So, wow … Pineda for Montero, indeed

The Mariners acquired power-hitting catcher Jesus Montero from the Yankees on Friday for Michael Pineda. (Getty Images)I was on the Hot Stove Show on 710 ESPN Seattle last night when co-host Matt Pitman asked what I thought the Mariners would do if they didn’t get Prince Fielder. And, I’m happy to say now, my reply was that a trade made more sense than chasing some of the available — and aging — free-agent DH types like Vlad Guerrero or Johnny Damon.

I mentioned the Mariners’ surplus of pitching could be used to land a young bat that fit more in the long-term plan than a one-year deal with Carlos Pena or some other Boras client that would cost a lot in free agency.

But, no, I really did NOT foresee any such move coming like a bolt of lightning less than 24 hours later on Friday the 13th, when Jack Zduriencik dealt Michael Pineda for Yankees thumper Jesus Montero in a blockbuster four-player trade.

You can say a lot of things about this deal, but, well … wow. That sums up the initial gut reaction. I didn’t see Pineda being the centerpiece of a Mariners trade, assuming they’d use one of the less-proven prospects like Taijuan Walker or Erasmo Ramirez.

But then again, I didn’t know that they’d land a big-time power hitter like Montero in return. As the smart folks say, you have to give up something to get something. And both teams bit the bullet hard on this deal.

It’s interesting that many Yankees fans are bemoaning the loss of Montero, while the majority of Mariners fans seem upset at losing Pineda. Depends who you’re most familiar with on that one, I have a feeling.

I saw a full season of Pineda and am sorry to see him go, no doubt. The big kid was both fun and formidable. He was the essence of a power pitcher and he worked hard. He also wore down in the second half last season, even as the Mariners limited his innings, his fastball dipping into the 90 mph range at times after the early season high-90s heat.

I expected Pineda to come back stronger this year, but there’s no guarantee with any pitcher regarding health. Especially youngsters who throw that hard.

So maybe the Mariners gave up a future Cy Young winner. Or maybe they gave up a youngster who’ll never live up to the immense early expectations. For Pineda’s sake, I hope he does well. He’s a great kid who deserves success.

From a Mariners perspective, Montero has equally tremendous potential — and some questions — as well. This is a 22-year-old with big-time power who is athletic enough to play catcher. Whether he plays catcher well enough to handle that position full-time in the Majors remains one of those questions.

My guess is he’ll split time at DH and catcher much of this season, as he did with the Yankees in his brief — but impressive — September callup last fall. But without a doubt, he’ll slot immediately into the middle of the Mariners lineup. He’s the bat Zduriencik talked of landing this offseason and while there will likely be growing pains, the Mariners will indeed grow with a young nucleus that now includes Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Justin Smoak and Montero.

Think of it this way. The Mariners started last season with Jack Wilson at second. Ackley will now fill that role.

They opened the year with Milton Bradley in left field. Carp takes over there.

Smoak was at first base from the opener last year, but could — and should — be a much better player if he lives up to expectations.

And Montero? Pencil him in at DH, where Jack Cust spent the first half last year doing next to nothing power-wise. And Montero will be under the Mariners control for the next six years.

Those are solid upgrades at four positions offensively, which is much needed. Can the Mariners overcome the loss of Pineda in the rotation? That’s a tough one initially, especially if they don’t sign one of the still-available free-agent arms. But even as it stands, they added another potential starter in Hector Noesi, the 24-year-old right-hander also coming in the trade.

And I suspect replacing Pineda eventually with a Danny Hultzen and James Paxton or Erasmo Ramirez — and eventually Taijuan Walker — will be far easier than finding big-time hitters to come to Safeco.

And signing a free-agent pitcher to come perform in Safeco will be far easier than convincing Prince Fielder or the next big bat that comes available.

That’s what this deal was about. The Mariners have pitching strength. they should always be able to add pitching. They need offensive help. So they used a strength to bolster a weakness. And, as always, time will tell how it all pans out.

11 Comments

I like the addition of the a big bat but for Pineda I’m really not sure about that. Also is that now four catchers on the ML roster with Monterio, Jaso, Moore and Olivio too. Do you think there will be a trade coming for another bat maybe? Are these the only catchers we have or is there another one I’ve missed?

Would Smoak(injury prone,look at last season) serve better at DH while Montero(questionable catching abilities) at 1st?

Pingback: Analysis And Background Of The Montero/Pineda Deal | Columbus Sports Radio

I think/hope this will work out nicely for the M’s. We have lots of pitching on the way and needed a big bat. I’m optimistic (fingers crossed) that Jesus will develop his skills behind the plate. Who knows maybe he’ll turn into the next Pudge Lol.

It seems as if jack got took. Why didn’t he look for a power hitting 3rd baseman? Outfielder? Why not talk to reds about votto for Pineda? I don’t see this as a good trade. It is not the trading of Pineda it is the failure to look beyond the Yankees and the hype they and the ny press give to their prospects. Why does jake feel a compulsion to trade with them? He got took

I love this acquisition. Could we move the fences in a bit to make this a home run park? Sluggers don’t want to move here. Seriously…we could move the fences in easier than moving them out. Hey Greg…its been done in other parks. Do you have any clout? Tell the management we fans want to see homeruns!!!!

I really like this trade, the off-season moves and the direction the Mariners are taking… GJFinch, no need to go after a big name, big contract player. The Mariners have Montero for 6 years at least, and without looking up his contract, I’m assuming less than 1mil a season at the moment. You have to remember the financial and business side of baseball.

If you are going to make a trade, why not trade Felix now. He’s controlled for three more years and probably would have brought a bigger package from the Yankees that would have included Montero, Nick Swisher and Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos. If you are going to win in a division with the Rangers and Angels you need all-star players all over the diamond. Keeping Felix while trading a young controlled starter for a guy who will most likely be a DH who may be a 5 WAR/year player is a bigtime risk that probably will not bear the appropriate reward.

This deal confirms we are the bottom of the barrel and will be for a long time. We groom players for other teams and take on there over priced washed up free agents. This front office has done what no other could do since 1977. I was glad when A-rod left followed by JR. I’m over it and will close the door on them tell this front office is gone. I’m no longer there whipping boy! Now to go burn my M’s gear and ditch the M’s plates on my truck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS this kid will never hit home runs in the park that is the largest playing in the MLB.
We will learn how the fans of the Pirates feel! M’s your a joke!!!!!!!!

I’ve got a good feeling that this acquisition is going to pay dividends for the Mariners. Please don’t get me wrong, Pineda was my favorite young pitcher and will be an excellent producer for a long time. there’s more than on Cy Young award in his future. But, where else could they go to get this kind of elite young hitter under team control while the rest of these youngsters begin to get it together as well. Look for a winning season in ’13 and contention in 14

Its about time we went for a young good bat. Anybody tired of the washouts that we got in the past? Remember Richie Sexton? Lots of dollars down the drain for a lot of strikeouts (he was a great rally killer). Good pitching and no hitting got us last place. Aging players are not exciting to watch as they lose their skills. Let the other teams pay for them. Lets support the new guys and see what they can do.

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