After the news of the Jesus Montero/Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda/Jose Campos trade broke, I immediately reached out to Jeff Sullivan, head honcho of Lookout Landing, the fantastic Seattle Mariners SB Nation site.
Let's get straight to it!
BC: Why should Yankees fans be happy about this trade?
JS: I probably don't even need to give you an answer. By now I'm sure you've figured it out. I understand the emotional blow that comes from watching your team trade a guy like Jesus Montero. I really do. In no small part because the Mariners just traded Michael Pineda. Pineda is just such an absolute treat to watch when he's on. His fastball is a legitimate swing-and-miss pitch, which is rare, and when combined with his slider and his height he just doesn't let righties do anything. Lefties, meanwhile, haven't exactly lit him up. In Pineda, the Yankees have a young #2 with #1 talent, and they have him under team control for five years. So Sabathia's getting older. So Nova doesn't miss bats. So the others are the others. Pineda is a stabilizer now and down the road.
BC: How do Mariners fans feel about this trade?
JS: I can't speak for all of them. I can only speak for one of them! But if I had to guess, I'd say Mariners fans were probably all horrified at first, since Pineda was a top young talent and Montero was a relative unknown. As those fans have come to understand more about the deal, though, they're probably coming around - maybe not to the point where they like it, but to the point where they're okay with it, and they get it. Pineda's hard to lose. The Mariners have more pitching coming. The Mariners did not have bats coming. Mariners fans have been desperately pleading for a big bat, and Montero could be a big bat for a while. Basically, the average Mariners fan now probably has a different opinion than he did shortly after news first broke.
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BC: Tell us more about Jose Campos?
JS: Campos is a long ways away. Obviously. He's 19 and spent last year in short-season ball. But for a guy at that level, he put up extraordinary results, and he was electrifying - he wasn't coasting by on a breaking ball. His fastball gets into the mid-90s, and he throws a curve and a change that are inconsistent but solid for a teenager. Campos isn't a phenom. He doesn't seem like a phenom, anyway. But he was one of the better prospects with the Mariners, and now he's one of the better prospects with the Yankees. While he'll rise slowly, if he stays healthy, he won't rise that slowly. Monitor him, and then prepare to fall in love if he finds success at double-A.
BC: How do you see this deal being looked at in 5 years? 10 years?
JS: Probably on the Internet. (Jokes!) I pretty much can't answer this question. It depends on so many things. Does Montero catch? Does he catch, but catch horribly? Does Pineda stay healthy? Does Pineda's changeup ever develop? Does Noesi start? Relieve? How has Campos progressed? I think the most likely individual outcome, just playing the odds, is that Pineda stays good, Montero becomes a pretty good DH, Noesi soaks up innings in an unspectacular fashion and Campos never amounts to much. But I'd bet on the field over that. I don't think this trade will be seen as lopsided, but I can see ways that that could happen.
BC: Is Michael Pineda a legitimate #2 starter in the AL East?
JS: Yes. Not that he necessarily needs to be, with Hiroki Kuroda around. Who are the other #2 starters? Josh Beckett? Brandon Morrow? David Price? Nick Markakis probably? Pineda's 2011 numbers match up. By ERA, by FIP, by xFIP, by whatever, Michael Pineda's performance was a performance worthy of a slot at the front of a rotation, and there's little reason to think his performance was a fluke.
Thanks again to Jeff for the answers!