How Does the Yankees Michael Pineda Deal Affect the Toronto Blue Jays?

Matthew Sookram@@matthewsookramContributor IIJanuary 14, 2012

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 10:  Starting pitcher Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners points skyward after getting Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals to fly out to end the eighth inning at Safeco Field on September 10, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Rome wasn't built in a night, but Brian Cashman of the Yankees proved you could get pretty darn close. If the building of Rome is equivalent to winning a World Series, that is.

The New York Yankees have acquired Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners for Catcher Jesus Montero. They then signed Hiroki Kuroda formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers

Pineda will be 23 years old this year. In his first year in the big leagues he put together a record of 9-10 with 3.74 ERA and 173 strikeouts in 171 innings pitched. Not bad for a 22-year-old.

Pineda will no doubt get better with age; I want to know what was going through the minds of the Seattle front office when they pulled the trigger on this move. I would not have given up Pineda after just one season.

This kid showed a tremendous amount of potential and behind King Felix (Hernandez), they would have formed one of the best one-two punches for years to come. I don't know a whole lot about the Seattle organization, but just by looking at their depth chart, it seems like they do need some help in their batting order with an aging Ichiro Suzuki and a core of young hitters.

In this past year I really thought the Seattle pitching staff was going to be a force in the A.L. West in the next couple of years with Hernandez, Pineda and Doug Fister. Alas, two of those three are gone, and if I was a Mariners fan I would not be pleased at all.

Lucky for me I'm not.

Jesus Montero is a highly-touted prospect and is expected to do big things once he makes it to the majors for good. But I don't think a power-hitting catcher is worth an arm like Pineda's. To me the power-hitting catcher is a fad that doesn't work out all the time, while a strikeout pitcher can always be useful.

I know they are both very young and it will be years before we can say who won this trade, but right now the Mariners just made the Yankees a favourite in the A.L. East.

I wrote an article here on why Blue Jays fans should still be excited for the upcoming year, but it's looking more and more like we need to be more excited for 2013, when our young farm players make the jump. 

From a Blue Jays fan standpoint, it really puts a damper on what was looking like the beginning of the end of the Yankees empire. Their core roster was starting to get old and they weren't making many moves in the offseason.

But now the Yankees have become re-energized and they will once again have that Yankee swagger every game with three All-Star-caliber pitchers in the rotation along with the young and very good Ivan Nova. They then have a handful of guys that can work out of the number five spot.

No series with the Yankees was ever a given, but if you only had to face Sabathia a few times every year, the Yankees looked ripe for the picking. The Blue Jays will have to deal with three superb rotations in their own division once again with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.

As a Jays fan, if the Mariners were asking for Travis d'Arnaud in exchange for Michael Pineda, I would do that deal. Pineda behind Romero or Morrow would be fantastic. D'Arnaud, like Montero is expected to be a great ballplayer, but he has yet to get a sniff of the major leagues, while Pineda has proven in one year that he can be a major leaguer.

There are actually a few of the Blue Jays prospects that I would have traded for Pineda. The deal seems like it was so simple: a catcher and a minor-league pitcher for a starter. It seems like the Jays wouldn't even have had to give up one of their top pitching prospects to get the deal done.

The Mariners were in it more for the bat than the arm and the Blue Jays do have a few of those down in Las Vegas and New Hampshire.

I'm not upset that Alex Anthopoulos hasn't made any big moves on the free-agent market, as stated in that previous article, but when it comes to the trade route it's usually Anthopolus that is sneaking talent away from other GMs. This year we have only seen him manage that for Sergio Santos.

This Pineda-for-Montero move is something I would have expected AA to do had he known Pineda was on the market. 

Still, both Pineda and Montero are young and their careers could go in completely opposite directions and have Seattle as the winners in the deal. But based on their recent history and their scouting staff, I think the Yankees will make Pineda very comfortable in New York, as well as Kuroda. 

The competition in the A.L. East just got a lot tougher for this upcoming season.