Yanks improve rotation: Pineda, Kuroda head to Bronx


 

The acquisition of Michael Pineda (above) and Hideki Kuroka drastically improves the New York's rotation. (Paul Sancya/AP)

It’s unofficial, but it looks like the Yankees got some of the pitching they so desperately needed. New York has reportedly traded top prospect Jesus Montero for Seattle’s talented rookie pitcher Michael Pineda (9-10, 3.74 ERA), and they’ve signed former Los Angeles Dodgers righty Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal (more on that later).

From where I sit, which is as a New Yorker and lifelong Yankee fan who now lives in Seattle, I think this trade is a win/win deal for both teams. The Yankees get to keep their own young pitching prospects and slot Pineda in the number-two hole, a position he’s comfortable with having been the number-two guy behind Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. As for the Mariners, they get some much-needed offense (Montero hit .328 with a .406 on-base percentage in 61 at-bats) and a young catcher.

I love Montero, but the Yankees had no room for him to play every day. They have a glut of DH types as they didn’t see the youngster as a starting catcher and, at some point, Alex Rodriguez and/or Mark Teixeira are going to be getting the bulk of their playing time at DH. Plus, the Bombers still have stud catching prospects in the likes of Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine, not to mention gritty and gutsy Russell Martin.

The Yanks initially inquired about King Felix, but the M’s said no, even after they offered not just Montero, but also top pitching prospects Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos. For Yankee fans perplexed as to why the Mariners wouldn’t trade Hernandez for a bundle of big name prospects, let me explain: King Felix is the face of the Mariners. On the days he pitches, the whole ballpark, not just the King’s Court, is filled with excitement. The whole city is abuzz. He is the draw. Plus, Hernandez actually resides in Seattle for a good chunk of the year — a real rarity in Rain City — even sending his daughter to school there. It would be like trading Derek Jeter in his prime.

Pitcher Hector Noesi was also sent to the Mariners (while the Yankees got minor leaguer Jose Campos). And now we know why. The Yankees also signed former Dodgers righty Kuroda (13-16, 3.07 ERA) for a one-year deal reportedly worth $10 million. Kuroda is a workhorse and an innings-eater who will fit in nicely in the middle of the rotation.

The best part of all these dealings is the Yankees didn’t give up the farm or spend a ton of money, so they can still be in contention for the ace pitchers (Cole Hamels, Matt Cain) who will be on the market next offseason. As it stands, on paper anyway, the Bombers look primed to once again make a run for the top of the American League East.

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  1. Pineda is a potential 20 game winner with adequate offensive support. The kid must feel like he just got out of jail.

  2. As a Red Sox fan, it pains me very much to say that the CLEAR winners in this trade are the Yankees. Montero will absolutely hit at the MLB level but I doubt very much that his defense will ever be above average. Pineda is special. Prior to last season, he had gone three straight years in the minors without throwing close to 100 innings, then as a 21-year old he starts 28 games in the majors and throws 170+ quality innings. Now they have a #2-3 starter (potentially #1) locked up through 2016 — and to pick him up now, with such a SP market drought. I know the Sox hate that…at least I do. 

    Plus, from what I read on Jose Campos, the Yanks got the better of the other two pieces of this trade as well.
    I literally shook my head for a good five straight minutes after reading this. What a great trade for NY. Jealous. 

  3. For once a deal that’s not lopsided. Both teams addressed their needs with young, cheap talent. It will be interesting to see what happens to A.J. Burnett. The Yanks rotation is a bit crowded now.

  4. I should add that the Mariners have some studs in their farm with both Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen going to be monsters. Like you said, great trade for both teams but I think the Yankees made out better.

  5. Yankees pulled off a great one here. They got a possible ace for a DH. Montero has a great bat but I’ll always take pitching over hitting. Now they can just go out and grab Carlos Pena for some more offense. Red Sox nation is pissed right now, ha!

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