I can’t relate to pitchers. I had to take the ball from the second grade up through freshman year of high school and I hated it most of the time. I could hit, though, until it was too dark out to see the ball. If my dad’s arm didn’t get tired, we might still be out there.
On a basic level, hitting is reaction and pitching is initiation. I’ve always had trouble getting started. I’d rather get a feel for something first and join in progress. And the precision required to throw it exactly where you intend every time? Screw that, let me just hit the ball as hard as I can and we’ll see what happens.
Maybe this prejudice influences the way I envision a baseball roster. The lineup is the body, the pitching staff is the wardrobe. The appearance of the team changes game to game based on the pitcher, but the core is the same. The ace is your best suit, your best reliever could be your smoking jacket. (I guess A.J. Burnett is your kid’s urine-soaked PJs)
So when I heard Jesus Montero was traded for Michael Pineda, I felt like we were trading a neck for a necktie. Sure, the tie is important, but without the neck, what’s the point?
Even without the catching, I’ll take Montero’s simple, solid bat over the complex musculature of Pineda’s throwing arm. You can watch Montero hit every game, all season long. There’s no better way to interface with a team than through a star hitter, especially for a young fan, because he’s always in the lineup.
I understand that having Pineda in the rotation probably makes the 2012 Yankees a better team than they would have been with Montero as the DH. But in 2013? And 2014?
Arod and Teixeira are already fractions of what they once were and they will be declining in the lineup for years to come. The Yankees have one big hitter in his prime, Cano, who is fierce but not flawless. You don’t have to squint too hard to see a Yankee team desperate for hitting.
The more I think about the trade, the more comfortable I am with Cashman’s logic and his vision. But I am firmly on the Montero side of the debate. It boils down to this: if they both become stars, I’d want Montero to be a Yankee.