On Friday, the New York Yankees addressed their glaring need for starting pitching.
The Yankees agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with veteran free agent Hiroki Kuroda, a 200-inning starter for the Dodgers last season, according to a major-league source. The deal is pending a physical.
The Yankees also agreed with the Mariners on a trade that will bring All-Star right-hander Michael Pineda to New York for catcher/first baseman Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi, major-league sources confirmed to FOXSports.com. The deal, which also sends minor-league right-hander Jose Campos to the Yankees, is pending physical examinations.
The trade addresses the principal needs for each team. The Mariners, who finished last in the majors in runs scored the past two seasons, need offense. The Yankees, done in by a suspect rotation in the last two Octobers, need pitching.
The Yankees’ rotation now figures to consist of CC Sabathia, Kuroda, Pineda, and Ivan Nova, with A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia as options for the fifth spot.
Kuroda will turn 37 before Opening Day but is coming off a season in which he compiled a career-best 3.07 ERA. While with the Dodgers last July, he utilized his no-trade clause to block deals to the Red Sox and Tigers. It appears he has a new perspective on pitching for an East Coast team.
Montero, 22, was regarded as one of the top young power hitters in the minor leagues last year. He fueled the hype with a .996 OPS as a part-time designated hitter in September. This marks the second time the Mariners have tried to trade for Montero; he would have gone to Seattle if the Mariners had dealt Cliff Lee to New York in July 2010, as they very nearly did.
By acquiring Montero, the Mariners are likely signaling that they will not sign Prince Fielder. It appears the Mariners’ intent is to put Montero in the middle of their lineup along with Justin Smoak and Mike Carp. Fielder’s strongest options appear to be the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers.
Pineda, 22, made the All-Star team during a sensational rookie season in 2011. He went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts. Now, he faces the challenge of meaningful games in a hitter-friendly ballpark — two things he did not contend with in Seattle.
Noesi, who turns 25 later this month, went 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 30 big-league appearances with the Yankees last year. The Mariners expect him to start for them in 2012, sources say.
Campos, a 19-year-old Venezuelan, went 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 starts at short-season Class A Everett last year.