Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade hasn't paid off for Yankees or Mariners

Michael Pineda of the Yankees reacts after the Michael Pineda of the Yankees reacts after the final out of the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs during the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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SEATTLE - Remember the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade? It's the deal that keeps on giving. Headaches, that is.

The Yankees and Mariners thought they had constructed a trade that could help both sides on Jan. 13, 2012. Seattle sent young righthanders Pineda and Jose Campos to the Yankees for slugging young catcher Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi.

But aside from 15 home runs by Montero in 2012 and three outstanding pre-suspension starts by Pineda to start this season, the deal has been more negative than positive.

Consider the following:

Pineda injured his shoulder in his first spring training with the Yankees and did not throw a major-league pitch in 2012 or 2013. He pitched well upon his return this year but was suspended for 10 games last week for smearing pine tar on his neck in Boston even though he knew everyone's eyes would be on him after a previous incident with pine tar this season against the Red Sox. It's unclear how the 25-year-old will fare without the sticky substance when he returns.

Montero, 24, hit .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in 2012 for Seattle. He also proved he couldn't handle the defensive responsibilities of a catcher. In 2013, he hit .208, suffered a severe knee injury, was suspended for 50 games in the Biogenesis scandal and ended up back in the minors. Then he reported to spring training this year 40 pounds overweight. He is hitting well at Triple-A, though, and could get called up soon to help Seattle as a DH/first baseman. Montero, who hit a three-run homer Sunday, is batting .318 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 17 games.

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Noesi, 27, went 2-14 in parts of three seasons with Seattle and was waived earlier this month. He was claimed by Texas, waived again and claimed last week by the White Sox.

Campos, 21, underwent Tommy John surgery on Friday.

Said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik: "At the time of the deal, we gave up a really good young pitcher. They gave up a really good young hitter. We were desperate for hitting. They were desperate for pitching. So we thought we were helping each other."

Pineda was an All-Star in 2011 in his rookie season with the Mariners. Former teammate Felix Hernandez said he's "really happy" Pineda is healthy now. But King Felix shook his head over the pine-tar situation.

"I was a little upset that that happened and upset with him, too," Hernandez said. "I don't know what happened. I don't know what was in his mind. I have no comments to that."

When asked if Pineda used pine tar when he was with the Mariners, Zduriencik said he doesn't know. "I was kind of surprised when I saw what happened in Boston," he said. "Totally caught me by surprise."

It also caught the Mariners by surprise when Montero showed up at spring training 40 pounds overweight.

"After winter ball, all I did was eat," Montero said at the time.

Now Montero is shedding pounds and hitting homers for Triple-A Tacoma, including three this weekend -- two against top Mets prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard.

"It's been well written what happened in spring training," Zduriencik said. "He came in a little late and out of shape. That was very disappointing. Once, basically, he was called to school on it, I think he's done a really good job of trying to get himself back in shape."

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If he does -- and if he and Pineda can fulfill their promise -- this deal still could go from dud to stud.

Said Zduriencik: "I think the one thing anyone has to be real careful of is to realize you just don't write young players off. It's still a work in progress. We're hopeful."

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