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Every new season in baseball means the Yankees have to make a run at the playoffs; there's always significant pressure from fans and the baseball community in general for the Yankees to adequately compete in the AL.
What that means for the organization is that they have to have a top-tier team ready at the major-league level. But they also have to ensure that a healthy, consistent flow of prospects and acquisitions is coming in every season.
That gives them twice as many things to worry about every year, and even with their large sums of spending money, it's hard to manage.
A team like the Mariners, on the other hand, isn't expected to win the division or a wild card-spot year after year. The GM has a little more leeway in crafting his team. He can spend a few years rebuilding after, say, a previous GM wreaks havoc on the team so that the team will be ready to take a few consecutive shots at the title.
Perhaps the listed circumstances give Jack Z and the M's an advantage in public perception, but either way, the Mariners did take the cake here.
The Yankees took on a high-risk, high-reward pitcher who was definitely ready to start this year, and a young, unproven pitching prospect who could potentially benefit the team in the future.
The Mariners acquired a proven hitting asset who will contribute to the team for a number of years, and who is developing even more useful tools, as well as a safer pitcher who followed a more conventional path to the majors.
Plenty of talent went both ways in this trade, but the Mariners can already be declared the winners.
Hopefully Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi will back me up this week, as they play a final exhibition match in Japan against the Yomiuri Giants on Monday, and then their season opener against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
If you're dedicated enough to get up and watch the game at 6:10 AM ET (I realize that's 3:10 in the morning for West Coasters—even more dedication), I'll have a live blog going throughout the game with up-to-date analysis and commentary.
The overseas game will be a fitting way to kick off an exciting season for the Mariners.