Greg Johns of mlb.com (via Twitter) has reported that the New York Yankees have traded C Jesus Montero & P Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for P Michael Pineda & P Jose Campos.
This trade obviously fills glaring holes for both teams as the Yankees desperately needed to improve their rotation while the Mariners needed a boost to their lineup. Of course, both players also move to stadiums that are not conducive to their particular skill sets. How will the move affect their fantasy appeal (as well as the players around them)? Let’s take a look:
New York Yankees Impact:
Pineda slides behind CC Sabathia as the Yankees #2 starting pitcher. While he went 9-10 over 171.0 innings in his rookie season, he posted a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 173 K. The luck metrics were basically split, as he had a .258 BABIP and 69.7% strand rate.
The numbers would’ve looked even better as he clearly tired down the stretch. After posting a 3.03 ERA in the first half of the year he ballooned to 5.12 in his final 10 starts. That said, there also has to be a little bit of concern with him moving away from Safeco Field:
- Home – 2.92 ERA in 77.0 IP
- Road – 4.40 ERA in 94.0 IP
Of course, he actually had a worse HR/9 at home (1.05) than on the road (0.86) and suffered from a 64.4% strand rate away from home. While he may allow a few more home runs pitching in Yankee Stadium his strikeout ability (9.11 K/9) and good control (2.89 BB/9) should help to offset those issues.
Even if he was to simply match last year’s ERA to go along with a slightly higher WHIP (due to an increased BABIP), pitching for the Yankees will likely yield significantly more victories. He was a solid SP3 prior to the trade, but now he looks like a great pick in that spot.
The acquisition does not have a major impact on the rest of the Yankees lineup as you figured the Yankees would use the DH to give guys like Alex Rodriguez a rest. Still, seeing them add a veteran would make sense.
However, you couple the addition of Pineda to this evening’s signing of Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees have seven starting pitchers. Two of Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia will have to move to the bullpen or get traded. You have to think that the Yankees are going to try and pawn Burnett off on someone, and there will likely be a taker. With a change of scenery you really never know.
Additionally, my guess is it would be Garcia who worked as a long man/spot starter until someone else fell flat. Of course, after what we saw from Hughes in 2011 anything is possible. Keeping extra arms around definitely makes sense.
Seattle Mariners Impact:
The first thing to note is the glaring hole that is now at the top of the Mariners rotation. Could this mean the team is comfortable breaking camp with Danny Hultzen in the rotation? Time will tell, but that idea is looking more and more realistic right now, barring other moves.
As for Montero he should immediately step in as the team’s DH, though you have to wonder if he will get an opportunity to earn AB behind the plate. The Mariners already have Miguel Olivo, John Jaso and Adam Moore as catching options, so they may be viewing him solely as a DH at this point. That is going to hurt his future fantasy value, obviously, though in Seattle he has a better chance of catching long-term.
Montero spent 2011 primarily at Triple-A, hitting .288 with 18 HR and 67 RBI in 420 AB. There is no question that he can handle the bat, though a 21.2% strikeout last season is a little bit concerning. It hasn’t been a major problem throughout his minor league career, though it did inflate to 24.6% in 61 AB for the Yankees. It is something to keep in mind, because if he can’t reduce the number he may have a problem hitting for a good average.
You also have to wonder how his power will handle the move to cavernous Safeco Field. He did show power at Triple-A in 2010 (21 HR and 58 total XBH in 453 AB) and has a ton of upside, but will his surrounding limit him? We’ll have to wait and see, but it is something to keep in mind. He should still reach the 18-20 HR plateau, though time will tell.
What Montero does gain is sliding immediately into the middle of the Mariners lineup, which will give him significant opportunities to produce. While it’s not a loaded lineup, he’ll be hitting behind Ichiro Suzuki and Dustin Ackley. That should provide him chances to drive in runs.
We all know the potential he has and I certainly wouldn’t downgrade him due to the trade thanks to where he should hit in the lineup and the chance to play every day.
What are your thoughts on the move? Who wins? Who loses?