Earlier today I sat down and was starting to write a post on how we shouldn’t listen to any baseball reporters this off-season. Part of it had to do with me being frustrated at the hysteria of Prince Fielder being in Texas. The other part of me was frustrated with the Mariners for the lack of moves this off-season. Did I disagree with what they did? No, but I was just bored. Sports are entertainment, and it’s never fun when they leave you bored. The last part of me was just hungry and didn’t even care about baseball reporters because I wanted to eat some chicken. When I started that post, the Mariners made a trade. Hey! A trade! After 4 months of peeking through the fence at Prince Fielder, the Mariners jumped over the fence, jumped on one of their horses, rode it into town, swapped it for another rancher’s horse, rode that horse back to the fenced-in area they owned, and had a glass of lemonade all in the span of about 10 minutes. Sorry, about that. I hope you followed. My first point of this post, is that you shouldn’t take much of what these baseball writers say as gospel. They get the reports right every now and then but tonight showed just how fast the unexpected can happen.
As for the trade, well surely you’ve read other people’s reaction by now. There’s been enough time for you to form your own opinion. But, if for some reason you’re indecisive on how you feel, and you’re up at 3 AM, a Good Guy is here to help! I want to cover a few things before I get to my quick reaction.
It seems as if the opinion from people around Seattle is all over the place. There are people completely against it, people who love it, and people who think it’s strictly average. Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler had about a 10 tweet rant about how the ownership has to change now. Mike Salk loved the trade. (‘Softy’ wasn’t necessarily upset about the trade, but for some reason it sent him over the edge, just for the record.) I want to caution you on who you listen to about this. I believe that the Good Guys would have a more intelligent conversation about the Mariners than many of the Seattle sports radio guys. That’s not to say they aren’t knowledgeable in other ways, but many of them aren’t experts on the Mariners and I think they’d admit as much. Salk (from Brock and Salk) seems to try to understand more than any other. Some of them just don’t care and don’t try to understand. ‘Softy’ had no good reason for his rant and Jason Puckett is way off when he says that this feels desperate because the M’s should have just traded Lee for him.
That brings to my next point. That very point of saying, why didn’t the Mariners just trade Lee for Montero. For those of you that don’t know, that was very close to happening a few years ago before the Mariners’ decided on Justin Smoak instead. It’s very ironic that they both ended up here now. Anyway, it’s ridiculous to say they should have traded Lee for Montero so they could have kept Pineda. When that traded happened, most baseball analysts thought the Mariners made the right move in getting Smoak. Perceptions change over a year and a half and that is what has happened here. Don’t think, “the Mariners made the wrong decision in getting Smoak, since they went out and got Montero now.” They are 2 separate events and, though our mind’s link them together, they are independent of each other. The Mariners got the best young hitter they thought they could get for the package they were offering and that had nothing to do with Cliff Lee and Justin Smoak.
Now, on to my thoughts on the actual trade. I’m somewhere between liking and loving the trade. Lookout Landing does a good job of summing up the pieces involved (much better than I could do, so read that). I do think Sullivan may undersell Hector Noesi, who’s the pitcher coming over from New York, a little bit but there’s no way of knowing that.
Noesi seems like a good place to start since I just mentioned him a sentence ago and he’s the least known player in the trade as far as Mariner fans go. He hasn’t pitched much in the majors, 56 innings last year and was nothing spectacular in doing so. It sounds like the Mariners will lock him in as a starter to begin the season. He seems like he’ll be a decent big league pitcher at least, and a few scouts seem to think he’s a very good pickup for the M’s. Time will tell if those scouts are correct. That’s a theme for this whole trade.
I’m sorry to see Jose Campos go. Over the past couple of years I’ve started to follow the Mariners’ farm system fairly closely. I read a review of each team’s game every night and try to familiarize myself with the top players from every part of the system. By doing this I start to like players I’ve never watched more than the one’s I watch everyday on TV. Jose Campos was one of those players. He’d be rated about the number 5 prospect in the Mariners system and has tons of upside. He’s only 19 and who knows what will happen because, young pitcher but if he stays healthy, look out for his name in 3 or 4 years.
Now for the big names! Jesus Montero is said to be a world-class hitter. The comparison I’ve heard the most over the last 3 years is Edgar Martinez. Heyo! Edgar! Put him in the Hall of Fame, by the way! That’s a good comparison. He’s either a catcher or a DH. Catcher would be awesome, but his defense is lacking and most doubt that he’ll be able to stay at the position. As far as his hitting goes, he’s said to have good power to all fields (important for Safeco) and good contact ability. Yes, he hasn’t had much time in the majors and that’s a little frightening. Jack Z knows more than me though and I trust his scouting ability above all of his other skills.
Michael Pineda was fun. It’s sad to see someone fun go and there’s nothing I like more in baseball than a big, young, flame-throwing pitcher. Man, he was big! I hope he only gets better, even if he is pitching for the Yankees. He deserves it. I’m not sure he’ll ever turn into an elite ace and I’ll leave it at that because most of you who read this know who he is and what he projects as. Some of you will disagree with me.
I like this because the Mariners got a hitter! My philosophy if I was a GM is to draft talent (don’t draft for needs) and accumulate it by international signings. Then trade from internal positions of strength for positions of weakness. This is exactly what happened here. Yes, it sucks that Pineda is gone but I think we’ve got a good one in return.
Now what happens? I have no idea. I really think the Mariners are still going to go after Prince but I’m in the very small minority. They have the same amount of money they had when you woke up last week. No one knows how much that is but it seems to be a fair amount. If they don’t sign Prince, I still expect some other big move. I think it will be another bat, but a pitcher makes plenty of sense. I’d go for Roy Oswalt! After today, we just have to realize that we have no idea what will happen. Speculating and projecting is fun, but the truth is that not much turns out how we have it planned in our brain. In sports, all we can hope for is that our team improves and I think that the M’s are a stronger organization now than they were 24 hours ago. Not everyone does, but I do. And hey, there’s still that report that Prince is renting a car in Seattle this weekend.