The Seattle Mariners recently traded their young, healthy, all-star starting pitcher Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees. I heard general manager Jack Zduriencik wanted to trade for a player named “Tebow”, but after realizing no major league baseball player has that name, he had to settle for a guy named Jesus.
Jesus Montero, a filled-with-potential yet unproven hitter, is who the Mariners received in the trade. There were two other prospects involved in the trade, but I believe they were thrown in just so the Yankees wouldn’t be charged with highway robbery. Look, I’m not going to say Montero won’t be good. As I already stated, he has potential. He played in 18 games last season and hit .328 with four home runs. Despite it being a small sample size, those statistics show Montero’s potential to be a player who hits for power and average. However, that’s all he can do. And he has yet to prove he can do that over a 162 game season.
Montero is a 22 year-old designated hitter. He’s not talented enough to play catcher, he’s not athletic enough to play left or right field, and he isn’t named Tebow. The only position you can put him at is first base, and with Mark Teixeira having that position on lockdown in New York, he became the perfect piece to trade for a much-needed starting pitcher.
Enter Michael Pineda, the 23 year-old all-star flamethrower that New York received in the trade. Most people don’t know this (because most people don’t pay attention to the Seattle Mariners), but the M’s have a horrible offense. Scratch that…they have a historically horrible offense. Over the last three seasons, the Mariners has been in the bottom five in every major offensive category. Other than second baseman Dustin Ackley, Seattle has zero offensive weapons. Read that last sentence again: Other than our SECOND BASEMAN, we have zero offensive weapons. (Ichiro is still better than his stats show, but he’s not the “Ichiro” that he once was.)
As a life-long Seattle Mariners fan, the only thing I had to look forward to this upcoming season was watching the 1-2 punch of Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda, and now that’s gone. Mariner fans like to discuss amongst ourselves how low our pitcher’s ERAs can be while still maintaining a losing record. “Can a pitcher really post an ERA below 2.50 and have a losing record?!?” Doug Fister did just that last season before being traded to the Detroit Tigers, and Felix nearly pulled off this feat in 2010, a year in which he won the American League Cy Young Award. (He posted a 2.27 ERA, finished with a 13-12 record, and won the Cy Young. Yes, you read that right.)
Michael Pineda might not be as great as Felix Hernandez, but he was the perfect complement to Felix’s style. That Felix/Pineda combo would have been difficult for any offense to face in a three or four game series, regardless of how pathetic the Mariner’s offense may be. And now the “2” of our 1-2 punch is a Yankee. New York received a legit number-two starter in exchange for a position player without a position that the Yanks had no room for. Plus those random prospects that prevented the highway robbery charges. Well played, Brian Cashman.
As a Mariner fan, I’m looking forward to the day when I have a talented team to root for. But giving up borderline aces for unproven designated hitters is making that day seem farther and farther away.