Earlier today, the Seattle Mariners traded pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos to the New York Yankees for catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi. Let's take a look at what the Mariners are getting in Montero.
Montero had been with the Yankees since 2007, when he was only 17 years old. By age 20, he was already playing at the AAA level, where he hit .289, had a .353 on-base percentage and had a slugging percentage of .513 in 123 games. He hit 21 home runs and knocked in 75 runs.
Last year, he began in AAA, but played the last month with the Yankees. Compared to 2010, his 2011 season was a bit of a letdown, where all his statistic offensive numbers were down from the previous years.
But when he was called up to the Yankees, he made a very good impression.
In only 18 games, he hit .328, had an on-base percentage of .408 and a slugging percentage of .590. He also hit four home runs and drove in 12 runs. Eighteen games is a very small sample size, but it's certainly nothing to sneeze at, either.
The knock on Montero is his defense at catcher.
All reports seem to indicate he's a below-average defender since catchers seem to deteriorate a lot faster than most players at other positions. He seems destined to be a DH, which should work out fine for the Mariners, as they upgraded at catcher earlier this year when they traded for John Jaso, who, by all accounts, is a very good defensive catcher.
The other good thing about Montero is that he will be under the Mariners' control for the next six years, while they had five with Pineda.
I've heard Montero being compared to Miguel Cabrera, which would be incredibly great for the Mariners and fans. But it's important not to place too much hype on Montero.
As a hitter for the Seattle Mariners, I would be perfectly content with a .275 batting average, 30 or so home runs and a hundred runs batted in. I honestly can't recall the last time the Mariners had a player who was capable of producing numbers like that.
I'm a fan of this trade.
While it hurts to give up Pineda, who was a lot of fun to watch in his only season at Safeco, the majority of pitchers in MLB do not get better with age—which can't be said for hitters. Montero could turn out to be even better than he is now, but even if he is only able to maintain what he has produced so far, I would be happy.
But at the moment, the Mariners have Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero, three very young players who all have very high ceilings.
The 2012 season might be lost for the Mariners already, but I see absolutely no reason why the Mariners won't be able to compete for the AL West in 2013 if those three players turn into what the Mariners saw in them when they acquired them.
At the very least, this trade may finally stop all the Prince Fielder rumors.
Welcome to Seattle, Jesus Montero. Please turn us into World Series Champions. No pressure.
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