Pineda Trade Sets Team Up To Do More

Dave · January 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

As you’ve heard by now, the Mariners made a bit of a blockbuster trade today, shipping Michael Pineda and Jose Campos – generally regarded as the team’s fifth best prospect, but one with a ton of upside – to the New York Yankees for DH/sorta catcher Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi, a lower upside guy who ranked as NYY’s seventh best prospect a year ago (but spent too much time in the Majors last year to retain prospect status). He’s probably a back-end starter or a reliever, but he’s basically Major League ready.

In swapping Pineda for Montero, the team has decided to move strength for weakness. The organization has a lot of talent on the mound and not much talent at the plate, so the appeal of this kind of deal is fairly obvious. I argued that the M’s should make exactly this type of trade over the summer, and then shipping Pineda off was part of my off-season plan back in November. While he’s a talented guy, he’s not an irreplaceable talent, and the risks associated with building around young pitching are substantial and well chronicled.

In Montero, the Mariners get a player who is a bit of a safer proposition. His bat has been beloved by scouts since signing for nearly $2 million as a 16-year-old, and he’s hit fairly well at most levels of the minors despite being very young relative to the competition. Scouts who really love his bat have projected him as a Miguel Cabrera type of hitter, and even if that might be a bit optimistic, guys like this generally turn out to be at least good Major League hitters. There are certainly fewer injury risks with Montero than with Pineda (or any young pitcher), and even assuming Pineda stays healthy, pitchers can just veer off course and regress significantly, so the organization has absolved itself of some of the variance that the roster had previously.

That said, those are mostly just arguments for trading pitching for hitting in general, and don’t deal with Pineda and Montero quite as specifically. So, we’ll start with Montero, since he’s the piece coming to Seattle.

One of the primary reasons he’s been ranked as an elite prospect is that he’s been a catcher in the minor leagues. Premium offense is extremely hard to find at the catcher position, and Montero has been projected as that rare combination of a guy who can generate runs while holding down the catching position. However, his defense behind the plate is poor at best, and it’s no coincidence that the Yankees only let him catch a total of 22 innings during his September call-up. Their coaching staff simply wasn’t comfortable having him behind the plate, and so they used him as a DH when they wanted to get his bat in the line-up.

There are scouts who think that, with more hard work, he could turn into an adequate Major League catcher. I talked to a Yankees official last year who put it this way – “He’s better than Piazza was.” But, many others think the defensive issues are so significant that he just needs to be moved off of the position. In fact, I’d say that’s probably the majority opinion among baseball executives I’ve talked to about Montero. Most people see more value in just giving up on forcing him to catch and letting the bat develop as a 1B/DH instead – not only would his defensive limitations be hidden, but there’s a mountain of evidence that shows that hitters perform significantly better when they move out from behind the plate. The physical toll of catching is harsh, and not many players can endure the beating they take over the long term.

So, for the M’s purposes, I think they should view him as a DH. They gave up Pineda to get a good young hitter, and the best way to maximize Montero’s value at the plate is to let him simply do that full time. Of course, a DH prospect is not quite as sexy as a catching prospect, which is one of the reasons that I’ve never been quite as big a fan of Montero as most. To me, the bar for bat-only players to be true stars is very, very high, and Montero’s contact issues at Triple-A – even at a young age – suggest to me that he might end up being a good hitter rather than a great hitter.

Over the last year or so, I’ve compared him multiple times to a guy like Carlos Lee – an aggressive power hitter who is a quality offensive player, but due to his lack of defensive value, topped out as around a +3 win player. Personally, I see this as something closer to the likely development path for Montero. A lot of people I respect think I’m undervaluing just how good his offense can be, but I’m just not comfortable projecting him as a Cabrera-level hitter. And if he’s a DH, he’ll need to be something close to that to justify the prospect rankings that have been placed upon.

So, if I’m not as high on Montero as others and the team had to add in one of their better pitching prospects in order to seal the deal, then it sounds like this is a deal I’m not overly fond of, right?

Well, I’d say it depends. I don’t love that the organization had to put Campos in this deal, on top of giving up Pineda, to get Montero, especially when we see the prices other teams have been paying for pitchers this winter. 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.

But, this move can’t be judged in isolation. This trade was made in the context of the current off-season, and there might not be a better time in recent history to be shopping for a free agent starting pitcher than right now.

Over at FanGraphs today, I wrote up the potential steal that some team will get by signing Roy Oswalt to the one year, $8 million contract he’s seeking. Over the last few months, I’ve written extensively about how Edwin Jackson is probably going to be underpaid due to a negative reputation that doesn’t line up with his actual performances over the last three years. Both of them are likely +3 win pitchers for 2012 – and Jackson could be for well beyond to boot – and would replace almost all of the value the team would have expected to receive from Pineda next year.

The Mariners could very easily now jump into the bidding for Jackson and sign him to a deal for something in the 4/50 range, using the money that they would have otherwise been spending on a “big bat” like Prince Fielder, and have essentially acquired Montero without a significant drop-off in the rotation. Or, if they’d rather keep their options open for next winter – when Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, and Anibal Sanchez are scheduled to hit free agency – they could offer Oswalt his one year deal in a nice pitcher’s park, let him rebuild his value, potentially trade him for a prospect at the deadline, and then throw big money at one of the free agent starters who will be available in 12 months. Or, if Hultzen and Paxton develop quickly and you’re comfortable with the rotation behind Felix, throw a bunch of money at Josh Hamilton.

There are a lot of options available for teams looking for pitchers who have money to spend. Good options. There are not a lot of options available for teams looking for hitters – there’s basically Prince Fielder and then a lot of lesser players. And, if you believe the reports, the M’s may not have had a realistic chance at landing Fielder given their geographic location, so that may have been a non-starter even if they had offered up a budget-busting contract.

Essentially, what it comes down to is a question of whether the Mariners are better off with Michael Pineda and whatever offensive improvement they could have gotten at LF/DH, or are they better off with Montero filling the DH role and shopping for a pitcher to replace Pineda? Given the availability of quality pitchers at depressed salaries right now and the dearth of quality hitters on the market, I think they very well may be better off with Montero and the pitcher to be named later.

If this was the last move the organization made this winter, I probably wouldn’t be very happy with it. I probably would have rather made the deal with Cincinnati that fetched Alonso, Grandal, Volquez, and Boxberger. There are reasons to not love this deal on its own, including the inclusion of Campos, who is a long ways from the Majors but could turn out to be a piece the team really regrets giving up.

However, it puts the organization in the position to put a better overall roster on the field than they could have otherwise. If this deal lets the team sign Jackson or Oswalt, and they have enough money left over to add depth in the outfield and at third base, then the M’s will be in a better position for 2012 and beyond than they would have by retaining Pineda.

The M’s can’t be done. There’s more work to do, and they created a hole in the rotation to patch one on the offense. But that hole is easier to fix, and with a little bit of work, the M’s could actually put a quality product on the field next year. And that’s worth being excited about.


138 Responses to “Pineda Trade Sets Team Up To Do More”

  1. terry on January 13th, 2012 6:18 pm


  2. Mr. Egaas on January 13th, 2012 6:22 pm

    Not much on Noesi here — who I find very interesting. Can we pencil him into the rotation if we don’t sign a Jackson type? Do we leave him in AAA to keep him as a starter or give up on that pipedream and he’s in the pen?

  3. xsacred24x on January 13th, 2012 6:23 pm

    We were fleeced by the Yankees unless Montero can catch. This makes no sense to me we need more then Montero we should of kept Pineda if he wasn’t going to get us a haul.

  4. Shawnuel on January 13th, 2012 6:24 pm

    Hard to see both pitchers go. As you say, in light of the Gonzales and Latos trades, it seems like a light return for two pitchers with TOR potential. Noesi doesn’t look like anything more than a #4 at best. Still, if this leads to an accompanying move, it could be all right.

  5. kazuc on January 13th, 2012 6:27 pm

    I don’t know. I think it might be a tad optimistic to think that a young RH bat that had an .815 OPS in AAA will adjust to SAFECO quickly. And if not, I don’t know that the offense is in a much better position than it was before we made the trade. So I don’t really see how this makes Seattle contenders in 2012, and if not, I’d much rather have flipped Pineda for a SD-like haul of prospects than to pay for a year of Oswalt and then be right back to the drawing board next year.

  6. Guertez on January 13th, 2012 6:29 pm

    Great article and makes a lot of sense. You failed to mention the great depth the Mariners have in the minors for pitching that could even contribute this season.

    Paxton could start the year in the rotation if he blows it away in the spring, with Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker not far behind. Beavan even looked solid.

    Seattle will always find it easy to attract pitching on the free agent market, especially guys like Oswalt looking for that one year pillow contract. Find hitting is like pitching to most other teams…

  7. Ibuprofen on January 13th, 2012 6:31 pm

    Thank you, Dave. This makes the entire thing easier to comprehend.

  8. diderot on January 13th, 2012 6:33 pm

    How does the estimate of Montero’s catching abilities compare to Rob Johnson or Miguel Olivo–or for that matter, Jaso?
    Is it safe to assume that this precludes the need/opportunity for a Venable-caliber player?
    Is Montero one of those hitters whose power negates the left field penalty in Safeco?

  9. smb on January 13th, 2012 6:37 pm

    I like the word “context” here…it’s useful for a variety of reasons. In the context of low availability of good hitters, we probably gave about market value for Montero, right? Assuming the potential likelihood of Pineda regressing or getting injured at some point in the next 6 years, not having a changeup, and our bevy of arms coming up through the system, I’m less bummed than I was initially, but also just trying not to think about Campos. But in the context of the AL West, adding Montero doesn’t make us much more likely to compete with Texas and the Angels, especially as Texas adds Fielder, as it seems they might well be about to do…I think we have a long way to go before there’s more than a snowball’s chance in hell of finishing better than third in this division.

  10. bookbook on January 13th, 2012 6:40 pm

    Winning 80would be a major victory in 2012.

  11. Strangelove on January 13th, 2012 6:40 pm

    Serious question: Couldn’t we have done these same things at the margin after having traded Pineda for Alonso, Grandal, Volquez, and Boxberger? And would that not be a better outcome than this?

  12. smb on January 13th, 2012 6:43 pm

    Si, FWIW Angels fans are seemingly mostly thrilled, except for the part about facing Pineda in the playoffs instead of just the regular season.

  13. Mustard on January 13th, 2012 6:44 pm

    Dave, thoughts on Noesi?
    Will he be going straight into the rotation now?

  14. shortbus on January 13th, 2012 6:48 pm

    If there’s even a chance Montero could be something like Miguel Cabrerra, I don’t want him to catch. The Nationals didn’t waste time putting Harper beind the dish and the M’s shouldn’t do it with Montero. He’ll become a major league regular sooner and stay healthier at 1B/DH.

  15. LMF on January 13th, 2012 6:49 pm

    This really seems to solidify Carp spending significant time in LF. C/1B/DH is like a total logjam. You don’t sign Jaso if you’re expecting Montero to catch, right? And I really don’t understand how this does not rule us out on Prince, unless they can find a suitor for Smoak. It does look like they need to fill one spot in the rotation. Half a year of Oswalt flipped midseason for some young talent makes alot of sense.

  16. Liam on January 13th, 2012 6:49 pm

    Mariners don’t make this move for Montero to start the year in AAA.

  17. smb on January 13th, 2012 6:59 pm

    I’m thinking Jaso is probably the starter, unless we unload Olivo sometime soon and Jaso becomes a backup to Montero. Really feels like the only thing we know is that there’s more moves to come.

  18. JH on January 13th, 2012 6:59 pm

    At least Montero has pretty good opposite field power.

  19. ManifestDestiny on January 13th, 2012 7:05 pm

    Get it through your heads now, Montero is not a catcher unless Jaso/Olivo are both injured in the same game. He is purely a DH.

  20. smb on January 13th, 2012 7:14 pm

    Then it makes even less sense, right? I agree with Dave, I’d prefer to have gotten something like the package SD got for Latos to this haul, and that’s to say nothing of getting him out of the AL instead of sending him to the stinking Yankees.

  21. just a fan on January 13th, 2012 7:15 pm

    I hope Pineda never lives up to his potential.

    Nothing against the guy, but he’s a Yankee.

  22. nickwest1976 on January 13th, 2012 7:27 pm

    One of the aspects of Montero’s game that I haven’t heard anyone comment on is that he hits very well to the opposite field (or so I have heard previously). If that is the case, that is a big deal to me, getting a right-handed bat with power, and someone who can hit well the other way. As we know, pull happy right-handed bats usually flop in Safeco but we’ve seen righty bats who can hit to all fields do just fine.

    Dave, is it in fact correct that Montero can hit well to all fields? If so I can see why Jack Z may have overpaid a tad here. I understand the positional arguments people are making but at this point a premium bat is a premium bat, even if he turns out to be a DH. Especially if the kid becomes a rare right-handed bat with power and ability to hit to all fields.

  23. ivan on January 13th, 2012 7:36 pm

    I love love love this trade. Montero is 22 years old and a stud hitter. If anyone can make a decent catcher out of him, Roger Hansen can. If he can’t, then Bee Eff Dee, he’ll be a DH and a backup catcher.

    This is a big bat the M’s have needed for some time now, and guess what? The system is loaded with pitchers, and although I’m sad to lose Big Mike, who I loved, he was Seattle’s most valuable trade chip, and you don’t get something for nothing. Hultzen and/or Paxton will be here soon, Ramirez might be also, and Walker is a couple of years away. Plenty of free agent pitchers will be on the market soon.

    Hooray for Jack for making this trade. I didn’t think they had the stones to do it. Welcome Jesus! Swing that stick and hit us some gappers.

  24. matthew on January 13th, 2012 7:37 pm

    Would be nice if both Montero and Pineda turn out to be perennial all-stars. I would be very happy with that outcome.

  25. justinh on January 13th, 2012 7:43 pm

    M’s have their choice of Nova or Noesi. Nova makes this trade a whole lot better from the Mariners standpoint. I thought there was little chance the M’s would include Pineda and Campos in a deal without Betances or Nova.

  26. MrZDevotee on January 13th, 2012 7:46 pm

    A classic Jack Z trade… True to his word, he likes both parties to end up “winning” in a trade. Yankees were desperate for starting pitching. We were desperate for a legit bat.

    We had the answer to each other’s needs. Heck they’re the same age, and both incredibly affordable for their talent level.


    (Yes, I’m purposely avoiding the whole Campos for Noesi part of the deal… Thank you, very much.)

    But I can almost live with this lineup:

    RF Ichiro
    2B Ackley
    1B Smoak
    DH Montero
    LF Carp
    CF Guty
    C Jaso/Olivo
    SS Ryan
    3B Seager

  27. bongo on January 13th, 2012 7:49 pm

    I agree that including Nova in the deal instead of Noesi makes it a whole lot better for the Mariners. But most of the reports are talking about Noesi not Nova, so what’s the evidence that the Yankees are willing to part with Nova?

  28. onetreehugger on January 13th, 2012 7:59 pm

    I like this trade if he can really hit here. We don’t have a great record of bringing in hitters who can hit here, for us. I also think that if he had much potential to become good at catcher, he’d still be a Yankee.

    One thing I love is that so far I haven’t heard the Mariners saying one more time, “we’ve got our catcher of the future.” Every time I hear that, I know the poor guy is DOOMED. Although I guess in Olivo’s case it ended up true, just not the way they meant it.

    Has he actually played any first base to show that he can play there, or is it a case of “anyone who can’t play elsewhere can play there” which doesn’t mean they’ll play there well. Considering the problems Smoak had staying healthy last year, I sometimes wonder if he’s accident prone or just had an unlucky year. Think we could borrow some medieval thumb armor from a museum?

    A lot of old baseball sayings I learned back in the 50s turned out not to be true, but one that still seems to hold is, if you can hit well enough, they’ll find a way to get you in the lineup somewhere.

    I think things are looking up for the new season. Maybe we don’t need a Prince. I mean, we’ve already got the King. And since this didn’t cost us money maybe we’re still in the running for him, too.

  29. bongo on January 13th, 2012 8:02 pm

    Let’s assume that Nova is included by the Yankees in the deal. How much better than Nova do we think Pineda is, during their pre-arbitration years? 5 WAR? Given the difference in relative maturity between Montero and Campos, it seems quite possible that we will get that 5 WAR back before Campos is major-league ready (could be 2-3 years). So at that point we’re really asking whether Campos’ ceiling is higher than Montero’s. That’s a bet I’d probably be willing to make, even if Campos turns out to be a decent #3 starter.

  30. heychuck01 on January 13th, 2012 8:07 pm

    I know this is going back in time a bit, and it may have been discussed…

    But maybe the M’s tried to make that deal with Cincinatti, but the Red’s liked Latos more than Pineda?

    I like this trade in that it is “interesting”. Like Dave said, it points to more stuff coming, plus… dingers!

    Anyway, can’t wait to see more analysis on Noesi. Some folks saying he is a lot more than a throw in. Interesting!

  31. Dave on January 13th, 2012 8:30 pm

    Nova’s not in the deal. And, to be frank, he’s extremely overrated. I’ve talked with several people in baseball who prefer Noesi to Nova, and BA rated him as the better prospect a year ago.

    Don’t moan about getting Noesi instead of Nova. That could actually turn out to be a good thing.

  32. Breadbaker on January 13th, 2012 8:39 pm

    I’ll say this: if Montero had any chance of developing as a catcher, he’s just joined the worst organization in baseball at developing catchers. The last young guy we brought in from another organization to catch who turned out half-decent was Dan Wilson. Bill Clinton was president then.

  33. mymrbig on January 13th, 2012 8:44 pm

    Couple things I don’t think have been stressed enough:
    (1) Because of service time, this is 5 years of Pineda for 6 years of Montero. That helps the M’s a little.
    (2) Noesi being MLB-ready and Campos being 2 years away helps even up the value amongst the pitchers.
    (3) Jesus Montero is still young. Its easy to say he just turned 22 and forget how young that is. He’s the same age as Michael Choice (A’s 1st round pick in 2010) and 7 months older than Anthony Rendon. And he basically has 2 full seasons at AAA where he put up a combined wOBA of .365.
    (4) I understand the Carlos Lee comp, but at the same age Carlos Lee was in A+ putting up a very similar line to what Montero did in AAA. I also understand the Miguel Cabrera comp, but at the same age Cabrera had a better hitting line and was in the majors. Carlos Lee is the floor and Miguel Cabrera is the absolute ceiling. But I think his bat ends up more like Ryan Braun (though obviously limited to 1B/DH instead of LF).

  34. stevemotivateir on January 13th, 2012 8:50 pm

    I just heard the news and my initial reaction was not pleasant. But after giving it a minute, my second impression was that it’s too early to know if this is a good, bad, or a fair deal. We’ll have a better idea mid-season.

    What really makes a lot of sense, is Dave’s suggestion of signing someone like Oswalt. No better place to pitch than here -and with the likeliness of Hultzen and/or Paxton being ready mid-season, Oswalt could indeed be a valuable trade candidate.

    So I’m neither excited or upset with this. And I’ll simply try to assume Campos will be another Tillman.

    I’m assuming this means Carp is most likely going to be the starting left fielder, or at least see significantly more time there. This can’t be the last of the moves though. I really think Dave laid out the blue-print to make more from this trade.

  35. Breadbaker on January 13th, 2012 8:53 pm

    Unless you were trading away the young Albert Pujols, it’s hard to say you’d be dissatisfied with any player whose “ceiling” was Miguel Cabrera.

  36. stevemotivateir on January 13th, 2012 9:00 pm

    I suppose this also means Adam Moore is even less likely to have a future with the M’s. Something’s gotta give.

  37. stevemotivateir on January 13th, 2012 9:01 pm

    I suppose this also means Adam Moore is even less likely to have a future with the M’s.

  38. bfgboy on January 13th, 2012 9:03 pm

    Any chance that they roll the “leftover” money into a Yoenis Cespedes run? They seem to have an opening in left, and a need for more power. He seems to fit the Mariner bill of youthful, emerging talent, and that would leave some spare parts left over to trade for some pitching (or to alleviate some Figgage…uh baggage).

  39. bfgboy on January 13th, 2012 9:03 pm

    Any chance that they roll the “leftover” money into a Yoenis Cespedes run? They seem to have an opening in left, and a need for more power. He seems to fit the Mariner bill of youthful, emerging talent, and that would leave some spare parts left over to trade for some pitching (or to alleviate some Figgage…uh baggage).

  40. stevemotivateir on January 13th, 2012 9:03 pm

    Sorry for the double post!

  41. Johnny Baseballs on January 13th, 2012 9:09 pm

    Change is exciting and so is our young offensive nucleus. I can’t wait for spring training.

  42. Ryan22 on January 13th, 2012 9:15 pm

    bfgboy-I would say HIGHLY unlikely. Assuming we are keeping payroll at, or near the same level this and next year, it doesn’t make much sense to go sign Cespedes. I think you would make that move, if you were a player or 2 away from contention. The Mariners just can’t/shouldn’t throw that much money at someone that is a bit of a gamble in their position.

    As for the trade, first reaction was indifferent. Now, i have warmed up to it a bit. Time will tell i suppose.

  43. mymrbig on January 13th, 2012 9:18 pm

    Another thought, but I’m not sure I’d rather have what the Padres got for Latos. Jack Z took a very safe return in that Montero should be, at worst, a league-average 1B/DH. Its easy to scoff at that, but the ceiling is much higher and he’s basically a sure thing to put up decent value over his 6 years of team control. I think you can fairly argue a 12-WAR floor with a 25-WAR ceiling. Meanwhile, the Padres got a MLB wildcard (Volquez) who isn’t cheap and can’t be counted on for more than 1-WAR per year at this point, a catching prospect with a good bat and disappointing receiving skills, a 1B prospect who has historically struggled with lefties and doesn’t have a ton of power, and a good bullpen prospect. I think the floor is lower than 12-WAR (higher chance of burnouts for all 4 players) on that collection, though the ceiling is obviously higher.

  44. henryv on January 13th, 2012 9:20 pm

    Holy Carp is the lineup looking young.

    I don’t have much faith in Seager at 3B, so I think that the team is now in the market for a quality 3B.

    If Carp hits and doesn’t fall flat on his face in LF, then we could be a free agent 3B away from the playoffs in 2013. If he does, we might be two steps away.

    I don’t like right-handed power in Safeco, but it appears that Montero has opposite field power.

  45. PackBob on January 13th, 2012 9:21 pm

    I like the trade, in part because I’ve never been fully sold on Pineda. He still seems a young pitcher with plenty of raw talent that may or not progress to the next level. He had a hot start, which happens, but I think he needs that 3rd pitch.

    On the other hand, the Marienrs now have a number of good, young hitters with upside and under team control. Ackley/Montero/Smoak could turn out to be a fantastic htting core.

    They have pitching depth in the Minors and a number of placeholders at the ML level, some of which could develop into good pitchers as well.

    And they still have some room to add players, like Oswalt, to better the team in 2012.

  46. Jim_H on January 13th, 2012 9:28 pm

    My first gut reaction was ‘noooooooooooooooo!’.. but I’m mainly being selfish, because watching Pineda pitch was really the highlight of the 2010 M’s season for me.

    However, now that I’m over the initial shock, I feel a little better. As far as Montero goes, I’m of the opinion that if he can’t play catcher, then this is not such a good deal. Catchers than can hit are waaaay to hard to come by, and if he isn’t in the lineup as a catcher then A) we are stuck with the Jaso/Olivo (or Moore) platoon, and B) we lose another potential good young bat in the lineup at 1B/DH with Carp and/or Smoak.

    I think I heard Shannon say something tonight about the team giving him a shot at Catcher this first season. I surely hope that pans out. He can DH on some of his down days and keep the at bats up.

  47. gwangung on January 13th, 2012 9:33 pm

    I don’t like right-handed power in Safeco,

    Ya mean, like Edgar and Boone?

  48. henryv on January 13th, 2012 9:37 pm

    I just had a sudden epiphany about this trade.

    I think this clears the way for the Yankees to sign Prince Fielder. They can now use a 1B/DH.

  49. smb on January 13th, 2012 9:40 pm

    I suppose Montero’s ceiling just dropped a teeny bit by virtue of the park in which he’ll now do half his batting. It’s nice that he can surmount that LF fence, but this is no bandbox. Flyball outs are flyball out, so I guess I’m hoping he’s really good at finding the gaps.

  50. henryv on January 13th, 2012 9:42 pm

    Ya mean, like Edgar and Boone?

    And Sexson and Beltre (bat only, still love Beltre the fielder). But Edgar suffered at Safeco, with a 100 point lower OPS at home compared to away from 2002-2004.

    Boone was probably one of the only right handed power hitters in the 10 years of Safeco to do better at Safeco then away from it. And it wasn’t significant.

  51. Johnny Slick on January 13th, 2012 9:46 pm

    I really like this trade, I have to say. NOT because I’m not sold on Pineda, but for a couple reasons:

    1. Buying low, selling high. I think that the chances are as good as not that he was going to have an off-year, not because I’m not convinced about him or anything but because he had a nice April and I don’t know that that will be repeated. Or he will, and he won’t repeat the awful July. Well, pitchers are weird that way.

    1a. At the same time, I think that Montero is as “iffy” as he’ll get at this point. Bad year in AAA or no, sticking at catcher or no, he’s still a 22 year old kid who made a nice rookie debut last year. Plenty of guys move out from catcher and are still perfectly solid. Craig Biggio. Carlos Delgado. Wasn’t David Ortiz drafted as a catcher?

    2. This was definitely a move to shore up a weakness by trading away strength. Or, what Dave said…

    2a. Although this also brings up why I’m glad the team didn’t sign Fielder. So, also what Dave said although I wanted to highlight this aspect. As I said in another thread, they’re just not ready to patch up holes in the FA market yet. Signing Fielder would have, well, made trading for Montero a really bad idea because then the M’s would be banking on him to stick at catcher and would have to offload someone else if he doesn’t. Now the team can at least see how all that works out and then make a move for whatever position they haven’t filled.

  52. Valenica on January 13th, 2012 9:46 pm

    Wow, I don’t know what to think. I’m definitely excited, Montero is very exciting, but we gave up a great arm in Pineda and Campos.

    I’m sure both sides did their due diligence – I expect to see Montero at C quite often with Carp in LF at the beginning to evaluate their defense better. Looks like we might finally be giving up defense for offense.

  53. bostock4ever on January 13th, 2012 9:48 pm

    Horrible trade. What makes anyone think that Montero, at age 22 and a catcher for his whole career is going to be happy about being pegged as a DH kind of player? Right-Handed? At Safeco? Blah..gave up two good young pitchers for this.
    I would rather see them trade Felix and his salary for this guy, that would make more sense and open up the budget for other moves.

  54. JoshJones on January 13th, 2012 9:59 pm

    I like the “fit” of this trade. But I don’t think we got enough for what we gave up. Oh well..

    Noesi fills Pinedas shoes. While he might not be as good or have as high a ceiling he fills the whole that Pineda left. In addition, we filled the hole that Fielder would have filled and didn’t spend any money to do it.

  55. Edgar4Hall on January 13th, 2012 10:04 pm

    I was always a fan of Montero and the more I hear about Noesi, I think that he will be great in Safeco. But the thing I like most about this trade is that it stops us from overspending on fielder and allows us to grow from the inside. I think that it was an even trade if you look at the trade by itself but the fact that Z has gotten offense to shut Baker and his goons up, a new player that will help and still allows our core to stay somewhat intact is a huge win in my books. Plus if we can get Edwin Jackson? YES!!!

  56. JoshJones on January 13th, 2012 10:13 pm

    [No, you can't rosterbate. Stop.]

  57. greentunic on January 13th, 2012 10:28 pm

    This is probably the best prospects snapshot we’ve ever had (Pineda no longer a prospect but Montero is)

    1. Jesus Montero
    2. Taijuan Walker
    3. Danny Hultzen
    4. James Paxton
    5. Nick Franklin

    Not bad

  58. sonichound on January 13th, 2012 10:28 pm

    I am happy with the trade. Prospects are always a gamble but so is young pitching. We have plenty of young pitchers coming up but nothing like Montero. It is so much easier to sell a FA pitcher on playing for the M’s in Safeco than getting a good hitter to sign to play here. A lineup that starts off with Ichiro, Ackely, Smoak, Montero and Carp looks like a good beginning. I think everyone is being too quick to jump off the Smoak bandwagon. Guy went through alot in his first full year and I expect him to bounce back especially with some protection behind him.

  59. Valenica on January 13th, 2012 10:29 pm

    Nosei looks like Furbush without the HR problem. We have tons of depth at the BOR now, with Erasmo, Nosei, Furbush, and Beavan. Very interested in who can make it to MOR. As long as one guy is a MOR level pitcher, our Top 4 (Felix, Hultzen, Paxton, Walker) will do more than enough damage.

    Montero, Ackley, Smoak, Carp, Wells, Catricala, Seager, Franklin…so young. That average age has to be like 23. I hope most of them can make something happen.

  60. henryv on January 13th, 2012 10:57 pm

    After thinking about this critically, and less emotionally (I loved Pineda since I saw him in Tacoma), I am recognizing that the hole that Pineda leaves is much, much smaller than the hole that Montero fills.

    There isn’t a single player in the M’s system that I see coming with anything close to Montero’s power.

  61. Mariners35 on January 13th, 2012 11:26 pm

    I hope the AM radio call-in show, Geoff Baker blog crowd will kindly STFU now. Jack got a bat, and a young cost-controlled one at that. Prince Who?

    It hurts to see Pineda go, but a lineup of Ichi, Guti, Ackley, Montero, Smoak, Carp/Wells, Olivo/Jaso, Seager, Ryan/Kawasaki… I might get behind that, yeah.

    Dave’s spot on in noting that the offseason can’t be done. Edwin Jackson for 5/55 + incentives, Jack… get er done…

  62. Valenica on January 13th, 2012 11:30 pm

    Edwin Jackson, no thanks. This team is YOUNG. I don’t want to add an aging veteran for 5 years…rather keep the financial flexibility for later in the future. Everything comes off the books in 2014…let’s start the run then!

  63. lalo on January 13th, 2012 11:31 pm

    Mark Reynolds (trade)
    Mike Carp (LF)
    Ryan /Seager


    I´d be happy with that, balanced lineup, good pitching… we can wait for Hultzen and Paxton.

  64. milehighmariner on January 13th, 2012 11:31 pm

    A few initial thoughts:
    1. Would be happier with this trade if we would have already signed Maholm for what the Cubs got him. Like Dave’s idea to countering this problem with Oswalt or Jackson.
    2. Agree with a few sentiments that good young hitting is more important and fills a gaping hole in our organization that is harder to fill through free agency due to our ballpark concerns on hitters.
    3. Yankee and Red Sox over-hyped prospects tend to scare me but if Noesi truly has the potential to be better than Nova then the trade doesn’t seem so bad.
    4. Haven’t seen this thought floated around, but is there any potential of Montero taking over for Ichiro in RF eventually? Would hate to trade away Pineda for strictly a DH if Smoak progresses the way we all want him to and Montero shows no ability whatsoever to play catcher.
    5. If Montero and Smoak turn into duds – should we have any confidence in our FO’s abililty at evaluating hitters?

  65. lalo on January 13th, 2012 11:34 pm

    Montero won´t play LF, but not a problem to me, his bat is so good, he will hit a lot of opposite field homers, I´m pretty sure…

  66. greentunic on January 13th, 2012 11:39 pm

    “You can never have enough pitching.”

    Makes even more sense now. The Hultzen pick is gaining more and more approval from me (as if it metters).


  67. lalo on January 13th, 2012 11:40 pm

    We really need to trade for Mark Reynolds, in my opinion he would be a great #6 in the lineup, can play third, 40 HR threat, he would cost nothing… Reynolds (7 millions) and Oswalt (8 millions) should fit in the budget…

  68. GLS on January 13th, 2012 11:43 pm

    Is the idea of Montero in the outfield a complete non-starter? Does anyone know if the Yankees ever gave it a try, presumably in the low minors?

  69. GLS on January 13th, 2012 11:45 pm

    Is Reynolds available? Are the Orioles shopping him?

  70. henryv on January 13th, 2012 11:53 pm

    Are the Orioles still in the MLB? Didn’t they fold after 2007 or so? Or are they just like the Washington Generals of the AL East?

  71. lalo on January 13th, 2012 11:58 pm

    Montero played 346 games in the minors with the Yankees, he played all of these games as a catcher, he never played DH or 1B or outfield, only catcher…

  72. GLS on January 14th, 2012 12:12 am

    Baseball America puts Montero at 6’4″ 224 lbs with 13% body fat. This is a tall and athletic build. I don’t see why that kind of body needs to be relegated to DH. They should try him out in the outfield in Spring Training. Can he really be that much worse than Carp?

  73. Valenica on January 14th, 2012 12:31 am

    We should try 3B first if we want to mess with his defensive position. Although honestly I think he sticks at C, even if badly. If Piazza could make it work, why not Montero.

  74. rth1986 on January 14th, 2012 12:57 am

    I, too, would like the Mariners to try to stick with Montero at catcher, or try him at third base. DH or first base should be an absolute last resort. Especially for a team that is still building and has no immediate need at 1B/DH.

    I’m also glad we got Noesi over Nova. Nova is pretty overrated. Noesi seems like another “Zduriencik pitcher” in the Fister, Iwakuma, Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez mold. Another guy who will put up around or less than a 2 BB/9 rate with a decent ground ball rate. In Safeco, that profile seems to do well (if you’re not Carlos Silva, at least).

  75. Valenica on January 14th, 2012 1:03 am

    Now that I think about it, Montero doesn’t need to be great at C – he just needs to be good enough.

    Think about it – Montero at C, means Carp will be at DH, leaving Wells in LF and Gutierrez in CF. This is our best offense/defense formation.

    But if we instead go with Jaso/Olivo in C, that means Montero will be at DH, moving Carp to LF, and if Gutierrez sticks at CF, Wells’ bat and defense are mostly gone.

    Essentially the equation comes down to what’s worth more: Wells’ bat over Jaso/Olivo’s, and Wells’ defense over Carp’s, or Montero’s negative defense vs. Jaso/Olivo’s negative defense? Unless Montero is absolutely terrible behind the plate (I’m talking -20 run worse than Olivo), or Wells’ pulls a 2011 Gutierrez, Montero offers more value to this team as a Catcher, even a bad one.

    The monkey in the wrench is if Gutierrez still isn’t good – then you could move Carp to LF, Wells to CF.

    This would mean Gutierrez’s defense vs. Wells’ CF defense can’t compensate for Gutierrez’s bat vs. Jaso/Olivo’s bat, Jaso/Olivo’s D vs Montero’s D, and Carp’s LF D vs Wells’ LF D.

    Basically if Gutierrez doesn’t bounce back, Montero makes more sense at DH – if Gutierrez does bounce back, Montero is better off as primary Catcher.

  76. rth1986 on January 14th, 2012 1:08 am

    On a slightly related note, boy, I would love for the Mariners to trade Olivo in the next month or so.

    We currently have Montero, Jaso, Olivo, Moore, and Gimenez all capable of catching – and honestly, they’re all below-average defensive catchers. Montero can’t be THAT much worse than Olivo. Olivo loses value with this deal. Even before this trade, I would have been happy with Moore instead of Olivo.

    A platoon of Jaso and Montero would be wonderful, with Montero getting extra time at 1B and DH.

  77. Madison Mariner on January 14th, 2012 1:27 am

    “Now that I think about it, Montero doesn’t need to be great at C – he just needs to be good enough.

    Think about it – Montero at C, means Carp will be at DH, leaving Wells in LF and Gutierrez in CF. This is our best offense/defense formation.

    But if we instead go with Jaso/Olivo in C, that means Montero will be at DH, moving Carp to LF, and if Gutierrez sticks at CF, Wells’ bat and defense are mostly gone.”

    Well, I think you have to look at it more from the perspective of having several capable players for multiple positions, and give them time work out who works best at each position–which comes down to using platoons and players at multiple positions.

    1. Is Montero a future catching stud who will play 140 games+ per season for the next several years? Of course not, but he could catch 30-40 games a season without excessively hurting the team, I think.

    2. Is Carp an excellent LF who will cause us to think that we won’t need a replacement LF for years to come? Of course not, but for 2012, he and Wells platooning in LF is OK, IMO.

    3. Are Miguel Olivo’s receiving skills so great(and Montero’s so poor) that we sign Olivo to an extension and never think of using anyone else? Of course not. In fact, I think we could safely start the season with an Olivo/Jaso platoon at C(with the understanding that Montero will get 3 games at C every 2 weeks or so) and see if Olivo builds up his value enough to trade him midseason, allowing Moore to be called up midseason to take his place as the RHB in the catcher platoon.

    So, imagine a lineup in flux, with Montero pencilled in as the DH but occasionally spelling Smoak at 1B or Jaso/Olivo at C, Carp and Wells sharing time in LF with Carp spelling Montero at DH on days when Montero catches and Wells playing LF. There could be still other days when Wells plays CF, perhaps, Carp plays LF, and Montero DH’s to give Gutierrez a day off.

    (And that last scenario might be a weakness, with no legitimate backup CF to spell Gutierrez, do you play Wells or Ichiro in CF if Gutierrez needs a day off. But, that’s the fun of the next 2 months, I guess.) :)

  78. Madison Mariner on January 14th, 2012 1:46 am

    “A platoon of Jaso and Montero would be wonderful, with Montero getting extra time at 1B and DH.”

    But again, problems arise with having Montero as 1 of only 2 catchers on your active(25-man) roster.

    If, for example, Jaso starts at catcher and Montero is the DH in a given game, and Jaso gets hurt, then Montero has to come in as catcher.

    But–and someone correct me if I’m wrong–doesn’t that cause a team to lose the DH if Montero starts the game at DH, then moves to a defensive position mid-game?

    Yes, in fact, according to our own DMZ, from this very site back in 2006:

    Thus, having 2 catchers plus Montero is kind of a necessity, methinks. ;)

  79. trident77 on January 14th, 2012 2:20 am

    I am intrigued by the mix of responses to this trade. I immediately like what Trader Jack did here although I’d agree with Dave that the M’s gave up a lot.

    The M’s fortunately are pitching rich and while everyone focuses on Pineda’s upside, many chose to forget how he fizzled down the stretch in August and September last year. Maybe pitching in the bandbox Yankee Stadium and in front of NYs scrutinizing media hurts his development more significantly than Montero’s reduced dinger number hitting at Safeco.

    Watching Casper Wells hit his homers to left field while playing at the Safe (all 3 or so) made me think a real right handed power hitter to do alright here. Montero has an equal chance to live up to all that hype as a primary DH, power to all fields 20 – 30 HR guy that isn’t available on the market this year for a league minimum in 2012-13? Makes sense that Cashman forced Jack to throw in a Pineda-esque Campos as the darkhorse in this trade. Would the other piece Hector Noersi be considered as a starter going into training camp? Yankees got more value in this trade at the cost of sending the M’s more immediate impact for 2012 with a real hope to contend beyond that.

  80. GLS on January 14th, 2012 3:17 am

    Yes, if Montero were to play catcher at all, you would still want to carry an additional backup catcher.

  81. ivan on January 14th, 2012 3:32 am

    “Edwin Jackson, no thanks. This team is YOUNG. I don’t want to add an aging veteran.”

    Jackson is 28.

  82. Sports on a Schtick on January 14th, 2012 3:45 am

    But in baseball years Edwin Jackson is like 38!!!

    The deal definitely makes sense in terms of trading strength for weakness but I’m still not wild about it as an isolated move. Having an extra year of Montero (6 vs 5 of Pineda) is nice but losing Campos forever is regrettable.

  83. bookbook on January 14th, 2012 5:05 am

    Losing the DH for part of one game due to injury is not a reason to constrain your roster construction for an entire year.

  84. MrZDevotee on January 14th, 2012 5:31 am


    If Montero was going to step into the catching role full-time for ANY team in baseball, Seattle is one of the few spots where his defense really wouldn’t be a step back for us. More of a lateral move, with HUGE upside at the plate.

    I think it’s his body size, and lack of elite athleticism that makes people question his durability over time behind the dish. Otherwise, fundamentals can be refined. And league average defense back there, with his bat, is a Top 10 talent for catcher.

    Hadn’t considered him behind the plate, but given more consideration it makes sense– at least for 2012. And hell, the Yankees never bothered to move him out from behind homeplate, so they must not have been TOO bothered by his defense.

    (Over the past 3 seasons he’s thrown out 31% of runners, with 8 errors, and 30 passed balls… Olivo, meanwhile, had 28 errors and 162 passed balls over that span, granted in 50% more games, but still, way fewer for Montero…)

  85. MrZDevotee on January 14th, 2012 5:42 am

    Also, if we’re moving away from signing Prince Fielder now, does that mean we have $150-200 million to spend on LF, 3B, and RF over the next couple seasons?


    (I’m more excited about this trade as it sinks in– of all the high prospects out there, if anyone pencils in as “the next” Pujols, A-Gon, Fielder… or yeah, Cabrera… it’s Jesus Montero. So looking at it that way, we just signed Fielder for the years he already gave Milwaukee (early 20′s), we’ll control him for roughly the same amount of years as we would have held Fielder, but Montero will save us upwards of $200 million, and can possibly fill a position of need in the lineup, if he catches.)

  86. MrZDevotee on January 14th, 2012 5:54 am

    More on the “big picture”– or, some simple GMZ-style Mathematics:

    Cliff Lee (FA) + Michael Pineda + Mark Lowe + Jose Campos =
    JOHN JASO (via Josh Lueke)
    (& Aaron Laffey in 2011 via MATT LAWSON)

    Nicely done, sticking to that “we’ve got a plan here”, Mr.Z!

  87. The Ancient Mariner on January 14th, 2012 6:20 am

    One thing I think this deal tells us is that Zduriencik trusts his scouts to keep coming up with young pitchers like Campos.

    I hope he’s right.

  88. Madison Mariner on January 14th, 2012 6:27 am

    “Losing the DH for part of one game due to injury is not a reason to constrain your roster construction for an entire year.”

    Errr…no, no, you’re misunderstanding.

    Having Montero being only 1 of 2 catchers while also using him as a part time DH would be the “constraint” on roster construction.

    Such a problem would not exist if you either:

    a. Carry 2 catchers plus Montero as your DH/part time C(and occasional 1B).
    b. Sign Prince Fielder to DH(or someone else, since Prince may not want to be a full-time DH), leaving Smoak at 1B, and go with Jaso and Montero–or Montero and anyone else-as the 2 catchers.

    I only wrote what I did in response to someone else suggesting that the M’s should carry Montero and Jaso as catchers(and only them), with Montero also being used at DH, and I pointed out why that wouldn’t work. ;)

  89. rsrobinson on January 14th, 2012 6:30 am

    I hate to see Pineda go but I like the trade. I’m sick of watching this team trying to scratch out runs and Ackley, Smoak, and Montero could form the nucleus of this team’s lineup for years to come. The M’s have enough good young pitching prospects to absorb the loss of Pineda, and who would have thought prior to the Cliff Lee trade that we would eventually end up with both Smoak and Montero?

    Even if Montero winds up as a DH he should still be a major upgrade over what we’ve gotten out of the position since Edgar retired. As an anecdotal note, I have a co-worker who is a big Red Sox fan who is very happy to see Montero leaving the Yankees. He calls him a “beast.”

    I’m not nearly as thrilled about the Campos for Noesi part of it, but the fact that Noesi is MLB ready while Campos is still years away helps even it out a bit.

  90. Philly M's fan on January 14th, 2012 6:55 am

    Hate to help the yankees, but we obviously need bats inthe worst way. This saves us about $150 million instead of prince fielder. Any chance Montero could play Left in a yr or 2?

  91. Johnny Slick on January 14th, 2012 7:28 am

    Meh. I still don’t think that using Montero as a DH necessarily means you need to carry 3 catchers. I think what you need to do more is have a AAAA guy available in Tacoma who can step in. There may not be a lot of great catchers out there but there seem to be a crap-ton of so-so ones willing to make the major league minimum.

    One point with Campos though is that yeah, he’s awesome and all… 9 K/9 and like a 6.5 K/W rate at age 18, but a lot can happen to pitchers. He could almost maintain those rates and be like Greg Maddux or something (then this trade would really suck) or he could blow out his arm before he gets above AA ball. I’m not saying he isn’t a prospect but an 18 year old starting pitching prospect has to be about as variable a prospect as you can find. TINSTAAPP.

  92. ripperlv on January 14th, 2012 7:43 am

    I think you hit the nail on the head Dave. It’s the 7th inning of the Hot Stove League and JZ is getting warmed up.

  93. ivan on January 14th, 2012 8:11 am

    I say let him catch until he demonstrates even to himself that he isn’t up to it. I respect the opinions of everyone who has scouted him, but come on! He’s 22 years old and hasn’t played a full season in the bigs yet. In every interview with him that I have read, he insists that he loves catching and wants to catch. Suppose we see what Hansen can do with him before we all jump on the “he can’t catch” bandwagon.

    I’m not saying he’s the next Johnny Bench, or Ivan Rodriguez, because I don’t know. What the hell is wrong with letting him catch 50-60 games for starters and DHing the rest of the time, till they know for sure what they have here?

    Yes, I think they should start the season with Olivo, Jaso, and Montero on the roster. They can flip one of the veterans at the trading deadline if need be.

  94. qwerty on January 14th, 2012 8:25 am

    I like this. My only wish is that it would have been Mike Stanton coming to the M’s instead. I like the Oswalt/Jackson idea plus a ‘minor’ trade to bring a blocked 3b prospect.

  95. groundzero55 on January 14th, 2012 8:32 am

    I just caught on Twitter the blurb about the M’s wanting him to be behind the plate. Since they also *just* signed Jaso as well, MAYBE this means Olivo might be traded? I do think Olivo is more likely to be traded than Moore is.

    I also was thinking the willingness to trade away Pineda could means the FO is very high on the idea of Hultzen or Paxton making the rotation out of spring training.

  96. gwangung on January 14th, 2012 9:12 am

    Agree with Dave that it’s a 90% chance he’ll be a DH/1B. But also agree that you should try him out a few games at C (this year, what’s it gonna hurt?).

    Yeah, Oswalt short term or Jackson longer term seems interesting…And is there a short 3B out there?

  97. downwarddog on January 14th, 2012 9:58 am

    Hard for me to stomach this trade. One stud pitcher in the hand and one in the bush for a DH and a reliever seems a bit lopsided. This package is nowhere near what the Padres got for Latos, who – as Dave pointed out – has one less year of control. (sigh) Montero for Pineda straight up would have made a lot more sense.

  98. casey on January 14th, 2012 10:05 am

    not sure how many of us have actually seen Montero catch, but makes no sense to me about all these pronouncements that we agree he will be a dh/1b.

    Read on Baseball America site that he lead International league catchers in fielding percentage, that last summer he cut is his passed balls from 15 to 7 (Miggy had 11 and Jaso 4) and that he has a plus arm for a catcher but needs work on throwing mechanics (he is 22). He is also listed as the Yankees #1 prospect as a catcher, not a dh or first baseman.

    This is sounding like the whole Ackley can’t play 2nd base discussion from last winter.

    Not having seen him my best guess is he starts the season as M’s starting catcher.

  99. Longgeorge1 on January 14th, 2012 10:29 am

    I haven’t seen Montero play so I am ASKING questions. Since he made it through AAA as a catcher I assume he can throw – so – IF 1st is not out of the Question why not 3rd? I realize there are differences, but a poor 1st baseman can limit the effectiveness of the entire infield while a poor 3rd sacker is – well – a poor 3rd sacker. Also if he can move at all, he would not be the first catcher to play right field. Just thoughts so shoot and laugh away. ( I agree with Casey maybe he CAN catch )

  100. casey on January 14th, 2012 10:34 am

    Have you guys ever seen the Molina boys in person – arguably best defensive catchers in baseball. Each one is 6’2 250+ or 5’11 230+

  101. Leog on January 14th, 2012 10:37 am

    Like the deal, trading surplus for a weakness. Would like the overall picture a lot more if JZ had not traded Fister.

  102. Westside guy on January 14th, 2012 10:39 am

    I figured it out – the whole Montero as DH+catcher thing, PLUS our left field problems.

    It’s so obvious. Zduriencik plans on bringing back Ibañez to play left field! After all, Raul was the team’s emergency catcher when he was on the roster… :-P

    (Yes, if you can’t tell – my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek)

  103. sexymarinersfan on January 14th, 2012 10:39 am

    With the Houston Astros pubicly saying that “they would be willing to eat half of Carlos Lee’s salary”, we he make sense to go and get in a trade? Maybe for say, Mike Carp? I know he’s a not a lefty hitter. Or does Dave Cameron’s Will Venable idea sound more realistically plausible?

    While I do like the trade for Montero, I’m not in love with it. I really hate the fact that we traded Campos. That really stings! However, Noesi could be part of a trade packaged around Carp or Olivo for another bat that might fight around 3B or the OF.

    I think this opens up a TON of different ave’s that we could go down now compared to where we were before this trade. Michael, you were awesome to watch in a Mariners uniform man! I look forward to seeing you have a long and great career and just at least think about us when you become a free agent(yeah right, hah ahaaa…).

    Montero is gonna be a beast. I don’t care that he’s mostly profiled as a DH, just get his stick in the middle of this lineup ASAP!!!!! This offense has needed a NITRO BOOST INFUSION for 2 years now, and it just got one in a big WAY!! I can’t wait to get my first Montero jersey. I wonder what his number is gonna be, it can’t really be 63 can it? “7″ maybe? Let Roger work with him. Obviously the M’s think they can salvage him at catcher. That’s a good thing.

    The book is still out on Noesi. I think his numbers will improve due to pitching at Safeco obviously and that it’ll be his 2nd time go around. Might be a useful arm in the pen. You can never have too many good arms, and Jack is picking’em up left and right right now!

    Good job Z. Way to man up and get this deal done. That took some balls. Good bye Mr. Pineda. You will be missed. AND HELLO JESUS MONTERO!!! EVERYONE LOVES A HOME RUN HITTER!!

  104. casey on January 14th, 2012 10:43 am

    didn’t Carp hit .275 with 12 homers in half a season and is 25 and Lee hit .275 with 18 homers in a full season and is 35. Both are bad in the field …not sure where the upgrade is.

  105. JoshJones on January 14th, 2012 10:48 am

    This signing should change the AB’s picture quite a bit.

    Starters (AB’s)
    C Jesus Montero 400
    1B Justin Smoak 600
    2B Dustin Ackley 600
    SS Brendan Ryan 500
    3B Kyle Seager 600
    LF Casper Wells 400
    CF Franklin Gutierrez 500
    RF Ichiro Suzuki 600
    DH Mike Carp 400
    Bench (ABS)
    C John Jaso 300
    C Miguel Olivo 0 (that’s right ZERO)
    IF Chone Figgins 200
    IF Munenori Kawasaki 200
    OF Trayvon Robinson 200

    (5500 total AB’s)

    I altered Daves AB distibution from a few weeks ago by taking away Olivos 300ABs, 100ABs away from Carp and Figgins, and put Montero in at 400ABs.

    Something’s gotta give. Unless we don’t plan to let Olivo hit.

    1. Trade Olivo and $1M to the Red Sox for a PTBNL. Saves us $2.75M and gives us enough AB’s to spread around.

  106. Valenica on January 14th, 2012 11:43 am

    Sounds like Montero is playing C for us. I’m sure Z’s team did their due-diligence, and liked his defense enough to make the trade.

    Keep in mind Montero’s bat was so good, even with the defensive questions he was placing Top 5 prospect year after year. If there’s any bat in the minors with M-Cab level potential, it’s Montero.

    Personally this is better than the Latos trade IMO. Sure it’s not as much upside, but instead we got basically a sure thing, and the best bat in the minors for the last 2-3 years outside of Harper.

  107. Westside guy on January 14th, 2012 11:47 am

    I altered Daves AB distibution from a few weeks ago by taking away Olivos 300ABs, 100ABs away from Carp and Figgins, and put Montero in at 400ABs.

    If Olivo is on the roster opening day – and I expect that’s likely – I can see no reason we should expect Montero to be our starting catcher. Wedge loves Olivo.

  108. orin44 on January 14th, 2012 11:56 am

    This trade really gets me excited to think about the team in 2013. Along with Jesus Montero, Ackley, Smoak and Carp. You’ll have Nick Franklin at the helm at short stop, maybe even have him at second with Ackley moving into center field. You also have Francisco Martinez at least at AAA getting more MLB ready and Johermyn Chavez should be ready to take over at right field. The rotation will have Hernandez, Hultzen, Paxton, Rameriz and Beavan. If Montero can play catcher and DH on his off days, this trade looks a lot better. I really hope that’s the case and we do move Olivo to a team that needs catching help. Also, if Seattle does add another veteran starter, like Edwin Jackson or Joe Saunders, to the roster, we could move him at the trade deadline for some more prospects considering that pitcher will increase his value pitching at Safeco. I would love to see Seattle make a move for a veteran who can play third base this season along side Kyle Seager, maybe someone like Wilson Betemit. Looking at the Yankee’s roster, it’s too bad we didn’t pry Eduarado Nunez from them. He would have made a great platoon partner with Saeger and he can also play short stop and second. All that being said, can’t wait to this team grow together!

  109. Johnny Slick on January 14th, 2012 11:57 am

    I think that a likely scenario is that the team carries Olivo, Jaso, and Montero out of spring training, gives Montero say a day or two a week behind the plate, and sees if he can play the position in a similar manner to what they did with Jeff Clement. I also think Montero plays a lot of C in ST and if he shows he can definitively play the position, there’s a good, solid chance that Olivo gets cut just so that Wedge has no choice but to use Montero in that role.

    I have to agree that at least as far as the numbers go, Montero looks a *lot* better as a fielder than Rob Johnson. Granted, that’s not a lot to overcome.

  110. MrZDevotee on January 14th, 2012 12:10 pm

    M’s have started:

    Rob Johnson
    Adam Moore
    Miguel Olivo
    Jamie Burke
    Chris Gimenez

    He wasn’t the Yankees top choice to be a catcher BECAUSE… they already have MLB catchers! They did however NEVER move him out of that position, so they saw it as his natural position.

    All said, I think Montero will be just fine behind the plate in Seattle, thank you. At least long enough to decide otherwise.

  111. cbrody on January 14th, 2012 12:16 pm

    I love the trade. We know that the M’s have plenty of pitching in the farm system. This improves the anorexic offense and is a fair trade for both teams. Yes, Campos has a lot of potential, but it’s just that, at this point. Everett may be close in distance to Seattle, but the ‘Sox are far from the Mariners in terms of talent. Noesi is a potential WHIP & K/9 guy. At the end, they traded for offense, which is a plus. Now, hopefully Nick Franklin will progress and be here in 2013.

  112. dingla on January 14th, 2012 12:36 pm

    Personally for me, after clearly seeing Cy Young talent in Pineda this is going to take some time to get over. We shall see…

  113. Seattle-Kurt on January 14th, 2012 1:09 pm

    Pineda was very good, great at times, but let’s not anoint him anything more than that. I like this trade, for no other reason than Z is doing more than most of the other Mariner GMs has done…he’s looking at what this team needs and having the balls to take action. We’ll miss Pineda, but the Ms have the talent to replace him. Montero is a big bat and they desperately needed to make a move like this to get the offense needed to someday come close to the pitching. Besides, the off-season isn’t over and if Jack has shown anything, it’s a propensity to surprise us with outside the box thinking. Let’s let the off-season play out and then judge it.

  114. JoshJones on January 14th, 2012 1:45 pm

    I’d love to see a post about Mark Reynolds. He’s a very intriguing option for the M’s at 3rd base. I realize a lot of people think we have that in Alex Liddi but Reynolds has proven he can bash MLB pitching. He strikes out A LOT and his defense isn’t amazing but he’s 28 and under contract for $7.8M in 2012. Career .238AVG/.331OBP/.483SLG/.814OPS
    35HR/75BB AVG over the past 4 seasons

    By throwing some combo of Seager/Liddi/B+ prospect we might be able to pry him away. Perhaps extending the deal to include Figgins. Several intriguing options.

  115. lalo on January 14th, 2012 2:27 pm

    Worth noting that Jesus Montero was ranked third in the baseball america top prospects list last year, the last Mariner prospect ranked that high was Felix Hernandez (#2 behind Joe Mauer in 2005), before Felix: Alex Rodríguez was ranked #1 in 1995, the #2 that year was Chipper Jones…

    Good company for Jesus Montero, Felix and A-Rod…

  116. ivan on January 14th, 2012 2:59 pm

    “This trade really gets me excited to think about the team in 2013. Along with Jesus Montero, Ackley, Smoak and Carp. You’ll have Nick Franklin at the helm at short stop, maybe even have him at second with Ackley moving into center field. ”

    Let’s not get carried away here, please. Let’s see Franklin play even a full season at AA before he plays a full season at AAA. Let’s see if he’s better than Carlos Triunfel before we hand him Ryan’s job, OK?

    I don’t know if some people appreciate what we have in Ryan. I watched Omar play SS here and for his whole career, and defensively, Ryan is as good or better than Omar ever was. Hands, range, arm, Ryan has it all. Only Alex was a better defensive SS in a Mariner uniform than Ryan has been, in my strictly subjective opinion, and not by much.

    Strictly on defense, Ryan is a championship-level shortstop, just as Mark Belanger — a far worse hitter than Ryan — was, and I wouldn’t be so glib about replacing him. It is unlikely that any shortstop presently in this organization can match Ryan’s defensive ability. I wish we still had Beltre here to play alongside him. Getting him was one of Zduriencik’s very best deals.

  117. Liam on January 14th, 2012 3:37 pm

    Dave posted last week about Mark Reynolds:

  118. orin44 on January 14th, 2012 4:08 pm

    Let’s not get carried away here, please. Let’s see Franklin play even a full season at AA before he plays a full season at AAA. Let’s see if he’s better than Carlos Triunfel before we hand him Ryan’s job, OK?

    - All Franklin has done is mash coming out of high school into the minors. He had to overcome getting hit in the face with a bat than food poisoning last year, but before that he was doing really well. Some scouts don’t know if he’ll project well defensively or not at short, but he’ll make the majors because he can hit. Carlos Truinfel has been up and down throughout his minor league career. Sure, Ryan is great defensively, which is fine, but the M’s anemic offense needs guys who can hit and defend. If Gutierrez can rebound along with Ichiro, it won’t be so bad having Ryan in the offense. My excitement for the future is a positive, because I’ve never seen this many touted young players in M’s farm system. Also, Ryan is good, but he’s no “Little O” don’t compare the two, as Omar is a future Hall of Famer. And, AROD was no wizard with the glove.

  119. ivan on January 14th, 2012 4:31 pm

    “Also, Ryan is good, but he’s no “Little O” don’t compare the two, as Omar is a future Hall of Famer.”

    His defense is every bit as good or better than Omar’s was. That’s all I was saying. Omar hit better by far and away than Ryan did, and had a much longer career. There’s no comparison as an all-around player, and I never said there was.

    “And, AROD was no wizard with the glove.”

    You can’t be serious.

  120. KevinPmoorE on January 14th, 2012 4:32 pm

    I am flat out CONVINCED that Nolan Ryan coming out publicly and saying he started talks with Fielder is a CLEAR sign the Mariners are the front runners and Boras is just trying to squeeze out a few more $$$…I think we got Prince.

  121. orin44 on January 14th, 2012 6:18 pm

    AROD was never the top defensive short stop, serviceable with a strong arm, yes. He was by no stretch of imagination better than Omar or Brendan Ryan definsively like you first posted. He never had the range of the other two, and is now playing third base for a reason. He would have been moved to third even if he was playing without Jeter, who never should have won his last gold glove in 2010. But go ahead and support the biggest duschebag in the history of the game. I’m just stoked about the direction of this team and the promise of it’s young players. Go M’s!!!

  122. rth1986 on January 14th, 2012 6:43 pm

    The Mariners need to give Montero every opportunity to be a catcher. There is no reason not to give him at least 70 games there in 2012. Trade Olivo for a reliever.

    From a WAR standpoint, the positional difference between catcher and DH is almost 30 runs. Can Montero’s defense be 30 runs bad?? I doubt it. Even if he’s a -20 run defensive catcher, he’s still more valuable there than at DH. Sure, there are concerns about keeping him healthy behind the plate and if it would detract from his offensive production. It’s definitely worth a shot, though. The Mariners have nothing to lose by trying him there in 2012.

  123. ivan on January 14th, 2012 9:14 pm

    “But go ahead and support the biggest duschebag in the history of the game. I’m just stoked about the direction of this team and the promise of it’s young players. Go M’s!!!”

    You need to learn some history, son, and some spelling. The greatest douchebags in the history of the game were the eight Chicago White Sox who took money from gamblers to dump the 1919 World Series. And Alex Rodriguez, whether you like him or not, is the best player to ever wear a Mariners uniform, and the only shortstop in history who could ever seriously be compared with Honus Wagner.

  124. PouxBear on January 14th, 2012 9:32 pm

    …the best player to ever wear a Mariners uniform…

    Ken Griffey Jr. says hi

  125. dingla on January 15th, 2012 12:19 am

    Oh hi Ken Griffey Jr.

  126. ivan on January 15th, 2012 5:09 am

    Alex was a shortstop, the most demanding position on the field. Case closed.

  127. mazamas1 on January 15th, 2012 7:57 am

    Dave, this type of analysis is what makes you the MVB (Most Valuable Blogger) for the M’s

  128. stevemotivateir on January 15th, 2012 12:45 pm

    “Alex was a shortstop, the most demanding position on the field. Case closed.”

    I hope you don’t practice law.

  129. Mariners35 on January 15th, 2012 3:04 pm

    The best player to ever wear an M’s uniform was Edgar. Junior was much closer to ARod on the dbag scale. Edgar was productive AND professional.

  130. Westside guy on January 15th, 2012 4:46 pm

    Defensively, Alex was not at the same elite level as Griffey was.

    If you’re going to make absolute judgements simply based on position played (versus how well they played them), then David Bell was amazing too – 4x as valuable as any of these guys because he could cover any of the infield positions.

    Bottom line is – we were extremely fortunate that we got to watch Griffey, A-Rod, and Edgar play on our team in the 1990s. Whatever Griffey’s and Alex’s personal foibles were, they gave us everything they had on the diamond.

  131. pogicory1 on January 15th, 2012 7:12 pm

    I would love to see the Mariners make a trade for one of Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano. Both teams are looking to get rid of their players while at the same time eating a portion of their salary. Lee in particular would be a great fit.

    His defensive metrics; while bad, are on par with that of Carp.

    Lee’s last three years (UZR): +18.1, -20.7, -12.7
    Carp’s last two years (UZR): +4.9, -18.0

    In addition, Lee was worth 3.2 Wins Above Replacement last year to Carp’s .5 WAR. While he is no gem defensively, he would be a welcomed bat to an anemic offense.

  132. pogicory1 on January 15th, 2012 7:34 pm

    Soriano, while he has struggled with his contact rates and takes almost 0 walks, his defense could be considered a tad above league average (12.6 UZR Career Avg. in the outfield). An average offensive outfielder with some pop could help this team next year. The best thing about him is that he won’t cost the Mariners much in terms of talent and will take up very little of what budget we have to spend.

  133. bookbook on January 15th, 2012 10:49 pm

    I’m way out of my depth here, but my recollection of advanced analyses is that Griffey was average to below-average on defense at his peak, whereas A-Rod was above average. Add in the greater positional value at SS, better baserunning and comparable bat, (+ greater durability) and A-Rod strides ahead. (A-Rod’s bat is “ahead” right now, but he’s contractually locked in for 6 years of declining.) They’re both first ballot HOFers on the merits, whereas Omar will have the privilege of attending their induction ceremonies.

    One interesting note from Baseball-Reference: Griffey’s OPS+ as a Mariner outpaced A-Rod’s (144-137). A-Rod had his offensive peak in Texas (OPS+ 155), whereas Griffey really wasn’t Griffey outside of Seattle other than one year and parts of a couple others.

  134. formerstarQB16 on January 16th, 2012 10:07 am

    There is absolutely no way Griffey was “average to below-average defensively at his peak”. First off, there is no way enough data was collected to compare him against his peers. Secondly… forget the statistics (yes I know that’s sacrilege). There is no way you could watch the plays he was making and consider him anything less than one of the best defensive outfielders to ever play the game, let alone amongst his peers at the time. To this day, no one can climb the wall the way Jr. did. If his body wouldn’t have broken down, he would’ve been considered one of the top 5 players to ever play the game.

  135. gwangung on January 16th, 2012 12:43 pm

    There is no way you could watch the plays he was making and consider him anything less than one of the best defensive outfielders to ever play the game, let alone amongst his peers at the time

    Really? I recall a lot of people did indeed saying that. He could be taking poor jumps, be positioned poorly or misjudge balls quite poorly. Being able to climb the wall is not a measure of fielding ability.

  136. formerstarQB16 on January 16th, 2012 2:36 pm

    Actually being able to climb the wall is a measure of fielding ability… just not the only one.

    This is an impossible argument to win, but I think you’re crazy for not thinking he was a GREAT defensive Center Fielder. The guy won a Golden Glove every single year of the 1990′s (and yes I know the inherent bias of the award).

    Some people just take an opposing argument for the sake of argument.

    I’ll give you an out on this…

    Are you talking about Griffey’s defense while a Red or during his prime?

  137. bookbook on January 16th, 2012 10:12 pm

    “One of the best kept secrets in baseball is that Ken Griffey Jr. was never as good as people thought he was. He made spectacular catches that better center fielders made look easy.” Scott Barzilla at Bleacher Report.

    I confess I didn’t find the statistics that support this statement, but it was stated by the stats community fairly frequently back in the day (Not that he was bad, just that he was more decent than great on defense). He won his Gold Gloves with his bat and some highlight reel plays.

    Also, to be fair Mr. Barzilla ranks Griffey #6 all-time at CF, taking both offense and defense into account. Which ain’t half-bad.

  138. formerstarQB16 on January 17th, 2012 9:21 am

    Now I’m going to be rude.

    1) You quote the Bleacher Report???? Really???

    2) Can you find one reference anywhere on the entirety of the internet that shows any statistician saying that he wasn’t that great defensively… AND backed that up with numbers?

    3) There were many articles and posts, including ones by Dave that point out how bad Griffey was post 2000… not pre.

    4) LOOK AT HIS FIELDING STATS ON FANGRAPHS! In his prime, he was comparable to Kenny Lofton, Andrew Jones, and Devon White.

    Why in the h@!! do people speak from a point of knowledge, when they have none?

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