The Mariners completed their acquisition of catcher Jesus Montero and RHP Hector Noesi from the New York Yankees Monday, more than a week after the trade was first reported. In the swap, the Mariners sent RHP Michael Pineda and minor league RHPJose Campos to the Bronx.
In announcing the trade, Mariners GMJack Zduriencik said, “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. It is also beneficial that we were able to acquire a major league-ready pitcher with six years of (contract) control and who will compete for a spot in our rotation."
Montero, 22, has been ranked by Baseball America as the Yankees top prospect in each of the past three years (2010-12), and the third-best prospect in all of baseball (top catcher) entering the 2011 season.
Baseball America also tabbed Montero as the Yankees “best hitter for average” and “best power hitter.” In addition, Montero was recently selected as the top catching prospect by MLB.com.
Montero made his major league debut as a September call-up and hit .328 (20x61) with nine runs, four doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs with a .406 on-base percentage and a .590 slugging percentage in 18 games.
His September performance earned him a spot on the Yankees Division Series playoff roster where he went 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI in his only at-bats against Detroit.
In 109 games last season with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Montero hit .288 (121x420) with 52 runs, 19 doubles, one triple, 18 home runs and 67 RBIs.
A Guacara, Venezuela native, Montero was originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent Oct. 17, 2006.
Noesi, 24, who turns 25 Jan. 26, split 2011 between the Yankees and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 30 games, including two starts with New York, he was 2-2, 4.47 ERA (28 ER, 56.1 IP) with 45 strikeouts.
At Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Noesi went 1-1, 3.28 ERA (9 ER, 24.2 IP) with 17 strikeouts in six games, including five starts. Baseball America rated Noesi as the Yankees seventh-best prospect heading into 2011, and was also tabbed by Baseball America as having the “best control” in their system.
The Mariners had to surrender Pineda, a starter, and Campos, a 19-year-old who has never played in the majors. Pineda began the 2011 season 6-2 and finished 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts. He made the American League All-Star team.
“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," Zduriencik said. "He is a special young man and we wish him the best of luck with the Yankees."
Zduriencik also said that the club's organizational pitching depth was worth tapping in order to acquire a bat like Montero's.
“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," Zduriencik said.
"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. ”
The additions of Montero and Noesi fills the Mariners' 40-man roster.