Well, the ball has finally dropped.

In a stunning move, the New York Yankees have traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Seattle Marines for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos.

As a Boston Red Sox fan, crap. As an MLB fan, whoa.

In one evening the field of baseball has been altered. You thought Jose Reyes signing with the Miami Marlins was big? This is bigger. Thought Albert Pujols signing with the Los Angeles Angels was big? This is bigger. The Texas Rangers winning the bid for Yu Darvish? Guess what…this is bigger.

It’s a maelstrom, the perfect baseball storm. It might not seem that way now, but it is.


Seattle Mariners
At face value, it doesn’t seem like this changes the AL West too drastically. Oh, but you would be wrong.

Three names: Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak. Three of the most talked about hitting prospects over the last three seasons are all on the same team.

But, they play in Safeco. They’ll never be able to hit there… right?

What if I called those three Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez and Bret Boone—they also played at Safeco. Your mind has officially been blown.

The scary thing is that’s shortchanging these prospects.


In 2011, Ackley turned in a fantastic rookie season hitting .273/.348/.417 with six home runs and stolen bases in 90 games. His swing is as pure as it gets, and he could be competing for batting titles in the near future.

Smoak has struggled to live up to his top prospect title, but he still has massive potential. The big switch-hitter posted a career high 15 home runs and .719 OPS in 2011. Looking at his splits, he actually posted a higher OPS at home than away.

Now, we get to Jesus Montero. In 2011, we saw the 21-year-old top prospect ascend past Triple-A and play in 18 games for the Yankees. His line: .328/.406/.590 and four home runs. His defense has been called into question, but when you’re likened to Miguel Cabrera, defense doesn’t matter.

Even with the Safeco factor, these three don’t have to hit all the time. They only have to hit half the time. When at home they need the pitchers to do their job, and boy does Seattle have some pitching.

Their rotation is led by Felix Hernandez, one of the best young starters in the game. Behind him are Blake Beaven and Jason Vargas, the former coming into his own in 2011, and the latter headed to trade-bait status.

In the minors, Seattle has three of the top pitching prospects in the league. Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton have ace potential, and all three will be knocking on Safeco’s door over the next two seasons.

In the short term Seattle doesn’t see any huge improvements. Their pitching will take a small hit, while their hitting continues to improve. In the long run, Mariner fans could be seeing a dynasty in the making. The lineup has three huge bats to build around, and the rotation could very easily be the best in the majors. It’s way too early to tell, but the ceiling on this team’s future is massive.



New York Yankees
On the other end of the spectrum are the New York Yankees.

In this deal, the Yankees finally got what they’ve been searching for since 2008. Phil Hughes, a bust; Ian Kennedy, traded; Joba Chamberlain, shunned to the bullpen; Michael Pineda, winning.

Where others have failed, Pineda will succeed. That young No. 2 ace-in-the-making has eluded New York for so long, but Cashman has finally brought in the right guy.

Pineda’s arm is the epitome of electric. In his 2011 rookie season, he went 9-10 with a 3.72 ERA (54th best in the majors), 1.099 WHIP (14th), 9.1 K/9 ( seventh) and 3.15 K/BB (30th).

It’s easy to get lost in the splits of Pineda’s stats. His second half was far worse than his first, and the home stats show an ace, while the away stats show a No. 4 pitcher.

Frankly, I don’t care, and neither should the Yankees. Those trends are fully expected of 22-year-old rookies. Just because it didn’t happen to Jeremy Hellickson doesn’t mean it should be blown out of proportion with Pineda (it’s worth noting sabermetrics, like FIP and xFIP, hate Hellickson, like Pineda).

It’s impossible to not stare in awe at those peripherals. Pineda is going to be a strikeout machine, and he finally gives the Yankees that elusive No. 2 starter.

With CC Sabathia leading the pack, Pineda pitching No. 2 and Ivan Nova at No. 3, the Yankees finally feature a top three that can go toe-to-toe with the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. With names like Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances in the minors, the Rays are going to have competition for top rotation in the AL East.


It’s taken them a while, but the Yankees have finally nabbed that young pitcher they so desperately need. True, they gave up their best offensive prospect since Robinson Cano, but they don’t call these guys the Bronx Bombers for nothing.


Final Thoughts

In the end, this trade was a win-win for both teams involved. The Mariners finally have three middle-of-the-order bats, and the Yankees finally feature three top-of-the-rotation arms.

As for the MLB, it’s too early to see how things will unfold. On paper, it looks like both teams are destined for greatness; but, this is baseball and things are never that easy.

For now, as a Red Sox fan, I will stand in awe and excitement as we’re one day closer to spring training.

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