How I View The Pineda-Montero Trade


I’m not a very articulate guy. I talk a lot and I’m good at talking, but that’s not really communicating and it certainly isn’t nesscarily the ability to properly express one self in such a manner in which others might understand. You would think having written in this blog for the last year I would have gotten better. Maybe I have and if that’s the case I hope never to read the achives. Regardless of my writing ability I’ve not really followed up with any posts on my final how I feel about the trade so if you don’t read twitter (which is where I’ve spent the majority of my time recently) you might be a bit confused by some of my conflicted comments.

I like the trade overall. I don’t love it. I don’t get the anger or disappointment with the front office and I certainly don’t get the Bill Bavasi compairsons. People have been screaming for a “big bat” for nearly 3 years and that’s exactly what Jack Zduriencik has delivered. The problem is that many people have found 20 different problems with what we “recieved” and to be fair those types of people are always going to complain. It’s annoying but at least you know what to expect out of them.

Then you have others, intelligent in their own right, that didn’t care for the deal either. Dave Cameron posted such an opinoin the day following on USS:M.

"To me, this haul is less than what the Padres got for Mat Latos, a similar pitcher with one fewer year of team control, and not that much better than what the A’s got for Gio Gonzalez, a vastly inferior pitcher who was super-two eligible and about to start making real money. If I was just going to judge this trade from a standalone perspective, I’d probably be against it."

My first thought was kind of like this too. We got significantly less for Pineda than A) I thought we would and B) we got less back than what other teams got in their returns. But then my mind start turning and I started on one of my walks (…you know the 30 minute one I take to get home every morning) and I started thinking about who the Mariners aqcuired versus who the A’s and Padres got in return. While both the Athletics and Padres got solid mix of quantity and qualify none of them are elite.

Grant Bisbee is a great baseball writer and one that I neglect too often. He sums exactly how I feel in the paragraph below.

"The Mariners traded Michael Pineda for one prospect*. There wasn’t a pairing of highly regarded prospects, like the Alonso/Mesoraco deal. There wasn’t a gaggle of B+ to B- prospects, like in the Gio Gonzalez deal. When considering service time and ceiling, Seattle almost certainly had the most valuable asset to trade, yet they received the fewest rebuilding pieces back in the deal.* Well, there was a teenaged pitcher that went to the Yankees in the deal, and there was a MLB-ready pitcher who came back to the Mariners, but whittled down to its core, the trade was Pineda for Jesus Montero.The Mariners got one player in return. One lonely prospect. The A’s can use their bounty of prospects to light cigars. Well, the half-smoked nubby cigar that someone left in an ashtray, at least. That’s the new market inefficiency for cigars. The Mariners got a guy.So in that sense, the Mariners didn’t do nearly as well as the Padres or A’s. The Mariners have a lot of long-term holes that need fixing. They got a guy. They created another hole to get him. It’s worthwhile to compare the three trades, tally up the prospects, and declare that the Mariners didn’t do nearly as well.But in another sense, the trades aren’t comparable. The Mariners don’t think they got a guy. They think they got a guy. That is, a future star. A once-in-a-generation player. Of all the players who switched sides in the three trades, the Mariners almost certainly feel that they received the most talented one. They have minor league pitchers advancing through the ranks to replace Pineda, but they didn’t have any middle-of-the-order types who were close to graduation. So they made a swap and got a guy. It was a totally different strategy than what the A’s or Padres were going for."

I’ll admit. Initially I was waiting to hear about some lesser known out field prospect added into the deal. A guy such as Benjamin Gamel or even if we were lucky a Ravel Santana. Something that would provide a bit of balance to a trade that saw us sweeten the deal adding a young pitcher, Jose Campos. The thing that I keep coming back to is the fact that Pineda’s major league accomplishments don’t aquate to the same as Gonzalez and Latos, thus he didn’t have the trade value that many of us believed he had built.

I’d argue the point, but I’d probably only be preaching to the choir. Instead I offer evidence of this opinion of a league wide opinion in that of the Rookie-of-the-Year voting. While this is conducted by BBWA it’s still obvious that it’s a reflection of how the majority of baseball minds work despite it not being a fair reflection of his peripherial stat line.

I’d also point to the fact that there have been some injury concerns associated with Pineda, and despite the fact he’s yet to need surgery as it’s been pointed out, in a few different places (and by smarter people than myself) playing with young pitchers and injuries is like playing russian roulette. A very dangerous game.

Ultimately what it boils down to is the Mariners traded a core piece for another core piece. One from a smattering of depth that, while yet to prove themselves, are all very talented and all have very high ceilings, in exchange for one that fills a great need. Not just any need but something that the Mariners possibly the one thing that Tom McNamara has yet to really add to this farm system, an elite hitter.  Regardless of even if you think he’s simply a Magglio Ordonez or Carlos Lee he’s going to be an above league average hitter and of solid value to this team.

It’s sad to see Michael Pineda leave. I understand that having been watch him since 2009 when he was in West Tennessee and even before that I remember seeing his name in High-A High Desert and debating him with Jon Shields back in 2008. Four years later it’s sad to see someone like that go. But the Mariners got more than quatinity this time around in a trade, they got emense quality.

It’s impossible now, or even 2 years from now, to determine who “won” this trade and looking back on trades that were made back as early as 2009 it’s still hard to say one way or another how they worked out. The Jack Wilson trade didn’t really worked out for neither team and to be honest the Yuniesky Bentacourt trade that we felt was a win in our favor looks more like a win in the Royals favor.

The thing I take most out of this is that we now have three young legit above average pieces in this line-up in Ackley, Smoak and Montero. Let’s not act as if this is a small thing. Sure, Smoak, who battled an injury and heart break for the majority of the summer, is someone that you could worry about. I, on the other hand, am looking forwad to him becoming the guy that posted 2.6 fWAR between April and May.

You also have fun question marks in Gutierrez, Wells, Carp and Seager. Ichiro is a true wonder but it’s not out of the question that he may have one last good year left. Add in the fact you that you have Omar Vizquel the second coming in Brendan Ryan, who is also one of the most sure handed defenders at shortstop, and a catcher with an actual clue at the plate in John Jaso.

This team finally should score more than 600 in the upcoming season and may even come close to 700 if all things break right and finish right around .500 give or take a few games.

This is a move that only conviences me further that the Mariners still have a serious shot at contending in 2013. By all account the front office is not done and while there is still too many question marks at hand this season is going to be far from boring this season.