Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Where Will Josh Hamilton Play Next Season?

Josh Hamilton has been on a tear over the last few weeks.  Now with 18 home runs and 44 RBI on the season, he is by far the front-runner for the AL MVP award, as well as a number of other important accolades.  Despite his alleged relapse into drinking over the break, he seems unfazed when it comes to playing baseball.  Ever since Hamilton's first Major League season in 2007, he has been a force to be reckoned with.  He has led the league in both RBI and Batting Average, and won the MVP award in 2010, but this season appears to be even better than all of the rest.

And like many of the great seasons in league history, it has come during a contract year.

So where will Josh end up next season?  Contract talks with the Rangers have been uncertain, to say the least.  Stories of Hamilton's desire to return and of his expectations not to have flooded the media for months--and it's hard to imagine that the Scott Boras factor is having no effect on the difficulties of the proceedings.

The Rangers have a very good team, but Hamilton is the Crown jewel.  Losing him would be severely detrimental to the team.  However, overpaying him on a long-term contract would have equally negative effects.  The team may have to decide between these two options unless they get incredibly lucky in the off-season (mid-season signings are rare to begin with and would not be a popular idea to a man who, in all likelihood, wants to test the free agent market).  Hamilton will likely use the contracts of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder from this most recent off-season as precedents.  While he is not a first baseman, the power numbers he will put up this year will, if Hamilton maintains even a slightly worse pace, be much better than those Pujols and Fielder in recent years.

Ten years is a long time, especially for someone like Hamilton.  This is not just because of his drug issues and the fear of their recurrence, but also because of his age.  Hamilton will be 31 later this month.

In the event that Texas refuses to adhere to Hamilton's demands, he would have to start looking elsewhere.  So where would he go?

Recently, teams like the Marlins, Nationals, Angels, and Tigers have pulled off shockers with mega-deals over the last two off-seasons, so there is always the possibility that an affluent, under-the-radar team makes a run at the one-time MVP.  As for the places he would be most likely to end up:

The Yankees are always a possibility for every big-name free agent and Hamilton will be no exception.  With Curtis Granderson and  Brett Gardner as locks (barring trade), the Yankees are left with one space in the outfield.  Nick Swisher is a free agent at the end of the season and may be allowed to walk if a better option comes available.  Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez are in the same boat--although, if brought back, the Yanks would prefer to have them as DHs and pinch hitters.  The Bronx Bombers would have no trouble paying Hamilton, and will likely not be deterred by a long-term deal (they signed A-Rod to a ten year contract in 2007), so the question comes down to whether or not they want Hamilton.  With the impending losses of Swisher, Jones, and Ibanez, it seems improbable that they would turn down the opportunity at such a player.

The Red Sox are another option.  They are a team in distress, and they have the money to make moves.  Of course, any player has to be wary about entering into the atmosphere of the Red Sox clubhouse.  The team has dealt with numerous controversies through the season, to date, and it does not seem like the most enticing place to go, right now.  Nevertheless, if Hamilton likes what he is being offered, the Sox are a possibility.

The final destination that would seem probable for Josh Hamilton at this moment, is Miami.  The team has a new ballpark, and they were not afraid of spending big this most recent off-season.  The team is struggling mightily at the moment, and it would not be surprising to see them try to swing another big move in an attempt to fix the problem.  They are lacking in the outfield, as no one is safe after Giancarlo Stanton--particularly not Logan Morrison, who had some well documented issues with the team last season.  Miami is my pick for in the Hamilton-sweepstakes at the moment.

There will be other teams in the mix, but these are the three big-spenders who will likely be willing to offer Hamilton what he wants.

I will keep you posted if anything crops up in the coming months.  For now, we will have to wait and see if Josh Hamilton can maintain his Triple-Crown pace.  It will certainly be exciting to see who comes out in front of this race.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Random Comment Fight - Pirates Rotation

This was an argument between two people in a comment section on MLBTR.com, and it was quite interesting. Who's the idiot in this scenario? Or both? I'm not putting my money on either.

you mean FIVE more good pitcher could probably make the Pirates a contender.

The only teams Pirates can beat in the central are the Astros and the Cubs, and even that's not a guarantee.
Jeff Karstens last year:
3.38 ERA, 1.207 WHIP, 2.91 SO/BB

Edwin Jackson last year:
3.92 ERA, 1.422 WHIP, 2.49 SO/BB

Gio Gonzalez last year:
3.12 ERA, 1.317 WHIP, 2.16 SO/BB

Karstens is the #4 pitcher in the Pirates rotation.
Jeff Karstens in '09: 5.42 ERA, 1.481 WHIP, 1.16 SO/BB
Jeff Karstens in '10: 4.92 ERA, 1.410 WHIP, 2.67 SO/BB
Jeff Karstens career: 4.52 ERA, 1.365 WHIP, 1.91 SO/BB
A good rotation might not even have this kind of production from their #5 guy. Karstens is servicable at best, until I see more of this "improvement" from him.

Charlie Morton in '11: 1.532 WHIP, 4.08 xFIP, 4.0 BB/9. Not bad but not good either, and that's his career year.
James McDonald in '11: 1.485 WHIP, 4.46 xFIP, 4.11 BB/9. Again, not bad but not good either, another career year here.
Paul Maholm in '11: 1.294 WHIP (about 130 points below his career average), 5.38 SO/9, 4.03 xFIP BUT his BABIP is 20 points below his career average. For the third time, not bad but not good.
Kevin Correia in '11: 4.79 ERA, 1.390 WHIP, 4.55 SO/9, and his BABIP wasn't too far off his career average. That "good" to you?

Those are the five starters in the Pirates rotation. Do those stats honestly say "good pitcher!" to you?

Obviously I'm only picking the stats that is helpful to my side of the argument, but to be honest, I do not believe that any of these guys are "good" until they repeat their performance a couple more times.
You are looking at a group of guys that have only started 15+ games for 1 or 2 years and saying they have had "career years"? That seems awfully foolish. You think the rotation is bad based on nothing more than your own assumption that they will not continue to improve. Based on that logic, would you argue that the Braves rotation is a weakness as well?
Also, Paul Maholm is a Cub.
I'm basing it on last year's rotation, not this year, so I put Maholm in there.

Another point, how else am I suppose to base their career years? Career year is simply the best year of their career, and mark my words, Jeff Karstens probably had one of this top 3 seasons. And my "foolish assumptions"? Please, go look at fangraphs and see their projections for these guys. Are they always accurate? No. Can you come up with something better?

All the projections at fangraphs have all these people in the mediocre area, the 4-somethings ERA, except Bedard, whom they pegged at around 120 to 130 IP. You can dream all you want, the Pirates rotation will never be considered good in 2012 unless some major surprises (or minor miracles, your pick) happen.
Again, you seem to want to ignore facts and results and base your opinions solely on guesses, hunches and predictions.

The fact that you don't even know who is in the Pirates rotations seems to sum it up perfectly.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Owners and Mandated Signing

Prince Fielder signs with Detroit and got stuck in the tunnel when he, Cabrera, Martinez and Avila weren't willing to step aside to let the others go through created a considerable logjam in the process.

He's a fine player and all, but the Tigers already have DH and first base manned by Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. Look, you can never have too much offense, but they've got four guys who probably isn't going anywhere soon and only three positions to play. Catcher, first base, and designated hitter, for Cabrera, Avila, Martinez and Fielder. Yes, Cabrera's played some third and left field earlier in his career, but he's already got horrible defense at first. If he played left field, with the Tigers staff consisting mostly of flyball pitchers, he'd make all those who complained about Delmon Young's defense grimace. If he played third base, well, Tigers starters should be glad that they are right handed. Martinez is obviously not going to catch, with Avila behind the plate. If he can still hit a bit when he comes back, maybe Detroit can eat a bit of his 12.5 million salary and trade him for something useful. Avila? He's going nowhere. After Detroit finally finding a respectable catcher after Pudge hit his declining phase, the affordable youngster figures to stay in Detriot for a while, judging by their farm system.

Which brings me to my main point. Owner mandated signings often does more harm than good. A good example would be Rafael Soriano, the 10 million dollar middle reliever. Last winter, Brian Cashman was forced to sign him under instructions from the Steinbrenners and Randy Levine. Soriano was ineffective early on, then lost some time to injury. Granted, he came back and pitched well down the stretch, but with the emergence of David Robertson, he is nothing more than a guy paid 10 million per year to pitch the 7th and occasionally the 8th. In comparison, Papelbon will get 12.5 million per year for the next four years. Ryan Madson will get a bit less than Soriano. That's only the start of it. With Joba coming back in the summer and Hughes potentially in the pen too, the Yankees are using hundred dollar bills for toilet paper have one crowded bullpen.

Cashman was about to part ways with A-Rod when he opted out his contract, but thanks to the Boss A-Rod receives a 10 year contract for 275 million guaranteed. He has been declining and/or hurt ever since. I won't talk about this too much, because obviously this won't end well. A 27.5 million guy whose speed, power, contact and batting eye are all declining, not to mention defense. With first base blocked by a 22.5 million player, the only likely destination for him is DH, and we all know that you don't pay that money for a DH.

In recent years, owner-mandated signings haven't really gone too well, but could this one be different? Doubtful, in my opinion.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Were the Red Sox Thinking? Scutaro to the Rockies

Earlier this winter, Jed Lowrie was sent to Houston.  Now Marco Scutaro, who was believed to be first in line for Lowrie's spot in the Red Sox infield, has been shipped off to Colorado in exchange for Clayton Mortensen.  This move leaves Jose Iglesias, Mike Aviles, and Nick Punto as possible shortstop candidates for next season.  With Iglesias hardly Major League ready and Punto a backup at best, it would seem that the Red Sox likely have plans to make a move, soon, unless, that is, they are confident in the unpredictable Aviles.

First, a brief analysis of the trade:

The Rockies acquire:

Marco Scutaro: Scutaro was a career backup--nevertheless beloved in Oakland--until injuries and questionable alternative options forced him into the Blue Jays' lineup in 2008.  2009 was his breakout year when he scored 100 runs while putting up a .282 batting average.  As a bonus, he hit 12 home runs and drove in 60 runs.  In the offseason, he signed with the Red Sox.  He put up similar numbers in 2010.  Last season, he was affected by injuries and competition.  With three middle infielders in the Majors (and Dustin Pedroia an intangible), he duked it out with Jed Lowrie for the starting role (when one of them was not injured, that is).  In the 395 At Bats that he got, he batted .299 with 7 home runs and 54 RBI (only two fewer than the previous season, when he had 632 At Bats).  He has always been a solid fielder and has career fielding percentages of .974 at shortstop and .992 at second base.  With Troy Tulowitzki at short, Scutaro will only be able to crack the lineup as a second baseman or backup.  Tommy Field has been successful in the Minors and average in his short Major League stint.  The same can be said for Hector Gomez.  These two young shortstops will certainly be competition if the Rockies are willing to move them to second base.  But with DJ Lemahieu and Chris Nelson, who have both put up good numbers at second base in the minors, this may not be the team's favourite option.  Jonathan Herrera and Eric Young, both of whom have three partial seasons of Major League experience at second base cannot be forgotten, although they have been less than impressive of yet.  This is the competition which faces Marco Scutaro, causing one to wonder why the Rockies wanted him.  This says to me one of two things: Scutaro is a proven veteran and the Rockies have found their full-time second baseman for next season (and it is possible that one or more of the middle infield prospects will be traded soon) or Scutaro is there to create competition for the younger players and also to teach them.  I am leaning toward the former.

The Red Sox acquire:

Clayton Mortensen: Mortensen has pitched in the Majors in parts of the last three seasons.  Last year, he spent time as both a starter and a reliever (16 appearances, 6 starts).  He  posted a 2-4 record with a 3.86 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.  At a glance, his Minor League stats look ugly, but he did pitch in the PCL for four seasons, a league known for being tough on pitchers.  With that in mind, his 29-28 record and 5.26 ERA at the triple-A level does not seem quite as bad.  The worst year he had there occurred last season when, in 15 starts, he went 2-8 with a 9.42 ERA.  Other than that, he has not had a triple-A ERA over 5.51, and that was in 2008.  His ERAs in 2009 and 2010 were 4.39 and 4.25 respectively.  This is an odd pickup for the Red Sox (unless they plan to flip him off in another, previously planned deal, although he seems to be an unlikely prospect to be targeted by another team).  The Sox could do with another starter, as they would probably prefer Daniel Bard as a set-up man.  There have been rumours that they are targeting Roy Oswalt, but there is nothing certain on the front.  Mortensen does not seem ready to be a full time starter in the Majors, so this is not his most likely destination.  As for the bullpen, with Andrew Bailey, Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, and Matt Albers as the top five (and Bard as the possible sixth), Mortensen enters a race with Andrew Miller, Michael Bowden, Felix Dubront, and Scott Atchison, all of whom have Major League experience.  None of these four has been particularly in their respective careers, Atchison's performance last season possibly being the best of the four's careers.  Albers can also be pushed out of his spot, but he has a better chance of making the team than the others.  Mortensen does not have an assured spot here, at all.  Expect him to begin the year in the Minors, where he will finally get out of the PCL and get a chance to prove himself to the team.

So what of the Red Sox dilemma at short?  Jose Iglesias batted .333 in his 6 plate appearances last season.  He also scored three runs.  The 22-year old has played only two seasons in the Minors, jumping from low-A to the Majors in that short amount of time.  In 171 Minor League games he batted .261 with 1 home run and 51 RBI to complement his .971 fielding percentage at shortstop.  Despite his solid performance to date, he is young and far from Major League ready.

Mike Aviles has had some experience at short, and is another possibility.  In four Major League seasons he has a .973 fielding percentage at shortstop and has played that position more than any other.  Aviles's career has been a roller-coaster.  In 2008 and 2010 he batted over .300, hitting 10 and 8 home runs respectively.  In 2009, however, he batted .183 in 120 At Bats.  Last season was a culmination of both Mike Aviles-es at the plate-- his .255 BA was subpar, but he also hit 7 home runs with 39 RBI in 286 At Bats.  In 101 At Bats after being traded to the Sox by Kansas City, he hit .317.  Aviles is far from a sure thing, but when he is good, he is very good.  The Red Sox may be willing to take a risk that he will be the good-Aviles next year.

Nick Punto is a backup without doubt.  He is a career .249 hitter who has never hit more than 4 home runs in a season.  As a shortstop, he has a career .974 fielding percentage.  He is versatile in the field, having played significant time at all of the infield positions except for first base.  He has also had a few games in each outfield position.  He is, however, just a backup.

If the Red Sox do not intend to make a trade, Aviles is a possible starter, but if he has another down year, the Sox may be regretting their decision to trade away both of their Major League ready starting shortstops.  The Red Sox need more pitching and Clayton Mortensen is not the answer.  The Red Sox are not in a great position for next season.

The Rockies, on the other hand, now have an abundance of middle infielders.  With a plethora of pitchers both in the Majors and in the system, the Rockies traded from a strength to upgrade an area which could have been a strength or a weakness depending on the uncertain performances of the various players the team already had.  The Rockies are, by far, the winners of this deal, which feels more like a salary dump for the Red Sox than anything else--even though Scutaro will only be making $6-million next year.  The Rockies will be happy with Scutaro as both a starting second baseman and a teacher.  The Red Sox have taken a chance which may or may not pan out.  The Red Sox and their fans will only be happy with this trade if the team is able to use that six million dollars to sign Roy Oswalt, their primary target at the moment.  I feel as though the Red Sox could have gotten more for Scutaro, however.  This feels like a hasty move that the Red Sox will soon regret.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting Over Montero With Imagination

After having my dreams of the past three years crushed and destroyed hearing about the departure of Jesus Montero, I was very upset and felt betrayed. The mental image of Jesus Christ Montero being the salvation, saving the Yankees' aging core, plus the widespread speculation that Noesi was throwing 94-96 MPH in the Winter League made it very painful to see them go. Oh, and their stats were okay too, I guess.
It's like trading baseball cards. It just hurts to trade away one of your favorites, even if you needed the card you're getting to complete some team's collection. It hurts like hell to see it go, and you realize that it may be the last time you ever see that particular card. However, after the initial pain and suffering, logic kicks in and you feel nice that you did the right thing and acquired that card.
Noesi, while a nice prospect and did well in the Majors last season, didn't seem like he was going to contribute to the Yankees in the long term. With Sabathia and Nova atop the rotation, and guys like Banuelos, Betances and Stoneburner down in the minors chasing him, plus some lateral competition from David Phelps and Adam Warren, the Yankees had plenty of guys who can replace the soon-to-be forgotten gap from his departure.
Montero looks like he'll be a nice hitter for years to come. However, the Yankees had catching depth in the minors that can rival any club, and the Mariners needed a catcher more than anybody, after trying guys like Rob Johnson and Kenji Johjima for the past half-a-decade or so. While losing a guy of Montero's potential is certainly painful, the Yankees have a bunch of guys that can lessen the blow. Gary Sanchez, whose hitting have earned him comparisons to Montero, is not yet 20 and though he has dealt with maturity problems this past year, is seen by many as a considerably better defensive player than Montero. He was a consensus top-5 talent in the Yankees system, often sharing the honours with Montero, Banuelos, Betances and Mason Williams, amongst others. A level or two below him in skills, but a level or two above him in the minors, is the 7th-round pick by the Yankees in 2008, J. R. Murphy. Largely overshadowed by Montero, Sanchez and Romine, he is quietly putting up respectable stats and climbing up the prospect lists.
Pineda, same age as Montero, is under team control for 5 more years. He came in 5th in the Rookie of the year voting and put up a nice year, although it did have some help from Safeco Field. He is seen as a two-pitch guy, complimenting his mid-90s pinpoint fastball with a devastating slider, though if his change-up improves he may become ace-caliber.
Campos is the most intriguing piece in the deal. He's young and he put up very nice numbers with a set of tools seen as very advanced for his age. He might become a solid starter once he develops. It is worth noting that he is a top 5 in the Mariners prospect lists, and some have thought that he'd achieve the same status with the Yankees too at this moment.
Now here's the part that truly cheered me up. The Yankees can now get very nostalgic or very creative at DH. They can go the nostalgic route and grab up Damon, Pena, or even Posada. They can also get creative give the very deserving Jorge Vazquez a chance, or they can make a huge rotation of DHs. Though the DH rotation can be nice, it must be mentioned that the Yankees don't exactly have a good-hitting backup infielder. After a boring winter filled with mostly rumors, it could be fun speculation who's the next DH. It's a bit too far to dream about Fielder (nor do I want Fielder on the Yankees), but there is finally something to look forward to besides Spring Training.

Bartolo Colón Signs With A's...But Why?

Bartolo Colón will turn 39-years old two months in to this upcoming season.  The injury-prone right-hander, who won the 2005 Cy Young Award with the Los Angeles Angels, will be entering his second season after returning from an injury that sidelined him for all of 2009.  As a Yankee last season, he went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.  His early season numbers were much better however, as he put up 2.77, 3.57, 2.25, and 3.82 ERAs in April, May, June, and July respectively.  These numbers did not position him for thirty offers this offseason, but some fans may wonder why he chose Oakland over the other teams that offered him contracts.  For that matter, the question arises: why do the Athletics want him?

Colón is nearing the end of his career and may not have many more chances to win his first World Series.  One would probably think that he would want to sign with a team that could help him achieve that goal.  Oakland does not fit into that category and as far as is publicly known, Colón has no professional or emotional connection to city or team.  The first question that arises in this scenario is: what other choices did he have?  There is some certainty that the Arizona Diamondbacks made an offer and the Yankees expressed interest--to some unknown degree--in bringing him back. 

It is uncertain whether or not the Yanks actually ever made an offer.  If they did not, that would explain why he will not be returning.  With the recent acquisition of Michael Pineda and signing of Hiroki Kuroda, Colón's services would no longer be needed, so, in all likelihood, that is why he waited until now to select a team.  The D-backs are a playoff contender, so this offer would have been interesting.  Assuming that Arizona did make a legitimate contract offer to Colón, it is possible that he chose not to sign there due to the rumours of the state's anti-Hispanic attitude.  Also, the Diamondbacks have only three Hispanic players, all of whom are Venezuelan (Colón is Dominican). 

That said, the A's only have two Hispanic players on the team, but they do have a Dominican--Fautino De Los Santos.  This could have been a deciding factor when Colón was choosing between the two teams.  As far as is known, he may not have had any other offers. 

The Athletics do, of course, have many fast players and the ability to manufacture runs, but in a division with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the A's will have difficulty contending even with the second Wild Card team next season.

So why do the Athletics want Colón?  This is a bit more difficult to determine.  There is always the possibility that they intend to trade him mid-season should he perform well enough to draw good return.  The team already has a fairly solid rotation with Brandon McCarthy, Guillermo Moscosco, Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson, and Josh Outman, as well as Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker, and Tom Milone waiting in the wings.  This is, however, a fairly young group of pitchers.  Colón's veteran presence may help these players develop.  Other than this, the signing is fairly odd.

The answer to the question of why Bartolo Colón signed with the Oakland Athletics is not certain, but if he can provide a veteran presence for the young pitchers and perform well enough to be traded to a contender, this could end up working out for both teams.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yankees and Mariners Swap Montero and Pineda...Why?

When I first heard that Jesus Montero was headed to Seattle, I was shocked.  I was even more surprised when I found out that Michael Pineda--last year's 5th place finisher in Rookie of the Year voting--was going the other way.  My first thought was: this is an interesting deal...I wonder if any other players are involved.  When I discovered that Hector Noesi and Jose Campos were also switching teams, I changed my opinion from "interesting deal" to "WHAT?!"

Here is a breakdown of the trade:

Seattle gets:

Jesus Montero:  Montero, a catcher, was one of the Yankees' top prospects since 2009, when he listed as Baseball America's #38 prospect.  He followed this up with #4 and #3 ratings in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  In 489 total minor league games he belted 76 home runs with a .308 batting average.  In triple-A last season, he posted a .288 BA with 18 HRs--statistics comparable to those of his 2010 campaign.  He also put up solid defensive numbers: he threw out 23% and 20% of baserunners in 2010 and 2011 respectively and had a .997 fielding percentage this season.  There were only really two major stat categories in which he had somewhat significant changes between 2010 and '11.  These were in walks--which were down this year--and strikeouts--which were up.  Despite this slight regression, he was called up to the Majors at the end of the year.  He put up 4 home runs and 12 RBI and a .328 BA in 61 ABs.  He also spent quite a bit of time as a designated hitter.  Montero is currently 22-years old.

Hector Noesi: This 24-year old right-hander has been in the Yankees' system since he was 19.  In six minor league seasons he had a 25-15 record with a 3.17 ERA.  In triple-A this year and last year he went 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA.  2011, however was significantly better for Noesi than 2010.  He had a 3.28 ERA in 24.2 innings before he was called up to the Majors.  With the Yankees he went 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA.  His two starts at the end of the year did not go so well, either.  In 4.2 innings he gave up 5 runs and 9 hits over these two appearances.  Nevertheless, Noesi was considered to be one of the Yankees' better Major League ready prospects.  His stellar May and July performances and solid August proved why this was so.  July was by far his best full month--1-0, 2.57 ERA.

The Yankees acquire:

Michael Pineda: As was previously mentioned, the 6'7" 22-year old righty finished 5th in Rookie of the Year voting this past season.  He finished the year 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.10 WHIP is 28 starts.  He also represented the Mariners at the 2011 All-Star Game.  While his numbers turned out fairly average, this could be attributed partially to fatigue and to the league finally figuring him out.  His April, May, and June ERAs, respectively were 2.01, 2.81, and 3.03.  It is also important to remember that Pineda's velocity can reach up to around 95 MPH.  Baseball America's #17 prospect prior to 2011 put up a 3-3 record with a 4.76 ERA in the ever-difficult Pacific Coast League in 2010.  His 2010 double-A numbers were much better--8-1, 2.22 ERA, 1.09 WHIP.  Pineda had been in the Mariners' system since he was 17.

Jose Campos: This 6'4" right-hander in now 19-years old.  He started in the Mariners' system at 16 three seasons ago.  In those three minor league seasons he posted a combined 14-10 record with a 3.26 ERA.  Last year in low-A he went 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 starts.  He also posted 85 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP.  Campos, being so young and inexperienced, is still a few years away from being Major League ready, but expect him to get as high as double-A next season.

Montero looked to be the Yankees' catcher of the future and Pineda the Mariners' next ace--now that flips around.  That trade on its own was intriguing.  Throwing in Noesi and Campos makes it even more so.  The Yankees' rotation prior to the trade was weak.  After CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova appears to have good potential...then there is nothing.  Phil Hughes has disappointed, Freddy Garcia is nothing more than a solid number 5, and I do not believe that I need to go in to the AJ Burnett issue.  Pineda now slots in behind Sabathia and the newly signed Hiroki Kuroda.  It will be interesting to see how he will cope in the AL East.  Save for giving up five runs to the Blue Jays in each of two of his starts against Toronto he did not give up more than 3 runs against an AL East opponent all of last season.  This is a positive for the Yankees.

Montero's solid hitting to date looks to be a plus for the rebuilding Mariners.  He will likely be the starting catcher for Seattle next year and will have veteran Miguel Olivo behind him to ensure that he does not get overworked.  Noesi may fit in to the Mariners' rotation or bullpen--whichever needs more help.  Either way he will not be very important to Seattle next season as he still needs a bit of seasoning before he will be effective at the Major League level.  In a year or two he should be ready for the rotation.

The most interesting piece in this deal is Campos.  He has the potential to be a very good Major League pitcher if he continues at his current rate.  The biggest issue with him is that his minor league service time may force the Yankees' hand in a couple of years--they may have to call him up before he is ready so as not to lose him to another team.

When I first found out about the full details of this trade, I thought that the Yankees were crazy.  The more I read about it, I realize that this may not be the worst trade for either team.  Pineda and Campos will both be significant parts of the Yankees' future (note that Baseball America lists only two pitchers [Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances] on the list of the Yankees' top ten prospects).  The Yanks always have the money to sign a big-name catcher if the need arises.  Montero will be a major player in the Mariners' near future and Noesi is a solid add.

Overall, I do not think that this is an unfair trade.  It fills a hole for both teams and takes from positions of strength (the Yankees have three other catching prospects in their top 10 and Seattle is full of star-calibre pitchers).  This is a deal which cannot be properly judged until the players have played for their new teams.  They are all young and unpredictable.  Right now I am going to give the Yankees a slight edge because Pineda has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation guy and Campos looks to have a bright future ahead of him.  Yankees fans will not be happy about losing Montero, but I am certain they will get over it fairly quickly if these players reach their full potentials.  As for the Mariners, this is a good trade for a rebuilding team that has a plethora of pitchers.  I think this trade will work out for both sides.