In a January 2012 trade with the Mariners, the Yankees picked up prized RHP prospect Michael Pineda while giving up super catching prospect Jesus Montero. A couple of other names were included, but these two were the centerpieces.
It didn’t look so good for the Yankees when Pineda couldn’t start the 2012 season and ultimately lost the entire year to shoulder surgery. 2013 was a no-go as well, with Pineda pitching in just 10 minor league games.
But Friday saw the big right-hander flash the stuff that made him stand out in Seattle’s deep group of pitching prospects before the trade and the injuries.
Pineda went two strong innings against the Tigers, striking out four and walking one while allowing just one hit and no runs. Of his 27 pitches, 21 were strikes. The heat was there as Pineda clocked in at 91-93 mph while his vaunted slider went 79-82.
At the time of the trade, Montero’s stock was pretty high and, at his premium position, he was quite a piece for Seattle to give up. When Pineda lost 2012 to injury, it sure looked like a lopsided trade for the Mariners.
But Montero has had quite a bit of trouble since then, and now Pineda has taken his first big step back to realizing his potential. Just proves the disclaimer we always throw out there when analyzing trades: it takes time. The story hasn’t been told on this one yet either. The next step is to see how the rest of the spring unfolds for both players and teams.