One week ago, I was in agreement with today’s Pinch Hitter.
Truth be told, I’m still in agreement with him.
One week ago, Arad and I each believed the Yankees should only trade Jesus Montero if they could get a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter. He was only worth trading if the Yankees could revisit a Cliff Lee-type trade that they nearly made two years ago. To deal Montero, the Yankees had to be sure.
What I hadn’t considered was swapping Montero the hitter for a Montero-type pitcher. Prospect or prospect. Potential for potential. Uncertainty for uncertainty.
Today, I believe the Yankees gave up their elite, cost-controlled young hitter to get an elite, cost-controlled young pitcher. I believe Montero is a bigger prospect than Michael Pineda, but I also believe Pineda is more proven, and I believe pitching prospects have to be measured differently than position prospects. I believe the Mariners had to get a player like Montero if they were going to deal a player like Pineda, and I think the Yankees had to give up Montero to get such a player.
I also believe the Yankees are better off today than they were a week ago.
There’s no way to know, of course. Like Arad wrote this morning, prospects are unpredictable. The Yankees might have given away the best young hitter in the game for a pitcher who’s never going to develop and changeup and never going to progress beyond the middle of the rotation. But I think it was a risk worth taking.
There’s uncertainty with every 22-year-old baseball prospect, but on Friday morning, the Yankees lineup was in far better shape than their rotation, and the Yankees managed to deal from a position of strength, to improve a position of weakness. I think that’s the goal of any trade. I don’t think any baseball executive sleeps well after making a trade like that, but with so much uncertainty involved, I think the Yankees are better off having that sort of young potential in their rotation than in their lineup.
Associated Press photo