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Transaction Analysis: Kuroda, Pineda, Montero

In a matter of a couple hours on Friday night, the Yankees pulled off two moves -- teaming up with the Mariners on one -- that have given fantasy owners a lot to consider. When the dust settled, no fewer than three potentially high-impact players changed teams, and there was a fourth on the move who could sneak into consideration in deep AL-onlies or super-deep mixers.

Let's have a look a look at what went down and what it could mean ...

The Yankees agree to terms with Hiroki Kuroda

With a profile that includes strikeout ability, solid control, above-average groundball rates and relative durability, Kuroda has been a salt-of-the-earth commodity in the fake game in his four Major League seasons, all of which were spent with the Dodgers. You probably wouldn't have won many leagues with the Japanese right-hander as your No. 1 starter, but he's been an ideal No. 3 or 4.

Now, things are about to get tougher for Kuroda. He's leaving pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium for a home ballpark in the Bronx that favors hitters. He's also staring at his age-37 season and is leaving behind the navigable NL West for baseball's toughest division. Factor in that his draft-day price -- current ADP of 170, per Mock Draft Central -- will likely be inflated in the coming weeks by his new pinstriped uniform, and we seemingly have a formula for a guy who is a good pitcher but could land on our overpriced list.

But owning a good starter who takes the ball every fifth day for the Yankees has one notable allure (in most leagues): that little stat we call "wins." The fact remains that, barring an unprecedented rash of injuries or the world's untimely demise in May, the Yankees are a virtual lock to win 90-plus games in 2012, and someone has to be the beneficiary of all those Ws.

For example, Phil Hughes and his 4.05 SIERA won 18 games in 2010, while Ivan Nova and his 4.29 SIERA won 16 games in 2011. Kuroda is better than both of those fellas. Of course, there's a lot of random chance factored into that equation. Fantasy pinada A.J. Burnett drew Lady Luck's short straw last season, winning only 11 games despite posting a 3.89 SIERA that was better than both Hughes' two years ago and Nova's last year.

The bottom line is, I'd let the plusses and minuses of this move offset each other with respect to Kuroda's fantasy value. He remains a No. 3 or 4 for me, and while the potential for an uptick in wins is enticing, there are factors at play that could just as easily point toward mild regression in his ratios and strikeouts.

The Yankees acquire Michael Pineda and Jose Campos from the Mariners in exchange for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi

Blockbuster alert! Two of the game's at- or near-the-Majors top young talents in Pineda and Montero are on the move.

On the heels of a brilliant rookie season in which his 3.36 SIERA was actually better than his sharp 3.74 ERA, Pineda, like Kuroda, is tasked with overcoming a more challenging home ballpark and schedule. And with more strikeouts than innings pitched in 2011, Pineda certainly has the higher upside of the Yankees' two new arms, although he also comes with some risk.

In his breakdown of the swap, ESPN analyst/scout Keith Law (sub req'd) cautions that Pineda, still something of an unpolished two-pitch pitcher at this juncture of his young career, may not be able to repeat 2011's surface stats, especially against lineups with tougher left-handed hitters. For what it's worth, Pineda posted a .237/.296/.357 line and a 2.96 K/BB ratio vs. lefties last season, so it's not his L/R splits that worry me. Instead, I'd keep an eye on the 36% groundball rate he posted last year, as some of those fly balls could come back to haunt him in 2012 if they bleed out of Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch.

Even if there's regression in the cards for Pineda, a guy who struck out more than a batter per inning and walked fewer than three per nine frames as a supposedly raw rookie is not one to be ignored. His current ADP is 97, which indicates to me there is still some skepticism among owners. If you're more of an aggressive type, I'm fine with grabbing Pineda as many as two or even three rounds earlier, because he has second- or third-round upside, but don't get too carried away.

In Montero, the Mariners get their much-needed and long-sought-after offensive stud, and in the Mariners getting Montero, fantasy owners get the opportunity to draft a touted hitter who may qualify at catcher but probably won't play there often, which is always advantageous.

You can't really find a bad word written about Montero's hitting, and it's been that way for some time. He has hit for average and power, and drawn enough walks, at every stop along the way in the Minors and in a brief Major League stint in 2011 to suggest he'll be productive. As a 20-year-old in his first trip through Triple-A, Montero hit .289/.353/.517 with 21 homers. Yup, nobody messes with The Jesus.

The move to a bad lineup and a ballpark markedly tough on righty hitters won't help his counting stats, but I like Montero right at the fringe of the top-10 catchers once he qualifies at the position. Just be sure that you know your league's rules about position eligibility, and monitor how the M's deploy Montero in Spring Training, before drafting him. We'll be watching that one closely.

Noesi is a high-probability but low-upside right-hander in the mold of Mike Leake based on his minor league peripherals, which could be a useful profile in Safeco Field. He'll be 25 later this month, so he's not someone you'd expect to have some marked improvement from his history as a control specialist in the minors. Noesi could be useful as a streaming candidate in standard mixers, especially at home against weaker offenses, so he's probably safe to pass on in drafts for those formats, but file away his name in very deep mixers or AL-onlies.

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