It took 11 days from the time Jack Zduriencik and Brian Cashman agreed on the players a week ago Friday, but the Mariners’ trade with the Yankees, sending Michael Pineda to New York, finally became official this afternoon.
The announcement was held off until catcher Jesus Montero underwent his physical. Montero had extreme difficulty traveling from his home in Venezuela to Seattle, stymied by visa and weather issues. But he finally arrived over the weekend, went through his battery of tests Saturday, and the Mariners signed off on the deal today
Besides Montero — considered the top catching prospect in baseball — the Mariners will receive right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi. The Mariners are sending Pineda, an All-Star last year as a rookie, to the Yankees, along with 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos.
“With this trade, we feel we have acquired a premium offensive talent that has the potential to hit in the middle of our lineup and grow with our other young players,” Zduriencik said in a release. “It is also beneficial that we were able to acquire a major-league-ready pitcher with six years of control and who will compete for a spot in our rotation.
“It was very difficult to part ways with Michael (Pineda) as we are extremely proud of what he has been able to accomplish in our organization. He is a special young man and we wish him the best of luck with the Yankees.
“Through our evaluations, we’ve identified the strength of our organization to be pitching depth, and this helped in our decision to acquire what we consider a premium bat and a potential starting pitcher for the 2012 season and beyond. This trade is also a testament to the job that Bob Engle (vice president, international operations) and Tom McNamara (director of amateur scouting) and their staffs have done through scouting and signing of players. ”
Pineda, who turned 23 last week, was 9-10 in 2011, with a 3.74 ERA and 173 strikeouts, more than any other American League rookie. In July, Pineda became just the second rookie pitcher in Mariners history to make the All-Star team, pitching a scoreless inning in Phoenix.
Montero, ranked as the No. 3 prospect in MLB by Baseball America last year, made his major-league debut in September with the Yankees. In 18 games, he hit .328 with four homers, 12 runs batted in, a .406 on-base percentage and .590 slugging percentage.
In five minor-league seasons in the Yankees’ system, Montero had a .308 average with a .366 on-base percentage and .501 slugging percentage. He had 76 home runs in 1,852 at-bats, with a high of 21 homers at Class AAA in 2010.
Noesi, a starter throughout the minors who won 14 games in 2010, could compete for a job in Seattle’s starting rotation. He pitched mostly in relief with the Yankees last year, compiling a 4.47 ERA in 30 games (two starts). Noesi struck out 45 in 56 1/3 innings.
Campos, one of the Mariners’ top prospects, was 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA for Everett of the Class A Northwest League last year. He struck out 85 in 81 1/3 innings.
(Photos by Associated Press)