The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Anniversary

It was one year ago yesterday that the Yankees traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos in a stunning move that came out of nowhere.  I didn’t like the move at the time, but by the time spring training came around I had accepted it.  As it turned out, Montero was pretty bad and Noesi was awful, but the Yankees probably still regret making the trade given the fact that Pineda went down with a shoulder injury and his prognosis is uncertain.

It’s tough to judge Montero’s season given the way Safeco suppresses offense and you can’t help but wonder if he’d have hit better in DNYS in a better lineup.  His .260/.298/.386 line was pretty close to league average once you adjust for park (95 OPS+).  What does that mean?  Here’s a list of the players who had at least 500 PA with an OPS+ between 90 and 100 in their age 22 season.

Name OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Adrian Beltre 91 2001 22 LAD NL 126 515 126 22 4 13 28 82 .265 .310 .411 .720
Al Simmons 98 1924 22 PHA AL 152 647 183 31 9 8 30 60 .308 .343 .431 .774
Alex Gonzalez 91 1999 22 FLA NL 136 591 155 28 8 14 15 113 .277 .308 .430 .739
Beals Becker 92 1909 22 BSN NL 152 645 138 15 6 6 47 84 .246 .305 .326 .631
Bill Coughlin 97 1901 22 WSH AL 137 548 139 17 13 6 25 43 .275 .317 .395 .712
Bill Knickerbocker 93 1934 22 CLE AL 146 632 188 32 5 4 25 40 .317 .347 .408 .755
Bob Bailey 95 1965 22 PIT NL 159 702 160 28 3 11 70 93 .256 .330 .363 .692
Bobby Byrne 91 1907 22 STL NL 149 624 143 11 5 0 35 72 .256 .307 .293 .600
Brett Lawrie 97 2012 22 TOR AL 125 536 135 26 3 11 33 86 .273 .324 .405 .729
Bruce Campbell 96 1932 22 TOT AL 146 660 173 36 11 14 40 104 .283 .333 .447 .780
Buck Weaver 93 1913 22 CHW AL 151 573 145 17 8 4 15 60 .272 .302 .356 .659
Carlos Beltran 99 1999 22 KCR AL 156 723 194 27 7 22 46 123 .293 .337 .454 .791
Charlie Spikes 98 1973 22 CLE AL 140 561 120 12 3 23 45 103 .237 .303 .409 .712
Chuck Knoblauch 91 1991 22 MIN AL 151 636 159 24 6 1 59 40 .281 .351 .350 .701
Claudell Washington 99 1977 22 TEX AL 129 554 148 31 2 12 25 112 .284 .318 .420 .739
Cliff Heathcote 100 1920 22 STL NL 133 532 139 18 8 3 25 31 .284 .320 .372 .693
Del Ennis 98 1947 22 PHI NL 139 581 149 25 6 12 37 51 .275 .325 .410 .736
Delino DeShields 94 1991 22 MON NL 151 673 134 15 4 10 95 151 .238 .347 .332 .680
Delmon Young 100 2008 22 MIN AL 152 623 167 28 4 10 35 105 .290 .336 .405 .741
Derrek Lee 96 1998 22 FLA NL 141 513 106 29 1 17 47 120 .233 .318 .414 .732
Dick McAuliffe 99 1962 22 DET AL 139 539 124 20 5 12 64 76 .263 .349 .403 .752
Ellis Burks 99 1987 22 BOS AL 133 606 152 30 2 20 41 98 .272 .324 .441 .765
Elmer Smith 98 1915 22 CLE AL 144 528 118 23 12 3 36 75 .248 .301 .366 .666
Frankie Crosetti 94 1933 22 NYY AL 136 513 114 20 5 9 55 40 .253 .337 .379 .716
Garry Templeton 91 1978 22 STL NL 155 675 181 31 13 2 22 87 .280 .303 .377 .680
George Foster 95 1971 22 TOT NL 140 514 114 23 4 13 29 120 .241 .292 .389 .681
George Kell 93 1945 22 PHA AL 147 602 154 30 3 4 27 15 .272 .306 .356 .662
Howard Freigau 94 1925 22 TOT NL 126 551 150 22 10 8 32 32 .299 .342 .430 .772
Jesus Montero 95 2012 22 SEA AL 135 553 134 20 0 15 29 99 .260 .298 .386 .685
Jim Tabor 96 1939 22 BOS AL 149 626 167 33 8 14 40 54 .289 .337 .447 .784
Jimmy Rollins 93 2001 22 PHI NL 158 720 180 29 12 14 48 108 .274 .323 .419 .743
Johnny Evers 93 1904 22 CHC NL 152 587 141 14 7 0 28 22 .265 .307 .318 .624
Mark Kotsay 94 1998 22 FLA NL 154 623 161 25 7 11 34 61 .279 .318 .403 .721
Rafael Furcal 98 2000 22 ATL NL 131 542 134 20 4 4 73 80 .295 .394 .382 .776
Ray Chapman 91 1913 22 CLE AL 141 601 131 19 7 3 46 51 .258 .322 .341 .662
Reggie Smith 100 1967 22 BOS AL 158 629 139 24 6 15 57 95 .246 .315 .389 .704
Roberto Alomar 98 1990 22 SDP NL 147 646 168 27 5 6 48 72 .287 .340 .381 .721
Roy Howell 92 1976 22 TEX AL 140 531 124 28 2 8 30 106 .253 .295 .367 .661
Ruben Sierra 100 1988 22 TEX AL 156 668 156 32 2 23 44 91 .254 .301 .424 .725
Ruben Tejada 90 2012 22 NYM NL 114 501 134 26 0 1 27 73 .289 .333 .351 .685
Steve Sax 97 1982 22 LAD NL 150 699 180 23 7 4 49 53 .282 .335 .359 .694
Tito Francona 95 1956 22 BAL AL 139 500 115 16 4 9 51 60 .258 .334 .373 .707
Troy Glaus 98 1999 22 ANA AL 154 631 132 29 0 29 71 143 .240 .331 .450 .781

There are some very good players on this list like Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran, but honestly it’s kind of underwhelming.

The jury is also still out on his defense, but he didn’t really seem to convince most observers that he’ll be capable of being a full-time catcher at the MLB level.  Still, he’ll be 23 in 2013 and it’s not hard to imagine him hitting much better with a year of adjustment and additional experience. 

Of course, given the fact that Pineda may never be an MLB pitcher again it’s kind of hard to spin this trade in the Yankees’ favor.  The simple question I’d ask is this, if the Yankees could make this trade again today given what they know now would they?  I think the obvious answer is no.

Pineda could come back healthy and Montero may not be able to catch or improve enough offensively that the Yankees could still end up coming out ahead in this trade.  I don’t like the odds of all that coming to pass, but it’s possible.  But I suppose we’ll have a bit more data to judge on after 2013.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 36 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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Simmons.  Alomar.  Foster.

A lot of guys on that list that just never improved.  Some weren’t much of an offensive force to begin with (guys with “good enough” bats at a premium defensive position). 

Getting Campos too was supposed to be the icing on the cake, but he’s hurt as well.

I like the spirit of the trade.  Trade a top hitter with no position on a team that needs the DH spot for aging vets for a young pitcher.  It was a great idea.

Of course, the arm they got didn’t work out.  Worse than that?  He was already injured at the time they traded for him and they just didn’t find the injury.  To me, that’s the infuriating part.

[3]
Agree on all points.
And I’d add that I think that the question, in light of [0], has turned out to be: is there any compelling reason to be particularly distraught about this trade?

It was a bad trade because he was an incredibly valuable commodity for two years running and the only thing they got for him (after actually hitting well at the ML level for a month) was an injured pitcher.  I can’t help but think they could have gotten more for him from someone…

[5]
Yes, it’s a bad trade if you judge Montero by what he seemed to be then and Pineda by what he turned out to be.
I’m not sure that’s the best way to evaluate the trade, though.

I could say: it was a great trade! You gave away a guy who turned out to be a league-average hitter and isn’t a good fielder for a young starting pitcher who’d already had a full ML season with a great strike-out ratio and looked poised to become a top-of-the-rotation star and etc., etc., etc… which wouldn’t be a particularly compelling analysis, either.

I wouldn’d do the same trade again knowing Pineda and Campos are injured, but I would think there’s still at least a reasonable chance (25-30% ?) that some combination of Pineda and Campos will still turn out to be more valuable than Montero.

“you can’t help but wonder if he’d have hit better in DNYS in a better lineup”

I thought lineup effects—batting order, “protection”—were not actually existent.  Or are you just speculating?  Just trying to stay on top of the bounds of my ignorance.

ETA:  I should have said “proven to exist,” I guess.

I thought lineup effects—batting order, “protection”—were not actually existent. 

Protection has mostly been debunked, but I think there are ancillary effects of hitting in a better lineup (more fatigued pitchers, more cracks at relievers) that make it advantageous to hit in a better lineup.  Plus there may be less pressure hitting eighth in the Yankee lineup than there would be hitting cleanup in Seattle’s.

So there’s some science behind it, but yeah it’s more speculation.  So you don’t have to feel ignorant in this particular instance at least.

[9 & 10] In addition to all that, there’s the idea that park effects don’t affect all players - even all players batting from the same side of the plate - evenly.  So maybe in DNYS he’d be more suited to the park (e.g. good opposite field power) and could put up an OPS+ of 105.  Of course at the same time, it’s possible it is even LESS suited to his game, and he would be a 90.

I came across this today and figured some of you might be interested…

http://www.jeterfilter.com/

Incidentally, here’s a list of the above players’ age 23 season.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=LhCX4

Interestingly, exactly half were above a 100 OPS+ (with Troy Glaus making the biggest jump to 150).

And their age 24 seasons.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=J5nLN.

Again, exactly half were above a 100 OPS+ with George Foster having a monster season (182 OPS+).

[3] Definitely agree.  They used their biggest chip for a move that should have addressed both a short AND long-term weakness.  It didn’t work out, but the thinking was excellent.

Knowing what I know now would I do the trade again?  No, of course not.  I’m sure there was probably another player of slightly less value (at the time) than Pineda, who has worked out well since then, that I would trade Montero for instead.  B/c as much as I loved Montero at the time, he’s probably worth less now than he was then…

http://www.jeterfilter.com/

I love the Before/Afters. The Quest for 3000 turns into a coupon for beer tasting, a Jeterian injury becomes the Mets’ continued sub-mediocrity.

with George Foster having a monster season (182 OPS+)

Well, only 43 PA.  His age 26 and beyond seasons is where he truly became a monster hitter.

But basically, we’re still at the point where Montero could be a future MVP, or a continual disappointment.

[3] After initially hating the trade for sentimental reasons, I really liked it, because the thinking behind the trade was great. Given the youth, control and general non-performance of everyone involved in the trade, I think it’s pretty clear taht a few more years are needed to judge it. While no one would do the trade with the information we know now, that might completely change in another year.

Something no one has brought up…the Upton trade that he vetoed.  If that’s the best the Mariners could get (like a #10 pitching prospect and #50 hitting prospect, and two relievers), think the Yankees can come up with a trade we’d be willing to do, that is slightly less than that?  I think his salary is still in a range they’d be willing to do (could be wrong).  Depending on how many years of control AZ would want for the relievers, I think Yankees could do say Joba and Boone, or one of Joba/Boone and one of Montgomery/Whitley.  For prospects…they can’t trade Hensley until the summer, so they don’t have the high-end pitching prospect (if that’s a factor).  But maybe DePaula, or maybe Campos still has enough value.  So…maybe DePaula and one of the big 4?  Or instead of DePaula, any two of the big 4?

I’m kind of torn on that, especially two of them.  At worst Upton is probably an above average (3 WAR) RF for the next 3 years, at best he’s a perennial MVP candiate.  For the latter, you make the trade.  For the former…Not sure if you do.  Thoughts?

Catching up on RAB and in Friday’s chat Mike A. suggested Williams, Phelps, Logan, and Adams as a “close comp”.  If that’s AZ’s asking price I’d do that, as much as I like Phelps.

[18] How much would you trade for Swisher if you could pay him 8.5MM for the next 3 years? How much would you trade for Stanton if you had to pay him 8.5MM for the next 3 years? The price you should be willing to pay Upton should be somwhere in between those two points. I’m not sure I would do it if I were the Yankees, but it is tempting.

Well, only 43 PA.

Whoops, missed that.

Catching up on RAB and in Friday’s chat Mike A. suggested Williams, Phelps, Logan, and Adams as a “close comp”.  If that’s AZ’s asking price I’d do that, as much as I like Phelps.

I’d do that.

[18]  Couldn’t Hensley be a PTBNL, if it came to that?

I’d definitely do that trade and honestly, that’s a nice return for Arizona.

[20] Agree on all that.  The biggest problem I have with Upton I think is there could be some concern if his past injuries (shoulder, thumb) are healed or if they will be nagging.  Especially the shoulder.  Think of Mattingly’s back when he was only a bit older; seemed it was healed, just a blip on his way to the HOF.  But it derailed his career.  So…

I think in the end I’d do any two of the top 4, and a couple of relievers.  But I think there’s a good chance they could do it for a little less than that now; like maybe Heathcott and Gumbs as opposed to Heathcott and Austin.

[22] Indeed they could.  Good catch.

[23] Considering how well their last Yankee pitching prospect turned out for them, Phelps could be an MVP in ‘Zona.

Yeah, that’s actually something that you would hope ‘Zona would keep in mind, Chris.

Also, if they could bring back 92 MPH Javy cheaply, then Phelps would become very tradeable.

CC
Kuroda
Pettitte
92 MPH Javy
Hughes
Nova

or…

CC
Kuroda
Pettitte
Hughes
Nova
88 MPH Javy

is a nice rotation.

Interesting analysis.  However, if you consider also Montero’s outstanding short stint with the Yanks and his minor league hitting success, then I think he’s pretty darn likely to develop into a good or outstanding hitter.

BTW everyone is saying that he can’t catch.  Yet, I was surprised to see in Fangraphs that last year he was the starting catcher in 55 games and caught 487 innings.

I disliked the trade even before Pineda’s health problem arose.  Now I totally hate it.

Interesting analysis.  However, if you consider also Montero’s outstanding short stint with the Yanks and his minor league hitting success, then I think he’s pretty darn likely to develop into a good or outstanding hitter.

BTW everyone is saying that he can’t catch.  Yet, I was surprised to see in Fangraphs that last year he was the starting catcher in 55 games and caught 487 innings.

I disliked the trade even before Pineda’s health problem arose.  Now I totally hate it.

SG, could you run that query for career WAR?  Or tell me how to capture the query and alter it?

Also, if they could bring back…Javy

No.  Just no.

SG, could you run that query for career WAR?  Or tell me how to capture the query and alter it?

Yep.

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, For players in the saved report

Al Simmons: 64.3 WAR/pos
Roberto Alomar: 62.9 WAR/pos
Carlos Beltran: 62.3 WAR/pos
Adrian Beltre: 61.1 WAR/pos
Reggie Smith: 60.8 WAR/pos
Ellis Burks: 46.3 WAR/pos
Johnny Evers: 45.2 WAR/pos
Chuck Knoblauch: 42 WAR/pos
George Foster: 41.3 WAR/pos
Jimmy Rollins: 40.3 WAR/pos
Rafael Furcal: 37.6 WAR/pos
Troy Glaus: 35 WAR/pos
George Kell: 34.5 WAR/pos
Dick McAuliffe: 34.3 WAR/pos
Derrek Lee: 31.5 WAR/pos
Del Ennis: 27.5 WAR/pos
Ray Chapman: 27 WAR/pos
Bob Bailey: 25.9 WAR/pos
Garry Templeton: 24.9 WAR/pos
Steve Sax: 22.9 WAR/pos
Delino DeShields: 22 WAR/pos
Frankie Crosetti: 21.3 WAR/pos
Mark Kotsay: 20.6 WAR/pos
Buck Weaver: 18.5 WAR/pos
Claudell Washington: 16.3 WAR/pos
Bruce Campbell: 13.1 WAR/pos
Ruben Sierra: 13 WAR/pos
Bobby Byrne: 12.4 WAR/pos
Elmer Smith: 11.9 WAR/pos
Tito Francona: 11.9 WAR/pos
Roy Howell: 9.1 WAR/pos
Cliff Heathcote: 9.1 WAR/pos
Alex Gonzalez: 8.3 WAR/pos
Brett Lawrie: 7.6 WAR/pos
Jim Tabor: 7 WAR/pos
Bill Coughlin: 6.8 WAR/pos
Beals Becker: 6.6 WAR/pos
Bill Knickerbocker: 3.7 WAR/pos
Ruben Tejada: 3.3 WAR/pos
Howard Freigau: 1.4 WAR/pos
Delmon Young: 0.6 WAR/pos
Jesus Montero: 0.3 WAR/pos

These include pre age 22 WAR as well.

[31] So, Montero could end up anywhere between roster filler and HOFer?

He’s got the worst career WAR of any player on the list.  I think it’s safe to call him a bust.

And how have I not heard of Beals Becker and Bill Knickerbocker before?

[33] When you’ve only put up half the career WAR of Delmon Young…

Given Seattle’s trade history it would make more sense if they’d exchanged Pineda for the actual Delino DeShields, not just a reasonable facsimile.

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