Almost three years ago to the day, the Seattle Mariners sent right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees for designated hitter Jesus Montero.
At the time, Pineda was a phenomenal young talent, while Montero looked to be the second coming of Edgar Martinez. In Montero’s first 18 games in the majors, he hit four HR, with 12 RBI, and batted .328.
As a rookie, Pineda had just recorded a 9-10 record with a 3.74 ERA and was named to the 2011 All-Star game. Pineda had skyrocketed to number two in the Mariners rotation, only behind Felix Hernandez, but Seattle’s offensive struggles resulted in Pineda getting traded for a big bat such as Montero’s.
After once being considered a blockbuster trade for two future superstars, the narrative has definitely changed since 2012. The main issue for both sides in this trade has been injuries. While Pineda has suffered longer injuries, Montero’s issues have been just as devastating.
After being described as the future DH of the New York Yankees, Montero’s lived up to expectations during his first season with the Mariners. He played in 135 games, hit 15 HR, compiled 62 RBI, and batted .260. For a 22-year-old in the big leagues, this was a positive sign and the Mariners initially looked like they had stolen him from the Yankees.
However, Montero’s career hit a tailspin in 2013 and its been on the downhill ever since. Montero started the 2013 season with the Mariners, but after struggling early he was demoted to Triple-A. The nightmare season continued for Montero, and after a torn meniscus kept him out of the line up, Montero was suspended 50-games for being involved with the Biogenesis baseball scandal.
Montero continued his 2014 season in Triple-A and showed up 40 pounds overweight. His weight issues became a major problem with the Mariners and he only played in six major league games as a result. After supposedly losing 30 pounds over the winter, Montero’s career may be ready for a comeback, but it’s still unclear if that will happen.
Luckily for the Yankees, Pineda has not suffered as many internal struggles as Montero has. Pineda had a rough start to his Yankees career after being arrested for a DUI in 2012. In addition, Pineda missed the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons due to a shoulder injury and the Yankees were finally able to see what they had traded for in 2014. Although Pineda was suspended 10 games for a pine tar incident, and suffered a back injury that kept him out for roughly four months, he was quite effective when he was on the mound.
Pineda recorded a 5-5 record in 76.1 innings pitched, with 59 strikeouts and a 1.89 ERA during his 2014 season with the Yankees. Although injuries have been a struggle for Pineda, his career seems to be in a safer position than Montero.
Pineda has shown that he is an All-Star capable pitcher in the MLB, while Montero has shown that he’d rather be at a buffet than in the batters box. The 2015 MLB season will be a huge indication on which team has won this trade, but right now, the Yankees hold the advantage.