Yankees: Seattle's ex-pitching prince Pineda - Lady Loves Pinstripes Yankees: Seattle's ex-pitching prince Pineda - Lady Loves Pinstripes Yankees: Seattle's ex-pitching prince Pineda - Lady Loves Pinstripes

Yankees: Seattle’s ex-pitching prince Pineda

It was about 18 months ago that the Yankees traded top prospect Jesus Montero for Mariners pitching phenom Michael Pineda.

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pineda arrived to Spring Training with a bum shoulder that required surgery, which has barred him from throwing his first pitch in the Bronx.

Well that is all about to change, as GM Brian Cashman told ESPN New York that Pineda pitched this past week and clocked 95 mph on the radar gun.

Cashman said that Pineda is on track to make his Yankees debut sometime in June.

This is all good news for the Yankees, as I have drooled over Pineda since I first saw him pitch back  in 2011.

My impression of Pineda is that of a 24-year old with top of the rotation potential, but how the Yankees handle him is a different story for a future article.

The bottom line here is I wanted Pineda long before the Yankees went and got him.

It was two years ago, yesterday that I first wrote about why Yankees fans should…Keep This Seattle Pitching Prince On Your Radar.

So here is a blast from Lady Loves Pinstripes’ past:

Keep This Seattle Pitching Prince On Your Radar

May 3, 2011

Where there is a King, usually more royalty can be found. And in Seattle, the Mariners are forming a nice little pitching kingdom of their own.

Back in 2005, Pitcher Felix Hernandez was dubbed ‘King Felix’ down in A-ball for his dynamic arm, made his debut at age 19.

Seven seasons later, this King has earned the title; as King Felix is one of the most lethal pitchers in baseball today. Unfortunately, the 2010 CY Young winner plays for the Mariners who have been the bottom feeders of the AL West, a place they still remain today.

Over his career, King Felix has a 3.20 ERA, over 179 starts, posting a 74-59 record, with 1087 strikeouts, 14 shutouts and has clocked 1202 innings total. Keep in mind that if he played on any other team the King’s wins-loses and ERA would be much lower.

Now, you can only imagine the New York Yankees along with every other team in baseball have been drooling over King Felix for some time now.

Presumably the Mariners front office has listened to numerous offers about obtaining the King, especially before they signed him to a four-year extension. I can assure you that a few calls came from the Yankees who would love to get their claws on the 25-year-old, who has yet to reach his prime.

Over this past winter, Yankee fans were hoping for a King under their Christmas tree, but Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik made it clear that was never going to happen. Zduriencik had already screwed the Yankees in Cliff Lee trade, by using New York as leverage to bait the Texas Rangers to get Seattle even more players.

That did NOT fair well with Yankees GM Brian Cashman, but it didn’t stop him from pursuing Felix.

Even though the 2011 Yankees are off to a hot start, reloading mid-season if a top pitcher is available is almost guaranteed.

With the Mariners standing at 13-16 and sitting pretty in a familiar last place in the AL West, trading for some young minor leaguers would be a smart move to build for the future.

The Yankees have exactly this kind-of young talent to dangle in front of teams without denting their newly built farm system too much.

In comes Mariners rookie Michael Pineda, a 6-foot-7 right-hander who struck out 396 batters in just over 404 innings pitch in the minor leagues. Pineda won the fifth spot in the Mariners rotation this spring and was the first Mariner rookie ever to make the starting rotation to start the season.

At a ripe 22-years-of-age, Pineda has now made five major-league starts, and it would seem that his transition has been flawless. Pineda has posted a 4-1 record, maintains a 2.01 ERA, with 30 strikeouts, giving up zero homers over 32 innings pitched.

At this rate the newly hailed pitching Prince would end the season with a 27-7 record, pitching 213 innings and fanning 204 batters. The likelihood that Pineda’s first big league season ends up like this is not going to happen, but winning 10-13 games before the All-Star break on the Mariners is a feat in itself and that could be possible.

Pineda throws first pitch strikes 72% of the time, has complete control of his large physique because he can repeat his deliveries and already has the mindset of controlling the pace of a game.

This newly donned Prince has been getting praise everywhere; even ESPN’s Buster Olney has mentioned Rookie Of The Year and possibly a CY Young candidate in his article about Pineda. While Olney’s ESPN colleague Jim Caple also wrote a nice piece about the new Prince who joined the King.

Okay Yankee fans you can start drooling.

The question remains whether Zduriencik will try to screw Cashman again by driving up the price or using the Yankee name to squeeze another team?

Zduriencik knows the Yankees have some key young and talented pieces that the Mariners need, but whether he is even serious about building a contending team remains to be seen.

Yes, because Seattle doesn’t have the leverage financially to do much and getting a top player to come to a crappy team will cost. The Mariners fell flat in 2010, when even I predicted them to take the AL West but instead they finished dead last in baseball winning just 61 games.

Mariner fans are not happy and the amount of empty seats at the ballpark can attest to that. My cousin and her husband just moved to Seattle and both have confirmed that the best seat in the house is way under $100. She actually said it made her feel sad, but she does come from a Yankee family so I blame it more on missing the pinstripes.

Regardless, I can promise you that Pineda is on Cashman’s radar but the days of screwing the Yankees just because their the Yankees are way over.

Remember the Yankees are resilient, so not obtaining a player from a team that is asking way more only winds up screwing themselves down the road.

Let’s hope Seattle plays fair this time because I think Pineda looks really good.

But he is not worth handing the entire farm system, or Robinson Cano over; and Zduriencik already asked for both as a starting point for Felix a year ago.

Just keep an eye on Michael Pineda cause this could get interesting as the season progresses.

The Prince of New York…now doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?!



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  1. George says:

    You write: "Pineda arrived to Spring Training with a bum shoulder that required surgery, which has barred him from throwing his first pitch in the Bronx."

    As usual you are part of those Nut Jobs that always think conspiracy. That the Yankees medical stuff can't read MRI's etc etc. That we would let Montero go knowing that Pineda had a bum shoulder.

    A little due diligence gives the correct timeline and what actually transpired. But I doubt if you'll accept that.

    Otherwise nice article.

    • Richard says:

      I read your link. I did not know he actually was trying to reduce velocity while with the Mariners. He had a clean MRI as part of his trade physical so to say he was injured prior was pure unprovable nonsense. Except for the Nut Jobs of course.

    • LLP says:

      Actually, Pineda could have had the injury coming into Spring Training but since MLB team's cannot conduct die-cast MRIs in physical evaluations of new players, it is likely this one got overlooked. I was told this by another MLB team's orthopedic who I know.

      • George says:

        Could have and Did Have like you wrote before are different aren't they?

      • Richard says:

        It's also as likely not to have been there since he was asymptomatic until after spring training was well under way. However, you wrote that he was essentially spoiled goods which is not correct.

        How about Phil Hughes? Just when we needed 8 innings by golly he stepped up. Moving fastballs all over the place. Damn!!!!! I'm sure you will find something negative so go for it.

      • Pete says:

        Yep he arrived at ST with a bum shoulder and pitched until late March with it. Yep, that's the way the Yankees operate ( no pun intended) I'm shocked the Yanks didn't force Jeter to play short with hid broken ankle or Arod……..

        Cashman has already acknowledged that the injury could have been there previously but that's pure speculation.

        • lola says:

          No No if there is a conspiracy then the Lady will dig it out. Of course we new he was damaged goods, that's why we gave up our stud prospect and then Made Pineda pitch to make it worse.

          Every time LLP writes something it's very entertaining!!!!!