|Hector Noesi, the Mariner. Photo thanks to MLB.com|
Jesus Montero hit a homerun in his first preseason game with the Mariner's. He also dropped a routine pop-up behind the dish, and got hit in the jaw twice with foul tips. The second one sent him to the dugout for the rest of the game. Sounds like it was minor, and he likely won't have to miss any time.
It's funny, because this game is a pretty solid microcosm for what Jesus Montero is. He is a phenom with the bat, and will likely continue to be that. On the other hand, he can't field worth a lick, and is looking more and more like he will in fact be a DH, maybe catching some games here and there as a backup catcher. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of value in a player like that (look at Big Papi), but getting Pineda, a possible future ace, looks like it might be worth it given the Yankees stellar lineup as it is. There's also always the possibility that Montero improves his defense, or shows us something we haven't seen yet behind the dish this season. If that happens, he might make a goat out of Brian Cashman.
Hector Noesi has been making some noise of his own in Mariners camp. He has apparently had an uptick in his velocity, now hitting 94-97 mph. So far this has been only for short spurts, as he threw two innings in his first spring contest. There had been reports of the increase in velocity coming out of his winter league performance, however, so this may be a new baseline for Noesi. He pitched two solid innings with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts in the game yesterday, and was hitting 94-97 on the radar gun.
Those two innings mean absolutely nothing, but the increase in velocity may be a sign of things to come. At that velocity you can't rule out the possibility that he could turn into an ace. Given the scouting report, that doesn't seem likely, but one never knows. He'll also have the advantage of pitching in one of the largest, if not the largest field in major league baseball. That stadium has been padding Seattle's pitching statistics since Noesi was in diapers, and it would come as no surprise to me if Noesi posts a sub 4.0 ERA this season. That wouldn't make him an ace though. All told, if Noesi was to transform into an ace, this trade could be seen as a huge failure for the Yankees and a revelation for the Mariners. It is doubtful that Noesi will ever get there though, and the Yankees don't particularly need another 3-4-5 type pitcher.
It will be interesting to see how the season turns out, but the value of this trade will ultimately be decided over 4-5 years. In any case, it would be difficult to find fault with Brian Cashman for pulling the trigger this deal no matter what happens.