When Michael Pineda first went on the disabled list with shoulder tendonitis at the end of Spring Training, conspiracy theorists among Yankees fans were ready brand the trade that sent uber-prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle a colossal bust.
So now that Pineda has been revealed as having a torn labrum and will miss the entire 2012 season, then anything (good or bad) that Montero and Hector Noesi give the Mariners is above and beyond what the Yankees got.
And thus, the panic sets in again.
The Pineda debate has been belabored over the last 36 hours or so, and everything that can be said has – especially that it will take years to fully evaluate this trade, as Hector Noesi is the only one who has reached his 25th birthday.
So what I urge you to do, Yankees fans, is what I urge everyone to do in trades larger than one-on-one: Don’t forget about the ancillary effects.
Case in point is Jose Campos. To many fans, he was just a “throw-in” in the Pineda deal. But through his first four starts at Class-A Charleston, Campos was 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts (against five walks) in 22 innings, and the South Atlantic League is hitting just .163 against him so far.
Sure, it’s low-A, you might say, but you have to start somewhere – and for Campos, that somewhere may be Advanced-A Tampa sooner rather than later, and eventually could be the Bronx.
Such is life for many “throw-ins” and “prospects.” Hindsight is 20/20, and if foresight was too, then the Mariners likely would never have traded Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Cliff Slocumb, the Red Sox would have kept Jeff Bagwell, and John Smoltz’ 213 career wins may have come in Detroit.
If that’s not proof enough, look at a couple of past trade deadline deals involving current Yankees.
Matt LaPorta was the centerpiece of the deal that sent CC Sabathia from Cleveland to Milwaukee in 2008, but four years later, it’s the added player to be named later, Michael Brantley, who could be the Indians’ breakout star. Elsewhere, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the key piece acquired when the Rangers sent Mark Teixeira to Atlanta in 2007, but while Salty is long gone, the “other guys” were lesser prospects named Andrus, Harrison (as in Matt, who is currently 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA), and Feliz (who was only the 2010 AL Rookie of the Year as their closer).
Yes, first base has been a carousel in Arlington since Tex left, and yes, it took them three more years and a handful of candidates before they finally found a solid everyday catcher in Mike Napoli – but do you think the Rangers (or Braves, for that matter) would still take that one back?
I don’t, and that’s why you shouldn’t be ready to destroy the Pineda trade either. These things take time, especially when young players are involved.
Pineda will be back…and if Campos keeps tearing up the Minors, he could be pitching alongside the guy who was “thrown in” with him in a few short years.