What If… The Mariners Didn’t Trade Michael Pineda?

Michael Pineda

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 21: Michael Pineda #36 and Miguel Olivo #30 of the Seattle Mariners speak during the game against the Minnesota Twins on September 21, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

When I was looking back at some of the trades Jack Z made during his time as GM of the Mariners, I was reminded of one of the seemingly good (at the time) trades that ended up not being the best. At a time where the Mariners were expecting a young core of pitchers to come up and take over the rotation, Michael Pineda was a player who became expendable.

Starting pitching was a surplus, but consistent hitting was something that was needing to be addressed. So, Jack Z went and reached out to the Yankees about one of their up-and-coming young prospects, Jesus Montero. We all know what happened following the trade, but what I would like to look at today is…

What If The Mariners Didn’t Trade Michael Pineda?

There are a couple of obvious statements that I would like to start with. One, Jesus Montero’s tenure with the Mariners was the exact opposite of what was envisioned when they made this trade. Two, Michael Pineda never pitched for the Yankees until 2014, and never returned to All-Star form during the time where both players were playing in the MLB. So, both players were disappointments for the teams that acquired them.

Pineda, however, was coming off an All-Star season and was ready to headline a starting rotation with Felix Hernandez, Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, and James Paxton. Instead, Jack Z shipped him off for a potential offensive spark plug in Montero.

CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 27: Jesus Montero #63 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after fouling a ball off himself during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox on August 27, 2015 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

If the Mariners did not trade Pineda, I believe he would have had more of the same success he had in the year prior to the trade. He was starting to settle in with the Mariners and find a good groove with his stuff. The belief Jack Z had in his big 3 coming up (Hultzen (ouch), Walker, and Paxton) motivated him to do this trade. But, if Pineda would have remained in the fold, I believe the Mariners would have had a better shot at success, especially with his most recent season being one of the best of his career.

With the way that the two headlining players’ (sorry Hector Noesi and Jose Campos) careers have gone, this trade isn’t specifically what has caused the playoff drought to continue, and should be seen as a wash for all intents and purposes. It does, however, make me wonder what would have happened if the Mariners would have ponied up and paid Prince Fielder the money and brought him in the fold.

Check in next week for the next (and potentially last) What If Wednesday of the offseason!