Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jesus Montero, Michael Pineda and Francisco Liriano

Jesus Montero can flat out hit,
but his defense is lacking. He may
wind up at first base or  DH.
Michael Pineda faded in the
second half last year, but still
struck out more than a batter
an inning.

An interesting trade made this weekend (pending physicals): the Yankees swapped hitter-without-a-position Jesus Montero to Seattle for young power starter Michael Pineda.

Interesting because the trade involves two guys widely viewed as future stars. Montero is nominally a catcher, but there is a great deal of doubt that he can stick behind the plate. But there is no doubt that he can hit, and the M's, who have done pretty well at developing starting pitchers, are sorely lacking in impact bats. And the Yankees have a wealth of catching prospects and no real other place to put Montero in the lineup.

And interesting because last spring, when there was a flurry of rumor that the Twins were shopping Francisco Liriano around, Montero struck me as one trade target that I would not complain about.

This trade strongly suggests that the Yankees wouldn't have made such a deal even up.

Pineda has one year of service time, which means he has two years before he even becomes arbitration eligible. Lirano last spring was two years away from free agency. Even if one regards Liriano, as of the end of the 2010 season, and Pineda today as equivalent talents, the difference in financial leverage makes Pineda far more valuable.

Ken Davidoff of Newsday reported this weekend that the Cubs were after Montero PLUS talent from the Yankees in exchange for Matt Garza. Again, Garza is two years from free agency; Pineda is more valuable.

1 comment:

  1. Pineda's struggles in the second half of the season may explain why Seattle was willing to make this trade. He is the classic rookie who had a hot start that kept his overall numbers up. But if you extend that second half into next season and the rest of his career, the Yankees are going to be disappointed.

    He did have a higher k/9 in the second half, but he struck out batters at almost exactly the same rate. What changed was that he pitched fewer innings. He appears to have word down. He is young and his stamina may build as he matures. But if he is a guy who produces less than 6 innings per start, he isn't going to be anything special.