In January 2012, the Yankees sent Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. At the time, Montero was the best prospect the Yankees had. In addition, he looked very impressive after being called up at the end of the season. Pineda had just completed his first season in the majors, and looked very strong himself.
By the time the season started a couple months later, Pineda was out for the year with a shoulder injury and Jesus Montero was ready to go for Seattle. The Yankees had traded their best prospect for a broken down pitcher with just one decent season. It was a public relations nightmare, and the Yankees front office felt the heat.
Now, it is 2014 – almost exactly two years since that trade. Michael Pineda still has not thrown a pitch for the Yankees. However, he is now 100% healthy and is impressing in his spring training workouts. Pineda should secure a spot in the starting rotation, and is under team control until 2018. All signs are pointing up for Pineda and his future with the Yankees.
Where is Jesus Montero two years later? After a respectable 2012 season that saw Montero hit .260/15/62, he played in just 29 games in 2013. He hit .208/3/9 at the big level and was suspended 50 games for testing positive for PEDs. One might say that the worst is behind him, but reports out of Mariners’ camp this morning said that Montero arrived to camp 40 pounds overweight. The Seattle Mariners GM, jack Zduriencik, sounds like the team is ready to move on without him. “It’s up to him…I have zero expectations for Jesus Montero. Any expectations I had are gone.” The team was planning on moving Montero to 1st base, but time will tell if they will even bother.
As for the other parts in the trade, Hector Noesi went 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA in 2012, and was even worse in 2013 in a relief role. Campos spent the last two years in Single-A ball (he is still just 20 years old entering the 2014 season) and his stats have improved year after year.
While the beginning of 2012 was a tough pill to swallow for Yankee fans, the trade that brought Pineda and Campos in exchange for Montero and Noesi now looks like a no-brainer. The Yankees have two arms, one of which will make a massive impact this year, and the Mariners have a below average relief pitcher and a bloated former steroid user that is having trouble completing sprints at just 24. No Montero? No problem.