Vetting out some thoughts on ‘the big trade’

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Guest Post: Mason Williams Scouting Report
Farewell Jesus, greetings Michael (Yahoo.com)

Like some of you (and some of us here at RAB), my head is still swirling from last Friday’s trade escapades. Cashman, in vintage ninja-like fashion, redefined the Yankees landscape in what seemed like a matter of hours when he elected to ship Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi off to Seattle in return for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos.  Not only could the trade drastically influence the 2012 season, but it may reverberate for years to come on a number of different levels.

Frankly, I have not completely sorted out my thoughts on the trade yet; although, my initial response was some combination of bewilderment and panic. On the surface, the deal seems to make a great deal of sense for both teams though – the Mariners obtained a potential middle-of-the-lineup threat to aid their otherwise meager offense, while the Yankees theoretically acquired another potent arm to complement a rotation comprised of CC Sabathia and a bunch of question marks. Incidentally, both organizations received players that are very young and cost-controlled to boot.

While Hector Noesi and Jose Campos are certainly not the feature pieces of the deal, both offer some honest upside as well. Noesi will probably slot into the Mariners rotation and should deliver some decent production, especially in spacious Safeco Field. Similarly, Campos, a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher with a dazzling fastball, will likely qualify as a top ten prospect within the Yankees organization upon arrival. High-end bullpen pitching depth is never a bad thing, right?

Yet, general consensus here in Yankeeland seems to be that the deal was “good but not great” despite the fact that it clearly addressed some of the franchise’s obvious concerns. Some of the luster of the move was certainly dulled by the fact that we, as fans, have been captivated by Montero for quite some time now. He was supposed to be the next homegrown superstar after all, who would grow up donning pinstripes and ultimately retire to the Hall of Fame as a True Yankee™.  So as great as Pineda could potentially be, the loss of Montero is still bittersweet.

As if sentiments weren’t hazy enough already, Brian Cashman did his part to complicate the discussion further as he went on the record stating, “I gave up a ton [for Pineda]. To me, Montero is Mike Piazza. He’s Miguel Cabrera.”  Assuming for a moment that Montero does have that kind of ceiling at the MLB level (and boy that is a lofty assumption), what’s that worth to a team exactly?  I suppose it depends on the team’s needs first and foremost.  For what it’s worth, WAR tells us that Miggy has been been an outstanding player (only once in the past seven seasons has he delivered a fWAR value below five).   There’s only a handful of players in all of baseball who can deliver similar production consistently.

Even if Montero was relegated to designated hitter role early on in his career, at that level of production, he’d still contribute some serious value going forward. Consider David Ortiz; in 2011, he was valued at 4.2 WAR according to FanGraphs.  Also keep in mind that in 2011, there were only 24 pitchers total who could claim a WAR above four, and only 16 topped five.  Last season, Cabrera eclipsed the seven fWAR plateau —  a feat only pitchers Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, and Justin Verlander could claim.  So in the spirit of gross over-simplification, our hearts and eyes told us Montero carried huge clout, a point which Cashman reiterated right after trading him to the Mariners for some kid not named Felix.

Now, I generally tend to value very good pitching beyond very good hitting simply because of supply and demand, a philosophy which makes it easier for me to accept Cashman’s decision to pull the trigger (not that he needs my official endorsement). However, I also contend that elite talent (regardless of the role) should hold trump. The reason why elite talent is so tantalizing is because, by very definition, it’s a rarity.  If Cashman was serious about Montero becoming a generational talent, I sure hope he has similar aplomb in Pineda’s future as well.  Trading future Miguel Cabrera away for, say, Ricky Romero just doesn’t satisfy me.*

Realistically speaking, at this point, Montero’s a highly touted prospect who is still in the process of transitioning into the bigs. Although he had an exciting September, it’s probably unfair to label him the next big deal until he showcases some consistency. As for Pineda, his strengths are obvious but he’s also not without his flaws. We’ve all heard by now about his gaudy strikeout ratio.  We’ve also heard about his fly ball tendencies and the changeup that needs to develop. Nevertheless, he is definitely a very talented kid, and the Yankees were not likely to obtain that caliber of a player without giving up something comparable in return. Considering the value of other young cost-controlled quality arms, it would appear Cashman gave up a reasonable amount relative to the haul.

Cashman said that the trade will likely be a bust for the Yankees if Pineda doesn’t develop a viable changeup and become a number one starter. Those are some hefty expectations (that we all probably feel in the pit of our stomach to some extent or another). Then again, I’m sure Seattle is saying the same thing. Montero needs to live up to the hype in order to justify the loss of a pitcher who could become a bonafide ace; moreover, he’ll likely need to do it behind the plate for some folks to be truly content.  The uncertainty is the rub.  It’s the reason I flinched at the trade initially, and it’s also the reason I completely support the reasoning behind it now.

I know I wasn’t alone in wondering whether the Yanks could have had the proverbial cake and been able to eat it too. It’s plausible that the Yankees would still be dubbed the AL East favorite at this juncture if they had just signed Hiroki Kuroda and not made the trade additionally. Although the rotation would not have been as appealing in 2012 without Pineda’s services, perhaps the differential in run support would have made up for it.  I think we were all prepared to face that reality with open arms.

In the long run, hopefully we’ll wind up thanking Cashman for his foresight. Unfortunately, because baseball isn’t played in a vacuum, such hypotheticals are not only abstract but at times haunting. Only Cashman truly knows the true game plan, and he gets to make the tough decisions while only we get the benefit of being able to scrutinize his moves without the torments of accountability.

In any event, the wheels are in motion and there is no real option other than to embrace the future. Hopefully, the team does not lose interest in some of the other quality arms on the free agent market come next season **. There’s nothing more we can do but wait and see how this will pan out for the Yankees. For now, I’ll trust in Cashman’s judgment with optimism, say a fond farewell to the superstar-in-the-making we barely knew, and welcome with open arms the future face of the rotation.

* Please know that I’m not comparing Michael Pineda to Ricky Romero here.  The example was simply the first name that popped into mind for the sake of discussion.

** Just for the record, I do not expect the Yankees to skip out on elite pitchers next offseason should they be made available.

*** Apologies for my hiatus the past two months. Between work and wedding planning, my life has been rather chaotic. That said, I hope to regain normalcy in my daily routine soon and get back to posting at my typical frequency.  Cheers!

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Open Thread: This place is HUGE!
Guest Post: Mason Williams Scouting Report
  • infernoscurse

    i still hate the trade

    • Cris Pengiucci

      … until Pineda puts up a season like he did last year. And then does it again (only a little better). And again. And …

      I’m really torn on this. My rationalization for the trade is that the Yankees figured Montero would be blocked, to some extent, at whatever position they wanted to put him at other than DH, and that position needs to be available for the aging players. Pineda provides the “right now” pitching the Yankees need with the potential t become a #1-type pitcher going forward at a very reasonable cost. I have to believe the Yankees scouted him well during the season and believe he will progress from what he did last season.

      While Noesi could have contributed on the big league level as early as this season, there are others on the AAA level that could replace that production if needed. (I expect Noesi, in Safeco, will put up a very solid season). Swapping him for Campos (which is essential what this trade is in my eyes – 2 separate deals), provides the Yankees with some younger pitching depth. Once the current crop settles and the Yankees determine what they truly have (over the next 2 or so seasons), they’ve got their next hot product waiting in the wings, ready to produce either on the field or via trade.

      I have to rationalize this, because in my heart, I hate giving up Montero. I’d have to rationalize it even if King Felix was the return (concerns about his lost velocity, the transition to NY, etc., etc., etc.)

    • John

      I can’t but help to feel like I did the day after the Al Leiter trade! Jeez, In 6 months to a 1 year… we could have had the both Manny and Dellin in th rotation along with Montero hitting 5 th or 6th. I’m patient, I could have waited… why couldn’t the yankees.

      • Steve (different one)

        The odds of betances becoming a viable starting pitcher are long. Also, this isn’t really a trade where you can say it was done out of impatience. The guys they traded for are very, very young. This is very much a long term view trade, just trading one position for another. It’s a challenge trade. I get not liking it, but this isn’t Montero for Danks or something like that.

        • Ted Nelson

          I disagree that Betances odds are long. Guy is unfit table in AAA. As far as prospects go he’s got good odds.

          I can see impatience being an explanation. Why did they swith positions? Could be a valuation decision or an impatience decision, without access to their warroom… Pretty impossible to say.

  • Gerald Williams

    Yankee fans need to embrace Pineda. Sure Montero was our fan boy crush, but he’s no longer a Yankee. We need to band together and root for Pineda, because this kid can become a beast.

  • Rainbow connection

    Oh good! Another thread about this!

    • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

      Your refund check is, surely, in the mail.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/AngeloInNY Angelo

        +1

        • GET THE FUCK OVER IT, RAB BOYS

          Axisa is a pompous ass… You write for a blog, not ESPN. Get the fuck over yourself you fagggiola!

          • Ted Nelson

            Most of ESPN’s writers are terrible. On the other hand, I think Mike does a very good job.

          • Gerald Williams

            Go read ESPN then @$$hole

  • Gageagainstthemachine

    If Sabathia stays the rock he is; if Nova continues to improve on his breakout season; if Pineda becomes the heir apparent to CC’s ace spot (still five years away); if either/both of the B’s become what we hope they are projected to become*, then this Yankees’ rotation is something to be really excited about for many years (and that’s not even considering free agents). I’m personally very excited, no matter how bummed I was they gave up Montero.
    *yes, that’s a lot of “if’s”, but a lot of potential.

    • vxx

      All those “if’s” are the reason I’m generally opposed to giving up big hitters for pitchers. Pitchers are so unreliable. But this particular trade could turn out to be a very, very good one for the Yanks. The Yankees front office knows more than I do.

  • nsalem

    Due to the nature of the beast(s) (risk of injury) Montero I believe probably has a better chance at having a long and productive career than Pineda. However if Pineda reaches his alleged upside it will be a bigger boost to the Yankee’s over the next few years anyway, than if Montero was great in New York. This is to say the Yankee’s would rather take a chance on PIneda developing into an ace than Montero turning into a Miguel Cabrera. If the Yankee’s weren’t married to an aging A-Rod and Jeter they would be taking a different tact. If Montero flops at catcher The M’s could afford to park him in the DH support where the Yankee’s may never be able to. In the end Montero’s long term health and success maybe best ensured by making him a full time DH. The Yankee risk here is that if Montero does well and Noesi somehow supplants Pineda.

    • Gageagainstthemachine

      I liked Noesi a lot, but I don’t think there’s anyway he supplants Pineda enough to make Ms fans forget him. Unless, of course, he went all Pavano on NY, but I don’t see that happening. Noesi will be a nice piece, but not the piece that determines whether this trade is a success or not. That’s my gut assessment at least.

      • Reggie C.

        Mariners have done a solid job drafting pitchers so they’ve got a couple high-ceiling prospects. Noesi isnt being touted as a pineda replacement , or at least Noesi shouldnt be advertised as such to the fan base.

      • nsalem

        Since Pineda has the tools Noesi does not possess it is unlikely it will happen. It is still possible thought that it will happen. We would have never dreamt last year at this time that Ivan Nova would be our 5th game starter and many Yankee fans would be happy and confident with him pitching. I don’t bemoan this trade, I am just commenting on the risk Cashman took. Noesi developing into something better than most expected would be a painful scenerio

    • infernoscurse

      inserting arod or jeter into the DH is only doable if you replace their position with a Good bat otherwise you are revisiting the Posada from last year but with a weaker hitting infield, i rather bench the anging player than have to go through the torments of what we experienced last year with posada where a team is torn between loyalty and winning

  • Nigel Bangs

    In recent years the Bronx Bombers have been an offensive juggernaut. Why not try and become a pitching powerhouse as well?

  • Reggie C.

    I can’t imagine Cashman would have executed the trade if he thought there was little chance that a quality position player (OF, 3B, Catcher) would hit free agency or become suddenly available via trade in the next couple seasons. I’m not saying Cashman expects a Justin Upton / CarGo level talent to be available, but somebody like Alex Gordon, D. Wright, Miguel Montero might just be a tough phone call away.

    The team still has a valuable trade chip or two or if we’re lucky a couple of those names actually hit FA when their arb period/ contract ends.

    Pineda + Miguel Montero/ D.Wright (for argument’s sake down the line) represents TWO upgrades that didnt exist with Jesus Montero.

    • infernoscurse

      hamels + Montero > Pineda + miguel montero/ dwright

      • Reggie C.

        Perhaps. Yeah, i might agree with that should Montero turn into an offensive force immediately. Cashman and his crew clearly favored roster flexibility more than we’d ever imagined; probably a result of having Arod under contract another 6 years.

        • Ted Nelson

          Or they just think they got more value than they gave up. Roster flexibility may come into play, but I don’t think it’s at all clear it does.

          • Cris Pengiucci

            Or they got equivalent value and more roster flexibility, which swayed them.

            • Ted Nelson

              I’m just saying that multiple motivations for the trade are possible.

      • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

        We need to stop acting like Hamels is/was destined for Yankee pinstripes.

      • doug

        what about Pineda + Fielder?

  • jack knife

    look at Pinedas picture. Does that cat look 23 Hmmmmmm Fausto Carmona all over again

    • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa

      Well in cat years he’s 86… so..

    • Voice of Reason

      he has apparently grown a couple of inches and packed on 80 pounds since he was signed, so the odds that he’s older than he claims are quite slim.

      • Bo Knows

        he was 6’3, 180lbs when the M’s found him

    • Mike HC

      Instead of the trade being for a couple of 22 year olds, it was probably a couple of 24 year olds. … ha … but seriously

  • Pounder

    “Between work and wedding planning, my life has been rather chaotic.”
    Just wait my friend,just wait.Seriously though,congratulations to you and the missus.

  • monkeypants

    Apologies for being persnickety, but what does it mean to “vet out” some thoughts on the trade? One can let out thoughts (release them), or vet thoughts (to examine them closely…though that’s a bit of an awkward usage), and maybe vent (out) thoughts. But I’m not sure one “vets out”.

  • Jonathan

    Very well written. I think a lot of people forget that when we were at our best we were a lot like we are now. Balanced. in the mid 2000’s we had a lot of sexy names on offense and even in the rotation but they were all too old or the defense suffered greatly. I feel like we’re heading back to the late 90’s (not forecasting that kind of success, just roster construction) where we had capable defenders at almost every position while also having a well rounded offense and had 4 above average to ace pitchers with a very nasty late game pen.

    I can only imagine if somehow a rotation of CC/2012 FA/Pineda/Nova/Banuelos is put together without destroying the offense. I just hope we don’t end up like the Phillies where we went from one great pitcher and a bunch of Joe Blanton’s plus a great offense and good defense to a very injury plagued, old and expensive offense and a dominant rotation. I honestly don’t know how we’re going to sign everyone and keep some youth in the lineup in the next 2-3 years but Cash turned a pretty pathetic outfield into easily a top 5 OF in the game…but he got lucky that Kenny Williams is an idiot, KLong fixed Grandy and Gardner hit his ceiling. Not that they weren’t great moves and he shouldn’t be applauded, I just don’t think we should look for that to happen again, anytime soon. I think the best option might be to do what we just did. Produce a top 10 farm system that can either graduate elite talent or trade it for other areas of need. Otherwise we’re going to have one hell of a time hitting that 2014 budget.

    Robbie should already be signed. We should definitely take a Mike Napoli approach and wait and see if Grandy repeats and I honestly don’t have a clue what the lesser of the few evils are that represent our future RF situation. Do we sign Nick to a 3 or 4 year deal that would represent the mid to late 30’s of his career? Do we go cheap? Do we deal more elite talent for an outfielder? Do we sign another OFer? I have no clue what the right move is. I think it might be sign Hamels or Greinke after this year and then flip the B’s for a stud young OFer. Who that is, I have no idea. Kemp would have been ideal Granderson insurance as he could have slid to RF while Gardner went to CF and we’d only have to get someone capable of playing LF, which is basically any OF. In RF we have to deal with the arm issue. We can’t have Ellsbury or Holliday or Braun in RF. Who knows..but it’s an extremely exciting time to be a Yankee fan with a lot of wheeling and dealing sure to come in the next couple of years.

    • Reggie C.

      The Phillies are old?? Somebody should tell that to Cliff Lee.

      Anyways, did you read S.Road’s post from a couple days back: http://riveraveblues.com/2012/.....ead-62600/

      If not, give it a read. Probably the best read on this site in the new year. No offense to the other writers …

      • Jonathan

        I know…I really hope he actually realizes how stupid those comments are. If your wife didn’t want you to play in NY because of a bad experience admit it. I still don’t understand how a guy can play 1/2 a season for a team and then after he was out of control amazing for them they just ship his ass out for a joke of a haul considering after he suffered an injury and was only going to be pitching for 2 months for his new team in 2010 the Mariners could have had Montero and got Smoak (who while hasn’t lived up to his status yet, there is still time and was an elite prospect at the time). And then somehow that experience made him say, “Yeah, they dropped me to get Halladay, a comparable pitcher who would cost more money and prospects, and couldn’t even hold onto me long enough to shop me to the highest bidder or, i dunno, just freaking hold the fuck on for $9MM!!! but I felt all of that made it so I couldn’t stay close to home on the team I just went to the WS with or to the best franchise in the history of sports who desperately want me and will pay me the most. I have to go back to Philly.”

        And I definitely read it. I read every word written on here basically. I understand how much money they’d save but when it’s becoming harder and harder to buy prospects and your absolute best asset is cash and elite players are available for that seemingly endless asset you have to go for it. Hell I think a lot of us, (The same group that dreamed of signing Halladay/Mauer/Crawford last offseason in 08) were praying for a Hamels/Greinke/Kemp offseason this year. That’s obviously a bit overzealous but if Hamels/Greinke/Cain all hit FA…I don’t think you can pass that chance up to get one. I think Greinke would do wonderfully here and might just be a better pitcher than Cain or Hamels. Usually the lefty wins out but Hamels has a reverse split. Cole is just more consistent and every time he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings we wouldn’t have to hear about every fucking idiot with no knowledge of the subject dissecting Greinke’s “mental problems”. I think if Hal/Cash can run this team together we’ll only get better and Hal is reasonable enough to listen about how infrequently you get the chance to acquire a pitcher of that quality. I mean hell look at Hughes and Joba. There’s obviously an underlying issue with how our pitching prospects are developed….kind of like the O’s issues…and we should just buy Hamels or Greinke or Cain etc. Here’s hoping a sure fire ace is more important than the 2014 budget. Anyone think there’s a slight chance Soriano opts out of the final year of his deal if he has a really good 2012? I’d say Boras could easily do better than that but the guy bufued Madson into $8.5MM so who knows. We all know Boras overall does a great job but he fucks some clients HARD. Ask Johnny Damon after 09. Unless you really believe he always wanted to play in the shithole city of Detroit and a giant ballpark for 1/5 his original demands.

    • nsalem

      Great insightful thoughts Johnatan. May I also add that we have a bullpen even Joe Torre would have a hard time burning out.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Joe Torre never met a bullpen he couldn’t burn out.

        • nsalem

          touche!!!

    • Ted Nelson

      I’m not sure balance matters besides in extreme cases where there’s not enough playing time to go around. 5-3 or 3-1 is a two run win.

  • Scout

    I respect the fact that Cashman still speaks so highly of Montero after the deal. Usually, when a team gives up a prized asset, it leaks word that the organization never thought that highly of the prospect in the first place but hyped him for the fans and the market.

    • YanksFan

      This isn’t Boston. We haven’t heard anything about Ajax or IPK that weren’t being said about them pre-trade.

  • bk

    I disagree with one of your points… I think that the pineda trade and the desire to stay under the luxury tax is a direct indication that the Yankees will not be involved in the elite sp market next year

  • Jake

    I think the Arod contract killed any chance of Montero staying with the Yankees. For better or worse, Arod is the team’s DH of the future. If the Yankees didn’t believe Montero could catch, it probably made trading him a lot easier.

    My concern with Pineda is nothing specific, just general anxiety around young pitchers. Is there a substantial difference between Pineda today and Joba after the 2008 season? Not saying Pineda will suffer the same fate, only that he is a long ways from proven, both in terms of health and effectiveness. Just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best.

    • Steve (different one)

      The difference between Pineda and Joba in 2008 is that Pineda made it through the entire season without getting hurt and Joba did not. Your overall point about young pitchers is absolutely true, but hopefully the Yankees’ brass feel pineda’s frame is going to hold up.

  • bonestock94

    I hate losing Montero but this is exactly what the Yankees needed to win it all. Still a top 1 or 2 offense with a very very good rotation now.

  • Anthony Murillo

    If Montero projected to be even an average defensive catcher, Cashman probably doesn’t make the trade. But Montero projects to be a Designated Hitter for his entire career and I just can’t cry over losing a DH when they’re getting a number two starter (and possible ace) in return whose young, cheap and under team control for five more years.

    I never grew attached to Montero because I always thought he would be traded. So many people here have followed Montero almost his entire career and were steaming, steaming mad when he was traded (some still are) but I just can’t feel that way.

    The one thing I HATE is when someone who dislikes the trade says “Montero could be Miguel Cabrera! He could be Mike Piazza!” and then ignore when Pineda already is and could be. I’m sorry, but if I had to choose between having possibly the next C.C. Sabathia or the next Mike Piazza/Miguel Cabrera, I’m taking the next C.C. Sabathia. It’s close but I’ll go with the elite pitcher over the elite hitter any day of the week.

    It’s okay to believe Montero will be this elite hitter but don’t forget what Pinedas already IS and could be (not saying the author of this post did that).

    • Steve (different one)

      It’s possible that Montero becomes a fixture at 1b in Seattle for the next decade. But again, that path was not available to the Yankees. It’s hard to say you pass on an elite 28 year old talent because you have an 18 year old catching prospect that might have to move off the position.

      • Ted Nelson

        Smoak is supposed to do that.

        DH is a position. It’s better to DH a guy who is a total negative in the field than to play him in the field, all else (mostly replacement but also attitude) equal. I don’t see the insistence that DHs are less valuable than awful fielding 1B/RF. for a guy who can at least fake an up the middle or 3B spot I see it (and that MIT be Montero at C).

    • YankeeJosh

      Michael Pineda has one year in the big leagues. Pitchers often regress when the league catches up to them and starting pitchers with two pitches are rarely elite. Pineda has potential but I feel it is easier to evaluate offensive talent earlier than pitching talent. When hughes first came up and in early 2009 he looked like a number 2. Joba for his half season looked like a number 2. Both regressed. It’s fair to assume Pineda might as well.

      Bottom line, I think Montero is a much safer bet to be upper level/elite than Pineda. Nobody knocks Montero’s bat. All the questions surrounding him are about his defense. Meanwhile, Pineda has a bigger question mark. He needs to work on his change-up to be a true #2, and that is no easy task. If it comes and Pineda solidifies the rotation, this trade will work out. If not, it could be a huge bust.

      Personally I wouldn’t have made the trade. I see the logic but right now Montero has all the tools to succeed as a bat while Pineda is still a work in progress as a pitcher. I hope I’m wrong, and I will be rooting hard for him, but I think people are expecting way too much from Pineda.

      • Bo Knows

        when hughes first came up he had his ass handed to him, same with IPK, Joba didn’t because he was throwing 100mph out of the pen. Its a very short list of pitchers who have done what Pineda has done and its a very nice list over all. On top of that, Pineda has two plus plus pitches that cause a ton of whiffs.

        I recommend going to this blog and read this article, it’ll definitely ease your fears:

        http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/.....omps-37742

  • Randy L

    Please…the trade is done. I understand that everyone has a thought/opinion/analysis, but we need to embrace and look at the upside. And more importantly, move on!

    There must be another interesting story…

    • Ted Nelson

      One can realize that the trade is done and still feel like analyzing it. What else is a Yankee blog going to do in the middle of January?

  • Urban

    Many Yankee fans were in love with the idea of Jesus Montero. We all do it, but it’s never a good idea to fall in love with prospects because most will ever live up to the hype (see Hughes, Phil and Chamberlain, Joba) and fans will be disappointed even when the players do contribute. Obviously, Cashman didn’t fall in love, and moved forward on a deal he believes will make the Yankees better in the coming seasons. I hope he’s right.

    The Yankees have tried trading Montero at least two times prior (and perhaps three times) all for pithing. That’s kind of rare for an elite prospect. And I think the reason why is as good as his bat is, they also recognize he doesn’t have a position. He can’t catch. He’s best suited as a DH, and that substantially reduces his “elite player” status.

    If Cashman really thought Montero was Miguel Cabrera and/or Mike Piazza, then Montero would still be a Yankee. That means despite the words, he doesn’t believe it. That’s his ceiling, and I’d guess there is less than a 5% chance he achieves that ceiling. Acceptable risk.

    • Ted Nelson

      A. You can be high on Montero for rational reasons and not just subjective love. Guy is a stud.

      B. Cashman might feel Montero has a great chance to become Miggy-like, and just feel that Pineda and Campos are more valuable than Montero and Noesi. What Cashman can’t do is predict the future, and I’m willing to bet he’s aware of this fact.

      C. For a hittinprospect of Montero’s pedigree I’m wiling to bet more than one in twenty approach their ceiling.

  • Steve (different one)

    I think most feel about the same (in varying degrees) things about the trade: it’s a fair trade “value” wise, but the Yankees took on more risk. The trade scares the snot out of me, but I do think the Yankees were right to not gamble that Hamels becomes available and wants to come to NY.

    This is from the ZIPs write up of the trade: “Which brings us to Jose Campos. He’s an 19 year old suspect of a different kind. He’s figured out the strike zone already, has 30 minor league starts under his belt and gets his share of strikeouts. All I can say about him right now is that I expect success at AA—possibly blowing through the level quickly. The point though is that I have no idea what his ceiling is. It’s certainly possible—if unlikely—that he alone could be worth Montero”

    Pitching prospects are destined to break your heart, but getting another arm like Campos in the deal makes it a little easier to swallow. They’ve doubled their chances at getting a top starter out of this deal.

    Also, I am reading whispers that the Yankees are still hanging on the periphery for Cespedes. I do wonder if he becomes back in play now.

    • Urban

      I wouldn’t let it scare you too much. I expect Montero to hit, and my guess is at the end of next season the conventional wisdom may be that the Mariners got the best of the deal since I think Montero will hit right away, and fans and the media never really have been good at assessing the value pitchers deliver compared to hitters. They generally overvalue the hitting and undervalue the pitching.

      Yet I think a couple years down the line it will probably be the Yankees who are viewed as the winner in the deal.

      I’m pretty much with Keith Law on this. There is more certainty with Montero, but the only way this deal could turn out to be a bust for the Yankees will be if Pineda blows out his arm. Even if Pineda delivers at the lower end of expectations, his age, ability and cost control make him very valuable.

    • GardnergoesYardner

      I think Cespedes would be an excellent option for the Yankees right now. His recent struggles in the Dominican League will most likely bring his price down somewhat, and if he demands immediate playing time, the Yankees can give him some because of the open DH slot. We can work him into right field and let Swish walk, and if we aren’t able to or choose not to resign Grandy, a Gardner/Cespedes/Prospect or cheap signing outfield would give the Yankees a stable outfield for the next few years at a resonable price.

      • Bo Knows

        I still don’t think he would be worth the cash, even if it decreases I bet that for the same amount of money the Yanks could get Soler and Concepcion

  • Paco Dooley

    Ortiz was the only DH with a WAR above 4. So he was a convenient choice to make the argument, but only 3 DHs had WARs above 3. If Montero is indeed a DH, he will have a hard time putting up an impressive WAR. That said, WAR undervalues the DH position and pitchers. Both can be keys to a quality championship/team, but neither position allows a player to accrue a very high WAR (or at least it is very hard).

  • doug

    better duo. hamels/Montero or Pineda/Fielder.

    • Steve (different one)

      It’s close, but Hamels is simply out of the Yankees’ control right now. As we saw with Lee, they can’t make him sign.

  • http://Riveraveblues Austinmac

    Those who think Montero has little injury risk must not see him as a catcher. Catchers have significant injury risks as Mauer, Cervelli, Matheny and others would demonstrate. I believe Montero has questionable mobility to play another position, including first.

    What’s done(or a,most done) is done. I am ready to see how it plays out. If it doesn’t their are many years to complain. If Pineda and Campos do work out we can all celebrate.

  • CJ

    I fear that Pineda only marginally outperforms noesi.

    • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

      My fear is that Montero turns out to be the greatest righthanded hitter since Rogers Hornsby, Noesi turns into Tim Hudson, while Pineda blows out his elbow on the first pitch he throws for the Yankees, and Campos never advances past A ball.

      None of that is going to happen!

      • CJ

        Not being that pessimistic but imagine
        Pineda 185 IP 3.80 era
        Noesi. 170 IP 4.10 era
        Montero .800 ops
        I think those are realistic projections without a bust and without montero becoming MVP.

        • Urban

          That wouldn’t surprise me the first year, since Pineda will be coming to the AL East and Yankee Stadium and Noesi will benefit from Safeco. I expect to read many fans reactions to Noesi’s stats, suggesting he’s almost as good as Pineda, and I will instantly know how little they understand baseball. Pineda is substantially better than Noesi. Using your numbers, even though there would only be a .30 difference in ERA, in reality it would be more like a full run difference in Pineda’s favor.

          I was more than happy giving Noesi a chance to replace Burnett, since I believe Noesi can post an ERA lower than Burnett has the last two years (not saying much). That doesn’t mean, however, that I think Noesi has high upside. Back-end pitcher, where Pineda is more front end. Those are hard to fine. It may, however, not happen in year one, and that will be the hardest part for many Yankee fans to deal with.

          • CJ

            NY is not exactly known for its patience. If montero gets off to a hot start, there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Pineda. I hope he starts the season as the 4, to get favorable pitching match ups with more run support to get wins and build confidence. Kuroda is a veteran he can go 2 behind CC. Hopefully Pineda will be the 2 in October but it’s not worth the risk in April may and June.

            • Ted Nelson

              Not sure external pressure is such a driving force in on field performance. If Pineda has gotten this far in competitive baseball, I think odds are probably close to even he’ll relish the challenge rather than wilt like a baby.

              • CJ

                Cmon Ted “external pressure” of NY is as real as the skyline. It has affected every pitcher in NY other than CC Pettite Cone El Duque Wells and Mo in the past 30 years. Randy Johnson ARod and Roger Clemens have all been affected.

                • Ted Nelson

                  It has impacted the players who fail and not the players who succeed? Is that seriously your contention?

                  Roger Clemens was a stud in NY at around 40 years old… How was he impacted? Same with RJ. Why is it pressure in NY and simply decline in small markets?

                  Why would a competitor not be motivated to do better with more pressure? I’m not saying all guys respond well to pressure, but you seriously believe all people besides an arbitrary handful freak out and perform worse under pressure?

                  • CJ

                    Some struggled some failed in NY only. It seems that some personalities have thrived in ny I think it’s impossible to predict. Mussina wasn’t phased but he insulated himself and offended Michael Kay personally.

          • Ted Nelson

            How about a little something to back up your assertion that we should expect almost a run and a half higher era for the same pitcher on the Yankees vs. the Ms? Just saying it doesn’t mean you understand baseball better than someone else. I agree that pitching for the Yankees is a bit tougher than the Ms… But to support a run and a half difference in ERA you’re going to need some evidence. That’ a HUGE difference.

            There’s absolutely some chance Noesi will be better than Pineda in the long term. Doesn’t mean it’s likely, but there’s a chance. Noesi is a mid-rotation prospect who could exceed expectations. Pineda could disappoint.

            • CJ

              I don’t know where I said 1.5 higher. I used a 3.8 or 3.7 or 3.6. I expect him to outperform noesi (4.1-4.25)but not enough to make up montero’s production.

              • Ted Nelson

                You said 0.3 better would actually be one run worse since Noesi is in Seattle. That is 1.3 , which rounds to 1.5.

      • canointhehof1stballot

        Urban: Ask yourself is Pineda has been our farmhand for the past few years and you’d followed him on his ascent to the majors and he had that rookie season for the yankees would you still be doubting his ability to succeed or would his expectations have been to be the next King Felix relative to how we’ve have set poor Jesus Montero up with a “be miggy or Manny” or be a bust tag. If anything him developing in Seattle, away from the pressure cooker that NY is probably accelerated his growth curve

  • Rich in NJ

    I don’t think Cashman’s track record in acquiring pitchers via trades (Weaver, Brown, Vazquez 2x) merits having much confidence in his judgment.

    That doesn’t mean that he can’t win this trade, but there is insufficient reason at this point to believe that he will.

    • Steve (different one)

      I don’t see how this argument means anything. Pineda is not Weaver. He is not Brown. He has nothing in common with those guys.

      I could turn it around and say Jack Z’s judgment on hitters has been so poor (Smoak, Figgins, Cust, etc) that we shouldn’t expect Montero to work out.

      • Rich in NJ

        We don’t know what Pineda will be without a changeup, do we?

        What we do know is that past performance is the best predictor of future performance.

        Is it an r of +1? No, but Cashman’s track record in this area is not good.

        • Steve (different one)

          “What we do know is that past performance is the best predictor of future performance.”

          We do know this. For players. For GMs? I don’t know that we know this. Maybe for overall performance, but even bad GMs make good moves from time to time. No GM makes a good move every time or a bad move every time.

          How would you explain Kenny Williams? Guy has made some of the best and worst trades of the last decade.

          AA made the best trade of last winter (wells for Napoli) and followed it up with one of the worst (Napoli for FF). What does this tell us?

          Same with Amaro. Getting Lee? Great. Trading Lee away? Mind numbingly stupid. Getting Halladay? Great. Howard’s extension? Horrible. Oswalt? Good. Ibanez? Bad.

          Jack Z should have taken Montero for Lee. That was a bad decision. So was signing Figgins. So was trading Morrow. By your logic, trading Pineda won’t work out.

          I can do this for almost every GM.

    • GardnergoesYardner

      That’s really not a reason to discount this trade. For one thing, most of those trades came when George was still controlling a lot of the baseball moves. If you want to credit Vazquez to him, sure, but Vazquez was an All Star in his first year in NYC, and wwas traded for Randy Johnson. In the second Vazquez trade, he was an All Star in Atlanta, and the decline in velocity was unexpected. Trading is a hit or miss thing, because most of the time you are giving up young players, and if the guy you get struggles, then you’ve lost a valuable asset for the next few years and you get hammered for it. Sure, Cash could lose the trade, but there is just as equal a chance that he could win it, and there is no basis of saying he made a bad trade based off his other desicions.

      • Rich in NJ

        I didn’t include the Jaret Wright acquisition or the Randy Johnson trade specifically because according to all reports those were George moves.

        OTOH, by the same standard, Cashman wanted the moves I mentioned.

        As for Vazquez, he did led MLB starters in abuse points for the 2003 season according to Baseball Prospectus, so there was a reasonable basis to be concerned about the arm issues that subsequently occurred.

        • GardnergoesYardner

          Ok, maybe George didn’t directly demand those trades, but he was putting immense amounts of pressure on Cashman at different times. Even if Cash chose to trade for Weaver or Brown, it was probably because he was under demand to get a starter. After Cashman got full control of baseball operations, we began to see his true plan come to light.

          The point is, every trade is judged differently. Trading is hard, and you never know what exactly you are going to get when trading for a young player. Judging Cash on the basis of all of his other moves is not logical because Pineda is not those pitchers and thus can’t be judged as such.

    • Urban

      Most GMs would have done those deals. That’s baseball.

      • Rich in NJ

        I’m not sure how we know that, but I think it’s fair to judge a GM on results.

        • David K.

          I’m with Rich in NJ on this point. Cashman has not distinguished himself in acquiring pitching via trades. In this trade, at best, this is an even trade on paper. But we carry more risk than Seattle. That is for sure because the risk of Pineda getting hurt or not developing a changeup is a lot higher than Montero failing to develop. Based on scouting reports, and on my own assessment of Montero’s skills, he is an elite talent. We probably haven’t had a hitter like him in our system in 40 years. The closest would be Robbie Cano (but he is so impatient) and Mattingly (but he was not a big prospect and then his career got cut short by the back injury).

    • Steve (different one)

      Just for the record, I think it’s ok to hate the trade. It’s a scary trade. Just saying that Pineda and Jeff Weaver have almost nothing in common.

    • Evan3457

      Sorry, but neither you nor any Cashman-basher gets to claim both Weaver AND Brown as evidence of his bad judgment of pitching talent.

      Why? Because he acquired Brown for a de-valued Weaver. If Weaver sucks, then getting Brown for him after his value dropped like a rock isn’t a bad deal. Brown was actually decent for them in 2004 before he punched the wall.

      So you can count Weaver against Cashman, but considering what was given in exchange, not Brown.

  • vxx

    FYI, the term “general consensus” is redundant. “Consensus,” by definition, means “general agreement.”

    This message brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

  • canointhehof1stballot

    Hey all this is my first post but I’ve been a regular reader for a few months, my thoughts on this trade are as follows. Montero is a power hitter with decent discipline especially for his age who’s best tool with I believe the consenus is that its his power will be at least partially dampened by his home park. Pineda however has the make you miss stuff(20+% swing and miss on his four seamer) and a put away slider that is basically required for a non ground ball pitcher to succeed in Yankee Stadium. I also expect that under Larry Rothschild who had A.J “I require a gps to find the strike zone” Burnett looking like a half decent pitcher at the end of last year, Pineda will develop his change up and also improve is already excellent control(2bb/9 last year) All in all if Campos reaches his purported ceiling than the yankees are the clear winners in this deal. If the day comes that we need a DH there is usually an abundance of above avg to phoenomnal bats available but cost controlled, club controlled high end pitching is available far less often. And to those who says next seasons FA SP crop is remarkable it is, but who honestly believes Kershaw and Lincecum are going anywhere?

  • Trip

    How can any Yankee fans be disappointed with this trade? The Yankees will always have offense and will develop other catchers as well (Sanchez). Pitching has been the biggest need for us it seems since 2004. I’m excited about this rotation for the first time in awhile.

    • canointhehof1stballot

      +1000, TY Trip finally a voice of reason

      • Paco Dooley

        I’ll send that sentiment. I’m thrilled to see them build in an area of major need. They have needed quality young pitchers for the last decade. A lack of them led to moves like signing AJ and trading for Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson…

    • Ted Nelson

      People can not like the trade because they disagree with your premises. Namely that balance is more important than overall value and run differential. Also that something being a trend for 7 years means it’s going to be that way forever.

      • canointhehof1stballot

        At the end of the day pitching wins championships a talent like Pineda is simply to scare to pass up for a commodity as replaceable as a positionless bat

        • Ted Nelson

          Hitting has nothing to do with championships? Interesting theory…

          All positionless bats are not equal. A .320 wOBA bat is easily replaceable without a position. A .370, .400 wOBA bat? No.
          Montero also plays one of the positions with the most offensive scarcity in baseball…

          You can like the trade without going to ridiculous lengths to twist the truth and make it seem like a no brainer. I don’t think that it was a terrible trade. I just wouldn’t have made it myself in all likelihood.

          • canointhehof1stballot

            At no point did I say it was a no brainer, nor did I twist the truth, I simply stated it. Addages become so because far more often than not they hold true. Also I never said hitting had nothing to do with championships, and alas we disagree because you view montero as a catcher when his position is DH where there is certainly no offensive scarcity. It’s a trade I and I am certain Brian Cashman would make 100 out of 100 times because impact arms under 25 that make less than 1 million are the scarcest commodity in all of baseball

            • Ted Nelson

              The comment I responded to asked how a Yankee fan could be disappointed with the trade. I pointed out that there is room to disagree and be disappointed. You came back with “pitching wins.” that is both twisting the truth and implying an agreement wi the original point (which you call a voice of reason above).

              Take a look at DH performance last season and tell me there’s no scarcity. In fact, offense has been getting scarcer overall for a while now while pitching has become less scarce.

              Somehow Jack z
              z made the exact opposite trade, so some people will disagree with you. I am one of those people.

          • DM

            1/13 — Ted responds to news of the trade with…
            “I have a feeling that we will remember today as the end of the Yankee dynasty.”

            1/13 — Ted assesses what was exchanged in the trade with…

            “The Yankees just traded a potential once in a generation bat for a potential front end starter… And threw in a potential front end starter in Noesi to boot.”

            (Notice he speaks as though it’s a 2-for-1 trade, and doesn’t mention Campos at all, a top 10, flame-throwing pitching prospect the Yankees received as well.)

            1/21 — Ted criticizes canointhehof1stballot for “going to ridiculous lengths” to support his views and make the trade “seem” a certain way.

            But isn’t that what Ted did? Hmmm…

            • Plank

              Bravo. That’s a lot of legwork for one F you.

  • josh

    The bottom line here is all offseason people on this blog have been complaining about how Cashman “hadn’t done anything” to improve the rotation. Now that he has those same people are complaining he gave up too much. Newsflash – #1-type pitchers don’t come cheap, the Mariners were not handing over Pineda for Romine or anyone like that, they needed an impact bat who was ML ready, thus we had to give Montero. For all the people who think Hamels will automatically come to NY after 2012, where did that Cliff Lee guy end up again after 2010?

  • Monterowasdinero

    Montero can add increased motivation and less fear of being benched for a slow start to his chances for much success with the Mariners. It will be interesting to see how he does catching King Felix and the rest of that staff if he is deemed worthy. He did have to catch Brackman and Betances who were often well off target.

    As for Pineda, the pressure being put on him for his changeup is ridiculous. He has different speeds and movement off an elite fb, a seeyalater slider and a curve. He doesn’t need a changeup to dominate – maybe to dominate in the post season. Control plus his current stuff plus health=solid #2. Run support and pitching with a lead more often will also help.

  • Anthony

    Nonody knows Pineda real well. Pitching on west coast he flies under radar a bit. In response to earlier comment by John, trading Al Leiter for Barfield wasn’t best of moves made or Jay Buhner for Phelps. This trade we are trading the unproven hitter who can’t play DEF real good for a No. 2 starter who’s 22 not 38 and has filthy stuff to translate into a No 1 and is still under team control thru 2016.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I seriously cannot wait for the season to start.

  • Anthony

    Nonody knows Pineda real well. Pitching on west coast he flies under radar a bit. In response to earlier comment by John, trading Al Leiter for Barfield wasn’t best of moves made or Jay Buhner for Phelps. This trade we are trading the unproven hitter who can’t play DEF real good for a No. 2 starter who’s 22 not 38 and has filthy stuff to translate into a No 1 and is still under team control thru 2016. It’s a win for both teams. Most people wanted the next power threat and YES we developed him do he had some buzz to him I think thats part of reason fans aren’t jumping thru hoops about the trade.

    • RetroRob

      You’re correct in that there is no comparison with the Phelps/Buhner deal. At the time of that earlier deal, which I remember quite well, I didn’t know too much about Buhner. Looking back at his overall minor league stats where he hit well at every level, including his .280/.350/.510 line with 31 HRs at AAA at the age of 22, it’s clear the deal never should have went down. I do wonder, though, how the sabermetric community would have read the deal if it happened today. Phelps was a sabermetric wet dream, because of his power and high walk rates. One of those players touted as more valuable than shows up in his low BA. I’m sure there would be some even today who would have been enticed by Phelps’ lefthanded swing at Yankee Stadium, but I’d like to believe they’d also recognize Buhner’s potential and youth (22 vs. 34) and that Phelps was basically a platoon player/DH/back-up 1B type.

      I have less issues now with the Barfield/Leiter trade. Barfield was still only 29 when the deal came down and was a better player than I initially gave him credit for. He remains to the day the best defensive RFer I’ve seen, not just on the Yankees, but anywhere. The arm is legendary, but he was an overall excellent defensive OFer, who probably should have won five or six straight gold gloves, and argument could be made that he should have won eight or nine in a row, even if some seasons he didn’t play in as many games. He was that much better than the competition. The only thing I can guess is they were giving the awards to CFers every year. As for Leiter, he didn’t become an effective pitcher until he was 29 in 1995, six years after the Leiter/Barfield trade. There was a point for several years that it was assumed Letier’s career was over. He didn’t start 30 games in a season until he was 30. One has to wonder what might have been if he had been as healthy in his 20s as his 30s. Leiter, along with Jamie Moyer and Frank Tannana, have had some of the more unexpected careers I’ve seen, and all for different reasons. Probably no coincidence they’re all lefties.

      So, yes, they should have held onto Leiter who would have provided more value than the two-and-half seasons they got for Barfield, who was already in decline, yet I don’t think the sudden end of his career at 31 was something to be expected. Looking back on it, it wasn’t the craziest deal the Yankees made during the 80s.

  • RetroRob

    Like many I was looking forward to seeing Jesus bat at Yankee Stadium, and I’m sure for mayt that quite a bit of the emotion attached to Montero is based on the belief and hope that he’ll be the next great, home-grown talent. Many fans hold their own closer. It’s because of that Pineda will probably not be given proper credit by many Yankee fans, unless he becomes a #1 starter and does it right out of the gate. As high as the expectations on Montero were, all of that has now been transferred to Pineda, and unlike Montero he will have little of the good will of being a home-grown Yankee.

    David Ortiz as a DH delivered a little more than a four fWAR. Albert Pujols at 1B delivered a touch over a five WAR, and both those guys had significant power seasons. In order for Pineda to deliver equivalent value as a pitcher, between four and five, he’d have to deliver seasons somehwere in the Matt Harrison and Justin Masterson range. Yet if he does that some fans will look on him as a failure and will be sure Montero would somehow be delivering more value as a Yankee, or that it was a mistake to trade him.

    One team may generate more WAR from the deal than the other, yet odds are both teams will benefit by filling a need that will help them in the long run. It’ll probably be at least five years before we can really assess the deal, unless one of the main players suffers a significant injury early on. Right now, most of the comments I’ve read seem to be emotion based.

    • canointhehof1stballot

      I understand I lived through the montero hype fest and bought it hook line and sinker. If you want to feel better, you tube some of pinedas games. Man his slider is filthy I mean Gibsonian with the hard, sharp break on it. Also a 23 year old who walks no one and K’s everyone usually benefits the team. And if that doesnt help you cure the blues look at Campo’s minor league lines… We have a GM who knows precisely what it takes to win World Championships I doubt many, if any, active GM’s have more world series than Cash, so just trust and believe 1/13/12 was the day the Yankees got their dynasty back.

  • David K.

    The trade was for unproven hitting talent for (basically) unproven pitching talent. Pineda has got the blazing fastball and nasty slider but, as we saw with Phil Hughes, and as any serious baseball fan knows, one year for a pitcher in the majors is almost meaningless. Pitchers are a lot more fragile than hitters. Cashman’s statement also shows that he concedes that Pineda has to keep developing for this trade to be considered a success from a Yankee perspective. Meanwhile Montero only got sixty some at bats too, so he hasn’t proven himself in the majors either. It boils down to whether you want to take a chance on someone else’s potential talent or your own potential talent. If this is the situation, I’d rather take my chances with my own farm kids. Add to this the fact that our lineup badly needed some youth infusion, so I still do not like this trade, even after thinking it over now for a while.