Yankees Get Their Man, Deal Top Prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle

Zachary BallAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 21: Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners reacts during the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins on September 21, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Yankees and Mariners have agreed to a trade that will send top prospect Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to Seattle. New York will receive flame-throwing right-hander Michael Pineda, who finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting in the American League last year.

All of this is according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.

If any of this sounds familiar, it's because the two teams discussed a trade that involved Montero back in 2010, when the Yankees were trying to acquire lefty Cliff Lee. At one point it appeared that the two squads had agreed on a deal, but the Mariners reneged and sent Lee to Texas in exchange for a package of prospects anchored by first baseman Justin Smoak.

By dealing Pineda, the Mariners have now opened up a rotation spot for top prospect and 2011 first-rounder Danny Hultzen, who has already been guaranteed an invite to spring training. That assumes, of course, that Noesi, who has gone 25-15 with a 3.17 ERA in six minor league seasons, doesn't lock down the spot instead.

In acquiring Pineda, the Yankees brought some much-needed youth to a rotation that includes 31-year-old C.C. Sabathia, 35-year-olds A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia, and the newly acquired Hiroki Kuroda, who is 36.

Pineda, 22, burst onto the scene in 2011, winning six of his first nine starts. He finished the season as the rookie leader in strikeouts (173).

More importantly, however, he helped provide a brief sliver of hope to Seattle fans who had grown tired of having only one All-Star-caliber pitcher (Felix Hernandez), not to mention watching talent leave town (Doug Fister to Detroit).

While Montero doesn't necessarily solve the Mariners' catching woes, he does provide the M's with a potent bat, one the team has been lacking for quite some time. His combination of power and average made him one of the top hitting prospects in baseball the past three seasons, and it appears that he'll finally get the opportunity to play every day in the Majors.

Something that hadn't been afforded him in New York.