The Seattle Mariners finally did something big in the off season...heck, they finally did something at all. They sent All-Star rookie pitcher Michael Pineda to the hated New York Yankees. I hate that idea. The Yankees getting ten years of a pitcher that will fit nicely behind CC, and perhaps take over as the ace when the USS Sabathia finally eats himself out of the league.
Pineda looked primed to be the number two pitcher behind King Felix for the next three years. He had a lot of excitement around him from day one, mostly because of Dave Niehaus and his love for Pineda in Spring Training the year before. He backed up that excitement by being one of the rare bright spots on this team last year. All those things make this a tough deal for Marines fans. However, I love this deal.
The Mariners have one of the worst offenses in the Majors. Not now...EVER. The last two years has been flat out painful to watch. The Mariners had Felix and Pineda, and still finished in last place. So why keep slamming their head against the wall? They had to change something. The Mariners need power in the worst way. And to get power, you will have to give up something big. That's what the Mariners did. They gave up a legit number two starter to bring in Jesus Montero. One of the top three prospects in the game of baseball. And what's more..he has power, a lot of power. He's being compared to the likes of Miggy Cabrera, A-Rod, and Edgar Marinez. If he comes even close to any of those guys, this was a great deal for the Mariners. Sure Pineda might have a long, great career. But the Mariners can't win with him, or anyone really, without power.
The Mariners had to make the deal because they don't have any power coming through the minors. The 2012 top-prospects have been released, and in the top-20 prospects for the Mariners only one guy do they mention good power, and he's said to have a very bad approach. However the top-20 is littered with starting pitching.
Montero immediately becomes the number one prospect for the Mariners, and right behind him...three straight starting pitchers. Taijuan Walker, who is ranked as MLB.com's #8 ranked right handed pitching prospect in all of baseball. He's 18 years old, had a 2.89 ERA in A ball last year and is projected as a future #1 starter. Next up...Danny Hultzen, last years number two overall pick. He's a left handed starter that is going to compete for a spot in the rotation this year already. Behind him, James Paxton, another lefty that is projected as a future #2 starter.
Add to that, the Mariners avoided arbitration with Jason Vargas today, so he's back. This years rotation will be a combination of Felix, Vargas, Japanese pitcher Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Charlie Furbush, and perhaps Hultzen. Good enough to win a little with some offensive help. Add Paxton and Walker in the next few years, and your rotation has a lot of hope. Without this trade, the offense does not.
It always hurts to lose a front line pitcher, but I believe replacing Pineda is much easier for the Mariners in what they have coming up, then just simply waiting for something they don't have, a young power bat.
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