From an actual MLB perspective I think the Yankees/Mariners trade makes sense for both teams. Looking at the fantasy impact, however, I think both Montero and Pineda lose value.
Michael Pineda –Him fading down the stretch last year doesn’t concern me at all. It’s typical for a young pitcher, and he has the frame (listed at 6’5” & 245lbs) to hold up well over the course of a long season. The troubling news is that he’s going to pitch his home games in Yankee Stadium, and his new division opponents are very capable of scoring runs. His ERA in 2011 was 3.74, but in Seattle it was 2.92 while climbing to 4.00 on the road. In his second season his ERA may improve, but I don’t think it will be a drastic change given his new home ballpark. I also expect his WHIP to be higher. Yankee Stadium will not be as forgiving as Safeco was for fly balls. In spite of those negatives, he will certainly have a better lineup supporting him and should see mores W’s next to his name as a result, plus the high strikeout rate will still be there. Wrapping up, I think he’ll still be a very solid fantasy SP, but closer to the 25th ranked at his position as opposed to approaching the top 15, which I think would have been possible playing in pitcher friendly Safeco.
Jesus Montero – There is only one positive aspect of this trade for Montero and it is the number of at bats he’ll get. He’ll have less competition for playing time than he did in NY. The first issue he has is position eligibility; if he is eligible at catcher then he is definitely worth taking a shot on given the lack of options. Long term, though, I don’t expect him to stick with catcher. He’ll wind up DHing unless Justin Smoak really struggles at first base. No one likes players that are only DH eligible and at first base he will fall in the middle of the pack. Safeco is a tough spot for power hitters so his HR total will be less than it would have been in NY, despite having more at bats. Also, don’t be fooled by his hot streak last season. He hit for a .328 AVG but had a BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) of .400, which is unsustainable over a full season. That, plus scouting reports being developed for him will cause a drop in AVG. On top of those issues, depending on where he hits in the lineup, even if he has table setters in front of him, it’s unlikely he’s going to have protection behind him. So, temper your expectations for his first full season.