Yankees Win Narrowly In Blockbuster Swap

Yankees Win Narrowly In Blockbuster Swap

Trades like the one on Friday night are rare in the baseball world. Exchanging two of baseball's best young talents, the Yankees and Mariners swapped righty, Michael Pineda and catcher, Jesus Montero. Both of them are shy of their 23rd birthday and figure to be impact players in 2012. It was a painful deal for both clubs, and one you could argue could alter each team's fate for the next decade.

Anyone who claims definitively that they know which team comes away the winner in Friday's big swap is either ill-informed or overly confident. The Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda deal is one of the most fascinating deals in recent memory and one that could turn out any number of ways in the long haul.

I spoke to a number of baseball people after the trade went down on Friday night, and most saw the Yankees as the victors. It's far from that clear cut, however. It's a gamble for the Yankees to surrender their best chip for a less than completely proven pitching commodity in Pineda. But, you rarely come across opportunities to even sniff a talent as impressive as Pineda in the trade market. So, as tremendously gifted as Jesus Montero is at the plate, you just can't blame New York for pulling the trigger. It surely was hotly debated in their front office, but ultimately more value was placed on a potential franchise pitcher than a potential all-star hitter.

Jesus Montero will hit in the big leagues. He's made that pretty clear already. Seattle desperately needs an offensive boost and he'll give that to them immediately in 2012. His position is still a question mark, but his offensive numbers will be gaudy regardless of his position.

As for Michael Pineda, as long as he stays healthy it's very difficult not to see him as a frontline starting pitcher for the next decade. He challenges for the title of best raw stuff in baseball, has an extra large, durable frame, and will be just 23-years-old on opening day. He's a special talent, and only a special bat like Montero could net him for the Yankees.

So, if you'd like to call the deal a draw on the surface, then consider the other names involved. The Yankees sent righty, Hector Noesi to Seattle with Montero, and the Mariners surrendered righty pitching prospect, Jose Campos. Noesi, like Montero, will help Seattle right out of the gate in 2012. He has the upside of a number three type starter, and reports have him touching 97 mph with his fastball in winter ball. Typically he'll live around 90-94 mph, and he'll show a good mix with his curveball, slider and changeup. He has the arsenal of a high quality big league starter and he's ready to do that job right now.

As happy as Seattle likely is with Noesi, New York may be even happier with Jose Campos. Some industry sources I spoke to essentially compared his acquisition to replacing Arodys Vizcaino, who they sent to the Braves in the Javier Vazquez deal. The 19-year-old righty stands at 6-foot-4 and is very projectable. He currently works at 92-95 mph with his fastball and carries the velocity well into later innings. In 2011, he reached 97-98 mph on many occasions as well. He has a feel for a mid-80s slider, which projects to be a plus offering and he flashes the makings of a curveball and changeup. This is a potential blue chip type talent, and although he won't be in the headlines, his acquisition is a huge key in this deal.

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