Ok, all you Montero lovers may not like this, but the Yanks have agreed (pending physicals) to trade Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for about to be 23 year old Michael Pineda and 19 year old Jose Campos! The Yankees also signed Hiroki Kuroda (36/37) for 10 mil in a one year deal.
So, outside of the fact we now have more starters than positions, what do I think about the trade and signing?
Montero - I have written about him and I like the bat speed and I really like the raw power, which is something you just can't teach. But, I did not like what I saw defensively and while he may be as good as Victor Martinez, you better hit with an OPS of .850 plus to even consider getting behind the plate and you probably need to be above .900 to be a positive. The real questions were whether he would be a fantastic hitter and whether he could improve defensively. He had a very odd swing, but he clearly has power with a quick bat. I would not expect such a high average from him, but the power will be there and he did seem to walk a decent amount. He has a huge ceiling and could become great, but should be a very good hitter, but I do not think he will ever be even an average defensive catcher so I understand moving him...if you got the right price. Felix Hernandez was the right price, is Pineda? Pineda will turn 23 next week and has excellent stuff. He has a legitimate mid 90's fastball. I saw him pitch once or twice (He faced the Yanks once last year) and he threw 98 but mostly was about 95-96. He has a legitimate heater with nice movement as well. His off speed stuff is average, but with the heater it is hidden well in his big body so it is more effective than if someone else threw it. I have NOT scouted him heavily so I look forward to watching him. He is an excellent young arm. The concerns are only that he faded the 2nd half after an amazing first half. At such a young age, I am not that concerned though. His OPS last year in his 28 starts was only .621 (.584 1st half and .688 in the 2nd half); that is outstanding. BTW, Pineda is listed at 6'7" and 260. Perspective - CC has an OPS against of about .660 in his years with us.
Montero straight up for Pineda is a good trade for the Yanks; it is a trade that is probably good for both teams, but at the end of the day, a good DH is not worth as much as a good starter and they should both be at least good. Plus with the Yanks needing a spot for their older starters, that is a good thing. I also like that the Yanks didn't trade Montero for a 30+ year old good starter.
Everyone knows I talked about how much I liked Nova before he did much and I did say that I felt Noesi had a lot of potential also. I like Noesi's stuff, but he did make too many bad pitches. I don’t like giving him up in the deal, but the word is that the 19 year old Campo was a top 5 prospect in the Seattle organization. He started 18 games for Seattle's A team and had a 2.32 ERA with a 66 hits and only 13 walks in 81 innings while striking out 85. Those are excellent numbers, but he is only in single A so he has a few years before we will see him. I would rather Noesi than Campo so it was obvious we had to give more than just Montero for Pineda...overall, I think it was a fair trade that gives Seattle needed offense and the Yanks needed pitching.
I like the trade!
Yanks sign the 36 year old Kuroda. I wish I could say I have seen him pitch, but I know nothing about him other than he throws strikes and has good command of his pitches. He has been pretty durable averaging 29 starts in his 4 years with the Dodgers. His last year, he had his best ERA (3.07) and had a 3.45 ERA for his 4 years with the Dodgers. His OPS against does not agree with the ERA though, (not unusual and would indicate he was a little lucky last year) last year it was .716 and his overall for the four years was .673). Kuroda received roughly 12 mil the prior year so a one year deal for 10 mil seemed in line and is good for the Yanks as they don’t tie up long term money. From what I see, Kuroda should be a guy we can feel comfortable with and with our offense we should win a lot of games he starts.
I like these moves and think the Yanks still need a lefty and I would like to see them trade Burnett for a lefty specialist and we can throw in half him money. Further, while we have an abundance of capable righties in the pen, I would like to see us bring Colon back for 2-3 million as a reliever and occasional spot starter if needed. I know he ran out of gas last year, but he still had good peripherals in his stats and he still threw ok; I think he just got tired. The Yanks should have a lot of chips to move if they play their cards right. Remember, we still have Joba who hopefully will pan out better than he has so far. Imagine if Hughes could keep his velocity up at 94? I feel good about Nova, although it seems like I am the only one as others have suggested he stay in the minors until needed (I don't have a clue what those writers are seeing).
Our rotation is very solid now and we haven’t given up any future in the process; great job Cashman! Pitchers and catchers...get ready!