Mailbag & Poll: Darvish vs. Pineda


(REUTERS/Darrell Byers)

Jesse asks: What are your thoughts on the theory that the reason Cashman did not go all in for Darvish is not because he didn’t like the idea of an imported pitcher, but because there were already rumblings of Pineda in pinstripes?

I’m not sure I buy that. Both Brian Cashman and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik have acknowledged that talks about the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade started at the winter meetings, which was just about a week before Yu Darvish was officially posted. We all knew he was going to posted so it wasn’t some big surprise, it was just a matter of when. The Yankees most likely had made up their mind about whether or not to pursue him well in advance of the meetings and submitting their $15M bid. I can’t imagine it was a spur of the moment thing.

I don’t think their half-hearted attempt to acquire Darvish had to do with anything more than their questions about his ability to succeed in MLB, with a new ball, a new mound, smaller stadiums, better hitters, a five-day rotation, etc. If they had truly wanted him, Pineda wouldn’t have stopped them. Trade talks were still in the early stages back then and weren’t guaranteed to work out, so they could have gone down both paths and determined which was the better fit at a later time. Passing on Darvish because of Pineda could have easily resulted in them getting neither pitcher.

I’d much rather have Darvish and Montero than Pineda and [insert random DH here], but these things don’t happen in a vacuum. It would have taken over $100M to land Darvish, who isn’t a sure thing. Pineda isn’t either, but he’s also making the league minimum and has an above-average MLB season under his belt. Nine-figure Darvish and dirt cheap Montero for the next six years, or dirt cheap Pineda and say a $5M DH for the next five years? I was a big proponent of pursuing Darvish (not my money!) and there’s a lot more upside in option #1, but also substantially more risk because of the money involved. I can understand why the team went with door #2 even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. This calls for a poll…

Which would you rather have?
View Results
Categories : Mailbag, Polls


  1. Craig Maduro says:

    A garbage DH in 2012? I’ll bitch and grumble, but I’ll get over it. Extend that same neglect to the DH spot through 2016 and there are going to be a ton of unhappy fans – not that the FO will necessarily care, I’m just saying.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Don’t you think ARod will be the DH by 2014-16? Have to think that was at least a small part of this decision.

      • Craig Maduro says:

        That’s what I’m hoping for – hell let’s move that date up to 2013. He definitely doesn’t qualify as a “~$5 million DH” though.

        • Steve (different one) says:

          Very true, though I guess you could make that “$5M 3Bman….”

          Or Cano to 3B and a dirt cheap 2Bman….

          • Craig Maduro says:

            Perhaps. Maybe the Yankees have thought ahead that far. Hopefully one of the second baseman can develop into a big league player by 2013 or 14.

            I prefer David Adams if he can stay healthy. I hate to make this comparison on a Yankees site (gotta give props where props are due though), but Adams makes me think of a poor man’s dustin pedroia (forgive me). pedroia is a nugget, but I doubt anybody would complain about that.

            • Steve (different one) says:

              Yeah, I think most of us would sign up for a poor man’s Pedroia. How is his hairline?

            • Genghis says:

              I am surprised you consider it possible the Yankees wouldn’t have “thought ahead that far.” We’re talking about a business dealing in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. It’s not run by casual fans.

              • Craig Maduro says:

                You’re right. I didn’t really mean it in terms of them neglecting anything. I’m just not convinced that they have necessarily planned on moving Robinson Cano off of 2B at any point relatively soon. All teams definitely think ahead, but there is so much stuff that can happen between point x and point y.

        • Monterowasdinero says:

          But he may qualify as garbage by then. Do folks think ARod is going to be a great DH in 2014-16?

          I don’t.

          • Craig Maduro says:

            He’ll be better than Damon, Matsui and Jorge f’n Vazquez. Perhaps that’s not saying much though – especially when he’d be making 10x what those three, combined, will make in 2012.

    • CJ says:

      I think Girardi will bitch about a “garbage DH” too based on his recent comments.

  2. Steve (different one) says:

    The poll is going to overwhelmingly favor Darvish/Montero b/c the money means nothing to the people answering…

    • Steve (different one) says:

      That’s my guess anyway….Especially the posting fee, since it doesn’t even hit the “payroll”.

      • PinedaColada says:

        Guess you were wrong seeing as how it’s actually favoring the Pineda trade pretty heavily which I believe is the right move out of the two. Maybe it is because I never really got into the whole prospect hugging Montero thing

        • Steve (different one) says:

          It’s not like it’s the first time nor the last time. Just figured the way the question was asked would favor the first option. I am very excited to watch Pineda, and I voted for the first one simply because it’s not money.

        • Sayid J. says:

          Eh. If you had this poll 3 months ago, the results would be different. People are voting for the Pineda/DH option because that’s what the Yankees did and they want to believe the Yankees did the right thing.


        • JU says:

          Liking the best hitting prospect the Yankees have had in decades is not “prospect hugging.” When he turns into one of the best all-around in hitters in MLB for the Seattle Mariners maybe you will understand the difference.

    • ElMaestro says:

      I would choose Pineda and Mr.X vs. Darvish and Montero because if Pineda crash and burn all we will have is regret of losing Montero. If darvish crash and burn you will have another mammoth contract that means less flexibility in the near future, when a lot of good pitchers will be free agents.

      • JAG says:

        I voted Darvish + Montero, but I’d really have liked Darvish + Pineda. There’s no reason a Pineda deal couldn’t have still worked out even if the Yankees had won the bidding. It could have been Darvish over Kuroda, not Darvish over Pineda.

  3. Juke Early says:

    The only thing lamer than bidding 15 million for Darvish, is the ongoing tradition of slapping a uni shirt over a @#%&*! shirt & tie. They both make the doer look stupid, albeit a wealthy material entity. BTW eff the recent past. The NYY better be gearing up to get Cole Hamels & add a serious bat & glove player in 2013—if not July. Not acting like some nerd, too chickensh*t to ask a girl to the prom.

    • Landry says:

      I would put your post on the lame list.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      Ryan Braun.

      Let’s get him. The Brewers’ World Series window is slammed shut, their system is thinner than Chris Berman’s comb over and the Yankees have the juice to make this type of deal happen.

      • Plank says:

        They just signed Aramis Ramirez. They have Grienke, Marcum, and Gallardo. They have Braun, Weeks, Hart, and Morgan. Losing Prince hurts, but they are still really good going in to next year. Definitely not getting rid of Braun.

        • Craig Maduro says:

          Well, Braun won’t be there for 50 games in 2012 and that is going to bury them this season (The NL East is going to account for 60% of the playoff field.) There is also a high possibility that Greinke and Marcum will be gone after this season as well further sinking their chances in 2013 and beyond. You’re right about Gallardo, Weeks and Hart (I’m not recognizing Morgan as a game changer), but that’s still a long road of mediocrity – esp. with such a lack of minor league talent.

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          “Really good” is stretching it, IMO. Last season was the Brewers’ best chance at a title. Now they’re probably an 85-win team, and the window will close further after the upcoming season.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      There are a lot of things you could say about the trade, but one thing you certainly can’t call it is “chickenshit”. It might be the least chickenshit trade of the last decade. A straight up challenge trade for 2 young studs. The trade was extremely ballsy.

  4. CJ says:

    Pineda and a $10 million DH

  5. O Coelho says:

    A few comments:

    1. I wanted to keep Montero but the reality is there’s no room for him in the line-up – he’s not a good defensive catcher and A-Rod is certainly the DH for years to come. If he could play RF or 3B then it would be a different story. But he can’t.

    2. Two #1/#2 starters are potential FA’s after 2012 – Cole Hamels and Matt Cain. All reports indicate Cain will re-sign with the Giants. The Yanks will most likely target Hamels as their #1 free agent priority after 2011.

    Would you rather have Hamels and Pineda or Darvish and Montero?

    • Mark in VT says:

      Totally agree with you here. Cole and Pineda > Yu and Montero.

      • dean says:

        What if they made the trade to try and avoid having to sign Hamels.

        • Thomas Cassidy says:

          Only time can tell. Montero and Pineda have the tools to be stars, and I’m not sold on Darvish until he can prove he can pitch over here. His stats in Japan are great, but that really means nothing at all.

    • jjyank says:

      That’s a good point, I never thought of it that way. My mouth is already watering at the possibility of this 2013 rotation:


      Of course you can interchange Hughes in the 5 spot with someone else if he doesn’t pan out, but that front 3 will be among the best (if not the best, if Pineda continues to develop) in the game.

      I’m not worried at all about the DH position, hence why I voted for the Pineda trade. A-Rod will need reps in the DH slot, and even if A-Rod can stay on the field, it is so much easier to find an above average DH than it is a frontline pitcher.

      I was a huge Montero fan, don’t get my wrong. But the fact is, he is still a prospect. He could hit 30 bombs next year, or he could do what Justin Smoak did last season. The reality is that nobody will know who won this trade until at least 3-5 years from now.

  6. Mike HC says:

    I think the obvious answer is Darvish and Montero, but the question should really be Darvish and Montero or Pineda and $100 million dollars worth of free agent money. If the Yanks aren’t going to spend that money and just pocket it, then I take door 1, if they are going to spend it elsewhere, then 2.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:


      The other way of saying it is that the poll is flawed because it specifies a $5 million DH. I see that as an issue because it specifies something we don’t know, and, worse, is something the Yankees are claiming they won’t do, with only $1-2mm slotted for DH.

      $100 million in FA money for a DH, RF, or 3B becomes perhaps another story. Money kept in pocket? Not so interesting.

  7. JoeyA says:

    IMO EVERYTHING re: Montero vs. Pineda, or Montero & Darvish vs. Pineda & 5M DH, or any other debate you can conceive rests solely on Montero’s ability to catch. if he isn’t a C, it’s not even close. if he is a C, I’ll take Darvish & Jesus over Pineda & whomever.

  8. fin says:

    Stupid question. We have no idea what the Yankees might do with their resources. The question would be more fair with a cheap Pineada and a $100mil dollar hitter, as opposed to a cheap Montero and a $100 million dollar Darvish. If the yankees didnt sign that stupid contract with Jeter, they could have paid Reyes. Are you going to tell me Montero and Darvish are a better bet than Pineda and Reyes? Comeon. For all we know, a young superstar hitter becomes available because of contract issues and they can now trade a Banuelos for him and pay the contract becasue they have the cost controlled Pineda.

  9. STONE COLD Austin Romine says:

    As much as it initially killed me to see Jesus Montero get traded , it would have killed me even more to see a batted ball ricochet off his hand breaking or severely fracturing it.

    Even Seattle isn’t going to take that chance in investing into him as the full time starting catcher for 2012.

    Look … Before this post gets too long winded knowing what we all know now I’d hope that the Yankees make a serious run at Cole Hammels IF he reaches free agency next year.

  10. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    I vote c. Pineda AND Darvish and random DH.

  11. paul a says:

    Darvish has proved NOTHING. All we know is he could be another Japanese flop.AT Least Pineda has proven himself for at least one season.

  12. gageagainstthemachine says:

    Didn’t read all the comments, so sorry if someone already posted this, but I feel like this poll is a moot point. Not because the trade already happened and the pieces are in place, but because I think it was pretty damn obvious the Yankees did not see Montero as a long term catcher and there was no true position for him (and simply dh’ing the kid wasn’t in his best interest or the Yankees’). Add to that Darvish is totally unproven (although I think he willbegood and do just fine. $100 million fine? We’ll see). Pineda/Montero swap was best for all parties involved and didn’t break the bank. This is why Cashman is the GM and we’re just commentors. No offense to anyone on this debate, but can’t we just drop it? Havin the same argument over and over doesn’t change a thing. I was as high on Monrero’s future as a Yankee as the next guy, but that ship has sailed. Let’s get back to talking about the team we have and the things that can be done, not what’s already done. Again, no offense to anyone but the Pineda/Montero posts/comments are played out. Anyone else not want to beat this poor rented mule anymore. It’s had enough!

    • CJ says:

      “that’s why cashman is the GM and the rest of us…” is irrelevant. Because it’s a blind bid process Cashman could have been drooling for Yu and still missed by 1 million or even $34, if he bid 50-51. The $15m bid was pointless though but there is no way to guarantee winning a blind bid. We can say now well he could have bid 55 and won but there was no way of knowing if Texas bid $55,000,034. It’s easier to take missing out on Yu without ever seriously being in it.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      The problem is “the things that can be done” has a pretty large beta depending on whether the Yanks are serious about the $189mm ceiling for one of the upcoming years to avoid triggering the luxury tax.

      If they are, then the $ they saved on Darvish is staying in their pockets. Boo.

      If not, they will spend it as needed. Forget a $5mm DH…how about an awesome RF, 3B (Alex to DH) or full time DH? Or Hamels next year? Awesome.

      The poll is flawed bc a $5mm DH isn’t applying the money saved on Darvish. Worse, it doesn’t even look like something the Yankees are inclined to do if you believe they only want to spend $1-2mm more on a bat.

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      The mourning period for Jesus is one year.

  13. FeHRSE says:

    Igawa. No pitcher from Japan has ever been worth the money paid him.

  14. CMP says:

    The poll doesn’t make sense unless you pair Pineda with a $15+ million dollar per year DH because including the posting fee, that’s what Darvish would have costed the Yankees.

  15. PinedaColada says:

    But in 2015 Mr. Pineda will win the CY Young and Montero will still be develOping his backup catcher skills.

  16. Thomas Cassidy says:

    2013 rotation:


    Hopefully they all pan out. That’s a dangerous rotation.

    DH Spot
    Miguel Montero

    I’d like that line up, too.

  17. Reggie C. says:

    I’d trust Pineda to deliver a sub 1.30 WHIP season going forward. Darvish might be as good as Pineda, but can we reasonably expect Darvish to deliver a Pineda 2011-like season as a baseline?

    Can we just put a stop to these Hamels-in-pinstripes pipedream. The Steinbrenners are aiming at cutting the luxury penalty rate. Hamels’s signing would kill the chances of getting the team budget in line for the reduction.

    • Cy Pineda says:

      totally agree… Hamels is NOT coming here IMO. It’s Banuelos’ opportunity in 2013 and Betances. Not another $140 mil+ contract on their books. looks more like:


      • CMP says:


        Hamels is unique in that he’s a young, great, left handed number 1 starter and has had success in a big market and in the postseason. If he becomes a FA, I think the front office would scrap their $189 million budget plan and go get him.

        3/5ths of the rotation would still be made up of inexpensive arms in Pineda, Nova and someone from the Hughes/Banuelos/Betances group.

        • OldYanksFan says:

          they will stick to the plan, see what happens in 2014 with their young pitching (and CC and Pineda), be able to bring the payroll back up to $220m in 2015, and have an extra $60m (savings) to invest in the team.

          The $189m line isn’t so they can be cheap, it’s to save money to invest in the future.

  18. Rich in NJ says:

    A few big money contract given to players who are not producing up to that contract, have really limited their options if they want to get under the $189m threshold.

  19. Gonzo says:

    What about the Lawrie vs Montero poll at Fangraphs? I found myself voting for Lawrie. I probably would have traded Montero for Lawrie straight up too. Am I nuts?

    • CMP says:

      No you’re not nuts. I think Lawrie over Montero is a no brainer since he can actually play a position other than DH.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      You know, the Marcum/Lawrie trade is something I hadn’t really thought about in terms of the Pineda/Montero trade. The Yankees did MUCH better than the Brewers. Pineda is younger, much cheaper, with a much higher ceiling than Marcum, yet Lawrie is comparable to Montero…

    • Rich in NJ says:

      I would rather have traded Montero for Lawrie than Pineda.

  20. PinedaColada says:

    Lawrie is way better all around than Montero

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      Shakes head in disbelief. Work Montero’s butt off at 1B and he will be passable for the doubters. His catching is not as bad as the group-think folks here have settled on.

      I really hope Montero’s bat becomes elite and he catches as well as the great Jorge Posada (great blocker, cannon arm, cat-like quickness). Sure.

      • CMP says:

        I don’t understand how you can say “his catching is not as bad the group-think folks here have settled on?”

        I’ve never read one scouting report or expert opinion that wasn’t from the Yankees who thought he even had a remote chance to remain as a catcher. In fact, after the Yankees brought him up for the last 25 games or so last year, they only let him catch 22 innings which IMO was because they wanted him to avoid showing the rest of baseball what they already knew.

        • Monterowasdinero says:

          Maybe so, but I saw him catch quite a bit at Scranton and on the road and at ST and I just didn’t see the horrible side.

          He was a 21 year old AAA catcher last year and Posada didn’t catch for us until he was 25/26. I think more patience could have been rendered. No one can catch AJ well. Montero could catch CC, Mo and others just fine. I think it was very doable.

          The rest of baseball sends scouts to AAA from April to September.

  21. Crosetti32 says:

    Still waiting for the first post on Cashman’s woes.

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      It’s been posted but no one followed up on it. At least it wasn’t censored!

    • CMP says:

      I haven’t seen it spoken about on this site other than from a few commenters the other day and one of the writers got a little testy debating whether or not it was worth discussing.

      It looks pretty obvious that Cashman screwed around with the wrong person who shook him down for money and it cost him his marriage.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        We almost never post about personal lives because no one really cares. If they do something illegal (like Joba’s DUI), sure, that’s newsworthy. This is a waste of bandwidth.

        • CMP says:

          I don’t particularly think its newsworthy either unless it interfered with his job performance in some way which it appears it did not, but in all fairness, I remember reading posts about Cashman repelling down the side of some building so to say you never post about personal lives isn’t really accurate.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            I don’t think doing something for charity qualifies as someone personal life. That’s a public event.

            • CMP says:

              When you’re a public figure like the GM of the NY Yankees, your personal life is a public event as witnessed by the coverage of this story on the front page of ESPN.com, SI.com, Sportingnews.com, CBSsports.com not to mention the NY Times, Daily News and NY Post.

              • CJ says:

                I’m not interested in his personal life but I don’t think his admirers can call him “ninja” anymore. This has to hurt much worse than trade talk leaked to Jon Heyman.

        • choochoo says:

          You are right on point Mike. Truly a private, non sports/baseball matter. However with that said and agreed upon by nearly 100% of the people here, at least once per month like clockwork–someone here will drop the You Tube link of Melky Cabrera in a hotel roomn with a hooker, as he eats peanuts. It generates a few chuckles and no one is offended by it, nor is it ever removed.

      • Mike HC says:

        I thought it was pretty interesting but I also know RAB likes to stay away from non baseball related tabloid stuff for the most part. Either way, Cashman obviously messed up, and considering his talent for being the Yanks GM, I hope it doesn’t effect his job performance at all.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      Cashman and his wife have been legally separated and living apart for around a year now. So a male human being was in the pocess of divorce and had a lady in the meanwhile. Is the really news? Happens over 5,000,000 times a year.

  22. dennis says:

    sick article on Miguel Andujar at scout.com the guy could be a beast!!!!

  23. Urban says:

    Was that actually a real theory? Sounds more like a fan-created thing.

    The Yankees had no interest in paying $100 million for Darvish, and I don’t blame them. On the other hand, in the unlikely event the Yankees offer turned out to be the highest, then they wouldn’t have followed through on Pineda.

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      Would they have followed through on Kuroda?


      • Urban says:

        Good question. As I think it through again, if they landed Darvish they still might have gone for Pineda in the attempt to build a power three with CC, Davish and Pineda that could hopefully carry the rotation for a few years.

        Probably more likely, though, is they would have considered Darvish the #2, still would have signed Kuroda and kept Montero. I don’t think it was an easy decision to move Jesus and they would have felt less pressure to do so with Darvish on board.

        All just guesses!

    • CMP says:

      I would have still traded for Pineda if they won the post for Darvish at $15 million. They wouldn’t have had to sign Kuroda in that scenario.

  24. Rookie says:

    I’d prefer Door #3 — $100+ million Darvish, Dirt cheap Pineda, and another DH.

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