Keith Law's take.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The trade between the Yankees and Mariners looks to me like a way for each team to fill a critical need for the long term rather than the short, with the Mariners trading from a real surplus while the Yankees trade a potential star whose only real path to playing time was one the Yankees didn't seem to want to use. Both teams will benefit in the long run, but I'd give a slight edge here to Seattle because of the greater probability of the bat they acquired.
[+] EnlargeJesus Montero
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesGo AL West young man.
The Mariners get Jesus Montero, an impact bat without a position; the Yankees have been trying to convince everyone that he'd stay at catcher, but he's too big and slow to stay at the position and, despite some arm strength, takes a year and a half to get rid of the ball. Fortunately for Montero and the M's, his bat will play anywhere, including at DH, which is probably his ultimate destination (or first base). One of the top ten prospects in the game right now, Montero will hit for average, get on base, and hit for power, with unusual strength that allows him to crush the ball even when hitting off his front foot a la Frank Thomas. He came down with a little bigleagueitis early in 2011 as he waited in the minors, and his approach deteriorated, but it bounced back in the second half of the minor league season and he hit for more contact and more power. He has great bat speed, can turn on a fastball on the inner half or even in on his hands, and yet is strong enough to drive the ball out the other way. He's an offensive monster even without any defensive home.
The Mariners also add right-hander Hector Noesi, a four-pitch starter with plus control (just 60 unintentional walks in 377 career minor league innings) who'll sit in the low 90s as a starter but lacks a true out pitch, succeeding in the minors with location and his ability to change speeds. Noesi's slider is probably his best pitch, but he needs to improve his changeup to avoid getting crushed by lefty-heavy lineups. There's number-four starter potential here with some improvement to his secondary stuff.
The Yankees get Michael Pineda, a young starter with front-of-the-rotation potential and five years of team control remaining, although he's not quite the finished product his superficial stats in 2011 might indicate. Pineda has a plus-plus fastball and plus slider, both capable of missing bats right now. His slider is very hard both in velocity and in break, mostly vertical, and he is pretty consistent with his ability to throw it down and away to right-handers. The fastball is fairly straight, which has made Pineda somewhat flyball-prone -- good in Safeco Field, less good in the Bronx -- and his changeup remains fringy, so he's still somewhat susceptible to better left-handed bats. He's a physical monster, listed at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds, built like he can handle 220 innings a year, and if he can keep the ball in the park should slot in as an excellent second starter behind CC Sabathia, eventually taking over the No. 1 spot as Sabathia nears the end of his contract. There's a caution, however: don't be surprised if Pineda's 2012 looks a lot worse than his 2011 with the change in ballparks, loss of Seattle's great defense behind him, and shift to a tougher division.
Jose Campos is the lottery ticket in the deal, and could very well turn this deal into a steal for the Yankees four or five years down the road. He's an extreme strike-thrower with an above-average fastball that will touch 95, and a slider that shows above-average but isn't consistent yet. Campos needs to work on his changeup and has yet to pitch in a full-season league, so he's several years away from the majors. He's also young enough that the injury risk is still significant, and I'd like to see him get over his front side better as he finishes his delivery. But he won't turn 20 until July, and if he were in the draft this year he'd be a first-rounder, so for the Yanks it's almost like getting an extra draft pick in the deal.
The move fits Brian Cashman's preference to develop arms and buy bats, and when Campos fills out his 6-foot-4 frame, the Yanks could end up with two guys in their top three rotation spots from the trade.