New York Yankees Jesus Montero hits a two-run single against the Baltimore Orioles  in New York

Yankees, Mariners agree to Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda swap

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UPDATE: Greg Johns of MLB.com was told by a team source that the Mariners are sending Michael Pineda and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos to the Yankees for Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi.

It’s easy to say the Mariners should have just signed Prince Fielder and kept Pineda, but perhaps this was an acknowledgement that it was never a realistic possibility. Safeco Field is one of the worst stadiums in baseball for right-handed hitters, but the 22-year-old Montero at least has power to the opposite field. He will presumably be the primary designated hitter in Seattle, though it’s possible they could try him behind the plate.

Pineda, who turns 23 next Wednesday, posted a 3.74 ERA and 173/55 K/BB ratio over 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners last season. This included a 2.92 ERA at home and a 4.40 ERA on the road. Still, the Yankees now have yet another cheap, young pitcher with upside to put behind ace CC Sabathia for the next few years. Campos, who had a 2.32 ERA and 85/13 K/BB ratio over 81 1/3 innings at Low-A last season, is yet another option down the road.

Montero was projected to the Yankees’ designated hitter this season, so it will be interesting to see where Brian Cashman turns in the next few days. With Alex Rodriguez likely to need more DH time over the next few years, do they go for a short-term solution like Johnny Damon or Carlos Pena? Or do they intensify their pursuit for Yoenis Cespedes or perhaps even make a play Prince Fielder? Interesting times.

7:42 PM: According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Mariners have indeed acquired Jesus Montero from the Yankees for Michael Pineda. He adds that there are additional players in the deal. Wow.

7:30 PM: Here’s a juicy one.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Mariners are moving closer to a trade  for a “young impact hitter.” No word on who they might be talking to, but Crasnick was told that it’s a “significant trade” and that closer Brandon League is not going in the other direction.

Nothing confirmed here, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times is hearing rumblings that the Mariners could be sending young right-hander Michael Pineda to the Yankees for Jesus Montero.

That would be a doozy. Stay tuned.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.