One AL West team made big move today. However, the move that seemed like it would gain some legs was this one, which I read about traveling eastbound about halfway between Roslyn and Ellensburg, the same place I was in when the Mariners traded Cliff Lee to the Rangers.
Gio Gonzalez doesn't wan't to go to Washington. Even Obama doesn't like that team.
The Nationals traded a bunch of prospects for Gio Gonzalez, and a Michael Pineda trade may look more and more appealing as we see teams unload their farm systems for young pitchers with years of cost-limited team control. The Nationals traded three good arms, including two guys in A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock who could be in the top half of the A’s rotation in the future. Derek Norris is probably the A’s top prospect immediately and probably makes Kurt Suzuki expendable.
Gonzalez probably projects third in the Nationals rotation behind Stephen Strasburg (if healthy) and Jordan Zimmermann, though he may be their opening day starter considering the development paths of those two younger, albeit more talented pitchers.
This trade begs the question though, considering the haul brought in by both the Padres and Athletics, should the Mariners trade Michael Pineda?
Apart from the fact that I think that Pineda is better than Gonzalez, I don’t think they should trade him just because these teams got good hauls back.
The A’s are in a much different position than the Mariners. Win or lose, the A’s can’t draw fans, and they’ll be moving to a new stadium eventually, in a new city in a more affluent part of the Bay Area.
The Padres traded for Matt Latos last week, and gave up two top offensive prospects (Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal), a guy who figures to be a late-inning reliever (Brad Boxberger), and Edinson Volquez, an veteran pitcher who has been injured the past three seasons, but who was very good before that despite control issues.
Both of these teams have different incentives for their trades that the Mariners presumably do, as the recession has made bleak attendance situations even bleaker.
Seattle fans, by contrast, have shown that they’ll support a winner.
So this is a real gut check question. If you believe that Jack Zduriencik is a great evaluator of talent, then you’ll trust that he’s receiving a commensurate package for Pineda, and not simply dismiss it. However, considering that none of the prospects involved come without some sort of caveat, or potential prohibitive weakness, it’s hard to say that the team should trade a guy like Pineda, who appears to be everything he was advertised as, and then some.
The Mariners can afford to keep Pineda for some time. In fact, as long as they don’t vastly overpay for fat first basemen, there’s a good chance that the team can afford to extend Pineda soon, and extend him for a discount beyond his arbitration years. And there is also a chance the Mariners could be competitive within the next two to three years (especially if Albert Pujols is actually 41 years old).
So the question of whether or not to trade Pineda isn’t one that has a simple yes or no answer, but most of the time, the answer to the question would be no.