mean he got lucky.

                  His FIP against RH hitter was 3.35. That’s good, but it’s not what I would call phenomenal.

                  • Gonzo

                    This is going into semantic territory here, so I’ll leave it be. I would call his stats against RHH’s phenomenal. You wouldn’t.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I think a big part of it is assuming batting average is an independent result. Perhaps he consistently holds RH to a .235 BABIP, but I think it’s more likely he got a bit lucky last season.

                      If 3.35 FIP is phenomenal there were 26 phenomenal pitchers in baseball last season. It is semantics, but what word are you going to use to describe someone like Roy Halladay with a 2.2 FIP if someone like Justin Masterson or Anibal Sanchez is “phenomenal?”

                    • Gonzo

                      How many were 22 years old when they did it?

                      Again, semantics.

                    • Gonzo

                      Also, if we are going on FIP, we shouldn’t worry about him against LHH’s at all, which was the OP’s concern.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I’m totally lost on your second comment above.

                      Yes, it’s impressive… I think if you’re going to call every good pitcher phenomenal, though, you’re really dumbing down the meaning of the word. Every MLB player is a phenomenal baseball player in a sense.

                    • Gonzo

                      Based on a 22 year old. Semantics. Like I said above.

                  • Dave

                    I love how you quickly dismiss a stat bc it’s considered old…as is they didn’t know how to scout players 25-30 years ago

              • Fred Nelson

                Still have that gas don’t you “Teddy”

        • Bo Knows

          His “split concern” is a 7.77 k/9 of lefties, that’s really good

          CC Sabathia by comparison has a career k/9 of 6.92 (7.52 in 2011) against right handers, and 9.82 vs. Lefties (11.52 in 2011) and we all know CC has a filthy changeup.

      • Ted Nelson

        DH is a position.

        • DM

          …to be used by A-Rod, Jeter, Tex, Jones and some part-time left-handed hitting bench player on a rotating basis. No open full-time DH position on the Yankees for years to come.

          • Ted Nelson

            That the Yankees might choose not to carry a full-time DH doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have.

            Jeter should be DHing?????? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA. Thanks for the laugh. No DH position because the declining .700-.750 OPS DH is here!!!!!

            A-Rod has DHed about 10 times per year and played strong defense last year. If he needs to DH in two or three years… then there’s not a full-time DH. Right now there is.

            Jones is on a one year contract… he’s going to be a DH for the Yankees for years?

            Tex is a strong defensive 1B who has played 9 games at DH each of the past two seasons.

            • DM

              First the Yankee “dynasty” is ending b/c Montero (who didn’t contribute to it) is leaving — now this? I think this trade pushed you off the deep end once and for all.

              It has nothing to do with OPS or what you expect offensively from a typical DH bat. Girardi — THE MANAGER — rotates his regulars into the DH slot to keep them healthy and productive. He’s even said he wants to add Cano to that rotation starting this year. Do you even watch the games or pay attention to how Girardi manages his roster? The notion that they’ll start sitting A-Rod to keep the apparently already legendary Montero in the lineup is absurd. Step aside mega-million dollar proven veterans, Montero hit over 69 ABs; get his plaque ready for monument park. Ridiculous. Did you notice that A-Rod is getting older — and that he has knee and hip issues? Do you know that he only played in 100 games total — YET still needed to DH 10x. And Jeter who missed 30 games himself, still DH’d 10x. Swisher 5x. Jones 10x. Tex 9x. Chavez 5x.
              Do you think Girardi does that for the hell of it — or could it be that the MANAGER MANAGES that way.

              Why didn’t switch-hitting Posada get 550 ABs as f/t DH last year? Just push everyone else out on the field for 150 games, right?

              As far as catching Montero goes, Girardi values DEFENSE and GAME-CALLING at catcher — much to Posada’s chagrin. So you can see what the Yankees and their MANAGER — an ex-CATCHER — think about the idea of using Montero behind the plate. They think so highly of him that they jumped Romine up to take Cervelli’s spot rather than give Montero a good long look behind the plate. Are you getting the picture yet? Do you realize that a right-handed prospect bat (PROSPECT, not HofF MVP bat) with a questionable attitude and no glove might be trade bait for an area of need in this scheme?

              Or will you keep sticking your head in the sand to dry the “But Montero’s gone!” tears away?

              • Ted Nelson

                Please don’t misquote me. I said I have a feeling that we might look back on this trade as the end of the dynasty of the past 16 seasons. Because trading hitting for pitching is a risky proposition that will blow up in your face more often than doing the opposite, and because I feel Montero + Noesi is a better combined value than Pineda + Campos.

                Girardi gave out all of those DH games in part because Posada was benched for performance. Let’s not ignore reality here.

                Why didn’t Posada DH 150 games last year???????? Are you kidding?

                I suggested Montero C 10-20 games… not that he be a fulltime C.

                You are not Brian Cashman. Please stop acting like you know more about the Yankees plans than I do. We both have the same information. We have formed different opinions on a trade. That happens. It doesn’t mean either of us is stupid or definitely wrong. Let’s wait and see how things play out.

                • DM

                  Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. Neither of us are Brian Cashman — and we should wait and see, right? But earlier you spoke of holding onto Montero and then being able to trade him for 2 Pinedas?? How bizarre is that prognostication of yours? Who knows? And who knows what trade may or may not be available down the road? In your mind Montero is a lock to be a monster, and you don’t think position matters when every scout does — and the arms received for him in trade are instantly full of warts despite what scouts say (you act like Campos is a “player to be named later” level prospect, yet Noesi is “front line” somehow). You’re hardly objective when it comes to all things “Montero”. And everything I’ve mentioned IS available to you from other sources — but you clearly edit out info that doesn’t jive with your opinion. I didn’t make up the concept of “rotating” the DH spot. Girardi did. All the things I stated about Montero were from informed scouts. I don’t just pick out the ones that support my view and ignore the others like you do. Everything I say I’ve read or heard. If it’s merely my opinion on a move I say “I think” or something like that. I got killed on this board for questioning Montero’s AAA repeat and attitude — well, Mark Newman thought the same. I don’t make stuff up.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    What are you talking about? You are making things up. Please don’t tell me what I do and don’t think. I will clear up my actual thoughts for you:

                    “Neither of us are Brian Cashman — and we should wait and see, right? But earlier you spoke of holding onto Montero and then being able to trade him for 2 Pinedas??”

                    Where’s the connection here? I said that they MAY be able to get more value if Montero proves himself at the MLB level. You disagree?

                    “In your mind Montero is a lock to be a monster”

                    Where did I say that? I don’t think that. I think he has a very good chance relative to all other players his age in baseball.

                    “you don’t think position matters when every scout does”

                    Again… you’re making that up and wrong about what I think. I think position matters insofar as overall value. A guy who can play CF and hit like Granderson is more valuable than a similar hitter who can only play, say, RF or 1B as well as Granderson plays CF. DH is a position, though, and a great bat there can contribute plenty of value.

                    “the arms received for him in trade are instantly full of warts despite what scouts say”

                    Scouts can predict the future on how Pineda will perform for the next 5 years?

                    “you act like Campos is a “player to be named later” level prospect, yet Noesi is “front line” somehow”

                    Never said that. Campos is a nice prospect, but he’s never pitched about Low A. Noesi has succeeded at every level up to MLB.

                    “You’re hardly objective when it comes to all things “Montero”.”

                    I was not Montero’s biggest fan by a long shot… but what human is objective?

                    “I didn’t make up the concept of “rotating” the DH spot. Girardi did.”

                    A. No, Girardi did not make that up.
                    B. Posada was the everyday DH until he proved too awful to play. Just like Nick Johnson was the DH before he got hurt. Girardi hasn’t started out with a rotating DH, he’s gone to it out of necessity at times. Why are you ignoring that?

                    “All the things I stated about Montero were from informed scouts.”

                    Scouts disagree with one another. Are you really accusing me of blocking out all information that doesn’t jive with my opinion? I know the information is there, you don’t seem to.

                    “I don’t just pick out the ones that support my view and ignore the others like you do.”

                    Yes, you did. I’ve read scouts who think he can C… ones who think he’s a once in a generation bat… and one who aren’t as high on him. There is a difference of opinions. What you say you didn’t do is EXACTLY what you did.

                    “I got killed on this board for questioning Montero’s AAA repeat and attitude — well, Mark Newman thought the same.”

                    I agree that it’s a question mark. I don’t agree that it’s a kiss of death.

                    “I don’t make stuff up.”

                    Is that a joke? You have said that every single scout in all of baseball has the exact same opinion… and you don’t make stuff up?

                    This is a matter of discussing competing opinions. There is no right answer. How do you not see that? Why do you keep insisting there’s a right answer? I am entitled to my opinion, you are entitled to yours.

                    • DM

                      “Where’s the connection here? I said that they MAY be able to get more value if Montero proves himself at the MLB level. You disagree?”

                      How come all Montero “If”s slant to the positive in your eyes? Is he worth 2 Pinedas if he turns into one of those guys who don’t maximize his talent b/c of a poor work ethic or gets a big head (or a bigger one in his case)? So what does prove himself mean? Do you get 2 Pinedas for a .270 20hr 78rbi DH? Those are solid MLB numbers, right? Is that possible? Is that worth two flame throwers?

                      “Where did I say that? I don’t think that. I think he has a very good chance relative to all other players his age in baseball. ”

                      You called him a “once in a lifetime” prospect the night of the trade. I guess that means less than “monster” somehow? And you bizarrely claimed that ONE unproven hitter will have some immediate ripple effect on future playoff appearances by the Yankees — breaking their “dynasty” — like he’s the linchpin of all future Yankee success?!?!? What did you base that grandiose claim on – if you don’t think he’ll be a monster? That you thought he’d be only kinda sorta good? Silly.

                      “Scouts disagree with one another. Are you really accusing me of blocking out all information that doesn’t jive with my opinion?”

                      My point is that ALL scouts judge dimensions of DEFENSE in players. They don’t say what you do “Who cares what position he plays?” over and over. No scout says — “Oh, he’s in the American league — it doesnt matter that he cant play a position — he’ll just DH — no problem.” It’s viewed as a drawback — not a “who cares??” like you keep repeating.

                      “I know the information is there, you don’t seem to.”

                      You don’t seem to have heard or read Girardi’s views on the DH hole. They’re not hidden.

                      “Yes, you did. I’ve read scouts who think he can C… ones who think he’s a once in a generation bat… and one who aren’t as high on him. There is a difference of opinions. What you say you didn’t do is EXACTLY what you did.”

                      Huh? Where did I say Montero couldn’t hit? You cling to the positive party line without any hint of skepticism. I reflect all views. You plucked the highest comment possible the night of the trade — “once in a lifetime”. And you call that a balanced view? I criticized Montero’s 2nd go round at AAA — b/c his numbers (and attitude) deserved it. Apparently Mark Newman does too. You never said a peep about that — but the info was out there. I called into question his role on the Yankees as well. Even if you think he can be Posada-like catcher, that doesn’t fit a team with Martin on it — and DH isn’t open full-time despite your strange ignoring of that fact. If I was a Seattle fan, I’d be happy and excited I got him; but his role will be different there.

                      “Is that a joke? You have said that every single scout in all of baseball has the exact same opinion… and you don’t make stuff up? ”

                      No, I don’t. My comments reflect them all. I don’t pick “once in a lifetime” as my label b/c that’s what I wish it to be. I temper my comments with all the info available and the context of the team. Montero is a talented natural hitter with more than suspect defensive skills, and a work ethic that may undermine his potential. Your line on him only combines the positive reviews. For you he’s a “once in a lifetime” hitting prospect with merely lukewarm defense — but somehow even that isn’t a drawback b/c “who cares what position he plays??” That’s you rationalizing away the bad and promoting only the good.

                      “Never said that. Campos is a nice prospect, but he’s never pitched about Low A. Noesi has succeeded at every level up to MLB.”

                      It’s funny how you’re so detailed with stats at times but vague at others. Look at Noesi’s grand total of 43.1 innings at AAA, more hits than innings pitched, 1.4 Whip and a 2-2 record, an ERA just under 4, and tell me how that spells success “at every level”. Like Hughes he was rushed, and didn’t really conquer AAA. He should’ve started at AAA last yr for a full season. So, you need to review your facts. And compare Noesi at 19 with Campos at 19 and see who was the more impressive prospect.

                      “A. No, Girardi did not make that up.”

                      You must not have ears or eyes.

                      “B. Posada was the everyday DH until he proved too awful to play. Just like Nick Johnson was the DH before he got hurt. Girardi hasn’t started out with a rotating DH, he’s gone ”

                      Johnson was brought in with rotation in mind. He plays a good first base, and they were toying with the idea of playing some outfield as well. Nick wasn’t going to be a one-way only player. He could take the field.

                      You clearly don’t pay attention as closely as you claim. Girardi’s DH views, the idea of “half day” DH rests for vets is common knowledge amongst those who really follow what goes on. Girardi likes flexibility, defense and resting players to keep them fresh.

              • chris

                brilliant analysis. I agree.

        • Fred Nelson

          Thats the one you use on the doggie isn’t it “Teddy”

        • choochoo

          It is not a position, Ted, in half of the interleague games and approximately half of the World Series Games.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    2 Quality pitches = Potential Ace Starter
    4 Quality pitches = 7th inning guy

    Poor Joba

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      260 lbs, POTENTIAL CC


      • Slugger27

        6’7 260 vs 6’2 240 (bref) …. not even close to the same.

        and if you think joba isn’t overweight, im not sure what to say.

        • TheOneWhoKnocks

          I think Joba is overweight. I think CC and Pineda are equally or moreso overweight. With them it’s seen a plus but with Joba it’s seen as a negative. Height can be a plus but it can also be a negative, taller players have more frequent injury issues and also more trouble repeating delivery.

          Point is, Joba was a prospect with the same upside as Pineda, but the narrative surrounding him was completely different. He’s still young enough where he should be getting a chance, but that ship has sailed for the Yankees FO it seems. There are a group of fans(myself included) who will never quite understand the decision making in regards to the best pitching prospect this organization has had in a decade. Now we are acquiring a similar pitcher. I’m not confident in our abilities to develop this guy into the ace he has the potential to be. After what happened with Hughes/Joba and then Kennedy the guy with the least potential went to another organization and became a stud.

          • JJ

            Kennedy put up great numbers in the NL West – but he did so on the only decent offensive team in an division with is entirely devoid of hitting. His inter league stats are pretty poor, but they are also only based off 27 innings so it’s too soon to make a definitive judgement. Don’t think for a second his stats would be anywhere near his current ones if he was pitching in the AL East though.

          • Slugger27

            Point is, Joba was a prospect with the same upside as Pineda, but the narrative surrounding him was completely different.

            are you kidding? the narative after 08 was that we had a future ace on our team. he was universally viewed as a top of the rotation starter. his “narrative” was even stronger than pinedas now.

            then, 09 happenend. lets not pretend it didnt. theyre viewed differently now because joba lost his stuff as a starter in 09 and regressed. if pineda comes out this season and is throwing 90-91 averaging 20 pitches an inning with a plummeting K rate (as joba in 09), then he would be viewed the same way joba is now.

    • Slugger27

      joba has 4 quality pitches?

      not sure if serious….

      • vin

        Go find some video from ’09… his changeup was really developing nicely. And his curveball had good movement, good arm speed, and a nice change of speed from his fb/slider.

        My trust in the Yankee organization lies entirely with them knowing something they haven’t revealed about his shoulder. If that’s not the case, then I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

        • MannyGeee

          they have foreseen the injuries to Joba.

          As much as I love Joba, its time for him to get traded to Minnesota or KC where he can get his career back.

          I put Joba in the same way I view Montero in NYY, as a man without a country. Or position, as it were.

          • Kevin Winters

            As much as I love Joba, its time for him to get traded to Minnesota or KC where he can get his career back.


            Wouldn’t mind seeing that he has no place here on the team.

          • vin

            I don’t disagree. For his sake, I’d love to see him get a starting gig somewhere else so he can prove his worth as a starter, only so the Yankees can admit their mistake and sign him to a big money FA deal. Now that would be something.

            • Reggie C.

              Sometimes you’ve just got to let it go. Joba isn’t going to be ready for ST and coming off surgery he’s got minimal trade value. There’s really no point to even mention SP possibilities elsewhere.

        • Rainbow Connection


          That was 3 years ago.

        • Rick

          Not trying to be funny but if that’s the case, the wrong things keep you awake at night. It’s a baseball team, find a real concern in life. If Joba’s shoulder is your biggest, consider yourself lucky.

    • Kevin Winters

      Joba doesn’t have 4 quality pitches but yes it sucks he’s a reliever. But hey that mop up role is far too important to take him out of it.

  • PinedaColada

    That photo and caption combo had me laughing for like 5 minutes. I really hope that Michael “Monsterface” Pineda develops that change up nicely and we have ourselves a solid rotation.

  • MannyGeee



    But seriously, I am getting pumped for Pineda day. could be a LOT of fun.

    • Mike MzX

      Yeah, I was in that chorus too. I think it mainly stemmed from having no clue who Michael Pineda even was. I don’t think many of us paid any attention to what the awful Mariners of 2011 were doing, and the news of losing Montero to an unknown name hit like a ton of bricks.

      Now that we all know better, the tide has changed.

    • BK2ATL

      Count me in. Gonna be great to see the “K” signs up in one of the YS3 corners again. This kid brings it.

  • Frank1979

    Question for Mike or anybody else…I know Tommy John surgery is always a possibility for any pitcher, but how concerned should we be with Pineda’s elbow injury from 2009?

    • vin

      I wouldn’t be concerned about a sore elbow from ’09. If it was a sore shoulder, then maybe. Fact is, there’s a non-zero chance he’ll need TJ surgery at some point in his young career. It’s just the cost of doing business with young pitchers.

      • Frank1979

        Right that’s what I figured, I just wanted to see what others were thinking. I am very excited for this trade. Even though it is sad to see Jesus go, Pineda could be a very dominant starter for years to come.

    • aluis

      I’d be a little concerned given that the slider is one of his primary pitches. Secondly from that photo his elbo doesn’t appear to be above his shoulder another even bigger concern.

  • Mike MzX

    If this guy turns into the dominant starter he seems to be heading for, it’ll be awesome.

    That delivery face is sick! He’ll be psyching out batters all over the place. He looks like he can steal your soul with that look!

    • Peter North

      Yeah, it would be cool if he had a scream to go along with his delivery.

  • JohnC

    Also hated to lose Montero, but how often do you get a chance to get a young stud, potential number 1 or 2 starter? Yanks had to make this deal. Now if Hughes can bounce back, what a nice youn rotation we have behind CC. Banuelos and Betances can then get a full year at AAA continuing to develop. And lets not forget Campos, the other pitcher in the deal. he may make up for the loss of Arodys Vizcaino. Also gives ROmine a shot of confidence that he now has a clear path to be the future catcher

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    Very nice write-up. I hope that, as a fanbase, we’re as realistic and patient with him as we should/probably-wouldn’t-have-been with Montero.

    That being said, there’s nothing I can do about Montero-heartbreak other than root for Pineda, and root hard.

    • pat

      I hope that, as a fanbase, we’re as realistic and patient with him


      These are Yankees fans we’re talking about. Know know people will be calling the trade a bust, and crippling blow to the franchise the first time he goes 5.1 IP with 4 ER in Fenway. They’ll be calling him the next AJ Burnett and calling for Cash’s head on a pike.

      Good thought though.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        You’ve got to remember that these are just simple Yankees fans. These are people of the Bronx. The common clay of the new fan base. You know… morons.

        • Peter North

          Yeah, like this guy at the bar on Sunday in a Yankee hat. I asked him what he thought of the trade and he went on about how the Yankees just spend a lot of money to win. OK, you obviously just like the hat.

    • Kevin Winters

      “we’re as realistic and patient with him as we should/probably-.”

      Little hard to do that when a section of the fan base has said “Yankees needed a number 2 and they got one”

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Yup. Everyone immediately wants to slot him right behind Sabathia, which I actually would not do in 2012.

        While I understand Pineda’s ceiling is higher than Nova’s, I’d say stick with the guy who was actually in pinstripes last year when you figure out rotation order. CC-Nova-Kuroda-Pineda-Hughes/AJ/Garcia. They’re all going to be in the rotation anyway.

        Feel free to tell me that Nova iz teh #4 and blew the playoffs below.

  • Monterowasdinero

    I’m happy for Montero because he will have a much longer leash and less of a fan backlash in Seattle should he not light it up at the plate in April or have a few passed balls behind the plate. This should help him relax and develop his full potential which should be an impressive thing.

    An everyday DH/catcher at 22. Good for him.

    As for Pineda, he is not a 2 pitch pitcher. If you read the DRays writeup yesterday, he has different grips on his fb and is really a 5 pitch pitcher. All 5 of these pitches appear to be better than anything Hughes throws.

    Where is Campos compared to Pineda in terms of development/prospect level etc as a 19 year old?

    As for carrying body weight, CC and Pineda probably have better mechanics/drop and drive/leg stride/long arms than Joba the whale and his 2 fins (I mean short arms).

  • Mister Delaware

    I imagine having your first start being @ Tampa is about the best possible scenario for a new, young Yankee starter.

    • Mister Delaware

      (I immediately take that back. @ Baltimore would be best possible scenario, @ Tampa is second.)

  • Monterowasdinero

    So how is Pineda at the plate in interleague play? Can he bunt? That was Girardi’s first question.

    Montero refused to sac bunt and so Joe said “Get rid of him Cash”

  • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa

    He asked if Wang could run and said start him in houston

  • CJ

    My biggest concern is succeeding in NY. I’m sold on his arm and talent. We have seen how a bad start followed by another can get away from a pitcher in NY. IPK and Hughes had the talent. Even the immortal Randy Johnson and Clemens struggled with this.

  • takecare

    Random fact: Jose Campos is the cousin of both Alcides and Kelvim Escobar

    • Avi

      Let’s hope opposing hitters swing as often as Alcides at his pitches.

  • CJ

    I would start Pineda as the 4. With Kuroda 2, nova 3. The 4 gets the benefit of pitching against other teams back of rotation which yanks usually beat score runs give him some breathing room to get comfortable in NY and build confidence. Hughes #5

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I sort of agreed with you above, but flipped Nova and Kuroda.

    • Esteban

      It doesn’t really matter until the playoffs what spot in the rotation a pitcher is.

      • Steve (different one)


        • Mister Delaware

          Well … I don’t know I agree here. There’s probably no reason to go in order of talent, but there can be strategic advantages to splitting similar pitchers or, more importantly, bullpen killers.

      • CJ

        It does matter. Over 162 games a 2 will draw David price matchups, matching up with the 4-5 of the other teams lead to more wins. Pitchers don’t care about FIP and peripherals they want to win to feel successful build confidence.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          How is that so, though? Anything from injury to off-days is going to make it so that your #5 is just as likely to face another team’s #1.

          I only put stock in this stuff because I think the actual teams and players do, perception/reality, blah blah blah. All things being equal, though, while I made a similar argument to what you initially did, I agree that none of this all actually matters.

        • Steve (different one)

          Is this true? I dont see how it possibly could be after about 2 weeks into April.

  • BK2ATL

    Really sucks having to give up Montero. I was ready to see him do well in pinstripes, but the lack of a true position always weighed on the back of my mind. Sept was just an offensive showcase for other teams, and a complete mindfuck for us fans. I wish the kid well.

    Noesi was improving, but with Nova there and with the plethora of arms in Warren, Phelps, Mitchell, then the kids Banuelos and Betances, we could afford to lose Noesi. I also wish him well.

    I’m on board with this trade. It works well for both teams.

    This kid Pineda really brings the goods already. His upside might be CC…. Huge power pitcher with great control already and still working on a changeup???? 101 mph??? This is what we fans wish Dellan Betances becomes.

    Then you have this Campos kid….I’m thinking Cashman won this deal. Time will tell.

  • Reggie C.

    But can he pitch teh 8ht??


    • Robinson Tilapia

      Why trade Montero when we just could have gotten him for Melky + IPK.


  • Ivan

    While I may not love the trade, I have to admit I do like it. It was really really tough to see Montero go but at the same time how can you not b excited to have Pineda in the rotation. I wish Montero the best & imma root for him hard. Nevertheless I like Pineda can do for this team short & long term.

  • Al

    Who did Pineda fan at the All-Star?

    • gc

      He got Tulowitzki to fly out, then struck out Scott Rolen and Rickie Weeks, both swinging.

      • Al

        Small sample, but better on this side of a sss than what Phil and CJ Wilson have to show for.

  • Dicka24

    I might be off, but isn’t the slider a problem pitch for elbows? i.e. puts a lot of strain on one. I thought that was the case at least.

    *Rumor Alert*

    With respect to DH options, I read a rumor on the net that the Yanks were discussing a Phil Hughes for Billy Butler deal with the Royals. Just an internet rumor, so apply lots of salt. If true, I’d hate to give up Hughes for a DH. Hughes is still only 25.

    • Anchen

      Sliders are deemed as one of the riskier pitches for elbows, which is one of the reasons the yankees minor league system generally favored curveballs instead of sliders. The wicked slider fransisco liriano has is many suspected one of the reasons he got hurt during that fine rookie year. That said there are plenty of slider pitchers who don’t have (major) issues, including CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw (so far), etc.

  • DM

    Interesting snippets from Mark Newman regarding Montero for all those who ignored his performance and attitude at AAA.

    “A big-time talent,” Newman said of Montero. “There’s no one questioning his talent. But he hasn’t had a great year with the bat this year. We expected more, honestly.”

    Newman went on to say, “The biggest deal for him is maturity. I’ve been doing this a while and I don’t know how you significantly accelerate the maturation process. You can put him around mature people, but he’s got a ways to go in figuring out how this game works and how this world works. He’s bright. I think he’ll eventually get it. The discipline and turmoil that he’s had to deal with is part of the process. You’ve got to deal with stuff. You’ve got to take the training wheels off. That’s what he’s going through.”


    • Monterowasdinero

      This trade may serve to take the training wheels off. If they had brought him up and challenged him a bit, he may have grown up faster/risen to the occasion/overcome adversity.

      We’ll never know.

    • Ted Nelson

      We all know that the Yankees traded Montero. We all know that they valued Pineda + Campos more than Montero + Noesi.

      What we don’t know if whether they are right.

      • DM

        But remember that value is contextual. Seattle has a lot of good young arms. And the Yankees have more depth at catcher than any other position. Seattle needs offense. The Yankees already have plenty. Seattle can catch and DH him liberally — and even try him at 1st base. The Yankees have a 28 yr old major league catcher who they love, a good hitting and fielding 1st baseman who’s signed for yrs at big money, and an aging, expensive right-hand hitting 3rd baseman with lower half issues who’ll be DHing more and more — along with other players who’ll use that spot for 1/2 day rests per Girardi’s philosophy.

        • Tom Swift

          I agree completely. We can now see that trading Montero was close to inevitable — he has more value on another team.

        • Ted Nelson

          I think that even in the context Montero + Noesi is more valuable than Pineda + Campos. I understand that the Yankees disagree with me. Please stop trying to paint me as stupid for disagreeing with the Yankees.

          “along with other players who’ll use that spot for 1/2 day rests per Girardi’s philosophy.”

          Girardi has had an everyday DH opening day each of the last two seasons. Both have failed.

          • DM

            Are you kidding? Girardi and Cashman always stress that the situation is fluid. They never declared Posada as full-time DH. Opening day isn’t a some fixed template for the entire season. Only Ted can say that “Opening Day” means that’s what it will be every day for the rest of the season. The Yankees NEVER make definitive claims like that. Seasons and teams evolve — roles change. They didn’t know how Posada would adjust to not playing in the field — which is why they dusted off his 1st baseman’s glove. And like Robertson becoming the 8th inning guy over Soriano. They NEVER draw up a fixed plan. NEVER. It’s always “We’re gonna try this and wait and see” on everything. And despite your earlier claim that Girardi hasn’t mentioned the concept of a rotating DH is flat out WRONG. He’s said it over and over and over how he likes the idea of the DH spot being something OTHER than a fixed full-time position. He doesn’t like the idea of having a player that can only DH b/c HE LIKES TO USE THAT SPOT TO REST PLAYERS. He doesn’t want to be tied down with 1 player that clogs that hole. He didn’t give Jorge much of a chance to fail as a right-handed hitter in that spot.

            And I just found the Girardi quote from his press conference back in Nov 11 — when Montero was here.

            “Our DH is something that might be a rotating DH a little bit next year. I’m not sure. You’ve kind of got to see how things shake out as we get into December and January.”

            That’s the usual Yankee take — OPEN. It’s not “necessity” — it’s mixing and matching — getting thru a season — and resting your regulars like he’s said over and over. If anything, he’s been hamstrung at times by Matsui’s bad knees, Johnson’s back/wrist and Posada’s bad catching. The preference is flexibility in that spot — not a no-glove, DH-only bat that clogs that hole so you can’t give your vets half-days off. You have it backwards. He wasn’t forced into rotation; he was forced into DHing certain players who couldn’t get ABs any other way. He’s been bogged down by one-way players like Montero in the past.

  • TampaRob

    Don’t know if its been shared but Pineda will be taking his physical tomorrow

    • Monterowasdinero

      On his birthday.

      • TampaRob

        I hadn’t remembered that when the organization member told me that he was taking it today, but maybe they’ll fit him for his pinstripes..that’d be a good birthday present!

  • J. Scott

    I like the idea of starting Pineda off in the 3-4 slot because, at 23, I’d still like to limit his innings to some degree. No more than 185-190 during the regular season, if at all possible.