Last Friday morning I published an open letter to the Seattle Mariners, essentially begging them to make a splash this offseason so I had a reason to be interested in the team again.
The letter was more designed to beg for Prince Fielder but I left it open to any big time move that made me believe the front office still cared.
Almost as if they had read my letter, later that afternoon the Mariners made a huge splash; the Mariners agreed in principle on a trade that would send Michael Pineda and Jose Campos to the New York Yankees, getting Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi in return.
Now the fan reaction to this trade has been very split, with some excited about the prospect of a power hitting young catcher (kind of) coming over and some enraged about giving up a 22-year-old All-Star pitcher for an unknown offensive talent.
Both are understandable positions to take; however if you truly look at this trade for what it is, it becomes hard to dislike it.
I’d like to start with a quote from Dave Cameron’s article on the trade:
“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... While (Pineda’s) a talented guy, he’s not an irreplaceable talent, and the risks associated with building around young pitching are substantial and well chronicled."
The Yankees have a wealth of offensive talent and badly needed pitching help while the Mariners have a wealth of starting pitching talent and badly needed offensive help.
This trade is essentially two teams moving strengths to cover weaknesses, making it maybe the most “fair” trade I’ve ever seen.
Baseball, to me, is first and foremost about limiting risk and maximizing potential.
Adding to that, if you follow baseball, you know that what Dave Cameron said is correct. Pitchers, especially young pitchers, are much more risky than hitters.
When the Mariners swapped Pineda for Montero they gave up an All-Star pitcher but got a potential Hall of Fame talent at the plate.
However this trade is not only these two players, Jose Campos and Hector Noesi are both also trading places, so we can look at this trade as Pineda for Montero, Campos for Noesi.
Looking at the second half of this trade doesn’t change my stance on the overall quality of the trade, however.
Campos is a great young talent on the mound. There were many who assumed he would be in the big league rotation at some point. But that’s just it, he’s another young pitcher and with young pitching comes great risk.
Noesi was with the Yankees last season as their long relief man out of the bullpen and found some success in that role.
Eventually he will find himself in the starting rotation but before that point we already know, for the most part, what we’re getting with him.
But not only does this trade improve the Mariners roster, it also improves fan interest, which was exactly what they needed right now.
Hate or love the trade, you’re interested in the Mariners again.
So thank you, Mariners, for improving your roster and at the same time, showing us fans that you really do care.
Oh yeah, since all four players involved are league minimum guys, payroll isn't affected. So we’d still appreciate it if you went out and made another move, either for a pitcher to replace Pineda (Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson come to mind) or for Prince Fielder.
Looking at this trade for what it’s worth, it becomes hard to find anything wrong with it.