The word came via the Associated Press that Cashman had traded for pitching phenom Seattle Mariners Michael Pineda, as well as inked a one-year, $10 million deal with Los Angeles ace Dodgers Hiroki Kuroda; and with that Yankee Universe is realigned for 2012.
I have been a big supporter of Pineda since last May, as I told Yankee fans to keep an eye on what I deemed him as Seattle’s New Prince.
And just as I thought Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero was part of the payment, as Montero gives a needed boost to a now anemic Mariners offense. The Yankees also added RHP Hector Noesi to secure Pineda; so if all physically clear Noesi will be heading to the West Coast with Montero.
Getting back to Pineda…
At 6’7, this almost 23-year-old (birthday – 01/18) righty is hard to miss, but regardless of Pineda’s build this kid can throw.
In the minors, Pineda struck out 396 batters in just over 404 innings pitch, and was the youngest pitcher the Mariners ever named a starter out of Spring Training in 2011.
Pineda made his Major League début on April 5, 2011, which was also his first full season. Pineda went 9-10, posting a 3.74 ERA, and giving up 133 hits, 71 earned runs, 18 home-runs, walking 55 batters, while striking out 173.
The first half of the season Pineda looked unstoppable, as eight of his nine wins happened prior to the All-Star break, and his ERA dipped as well, going from 3.03 to 5.12.
Overall this kid had a stellar rookie year, even with the disappointing second half because his stuff has a-c-e written all over it.
Pineda’s plus fastball averages in the mid 90s, as he can literally put it anywhere, and it is by far his best pitch.
Pineda also keeps batters on their toes with a deceptive slider and change-up. Over the two years he has added a cutter and changed grips to improve his change-up to almost a fulltime plus pitch.
Pineda’s choice command is improving for all of his pitches. He pounds the strike zone, and avoids deep counts. He held righties to an MLB low with a .184 batting average in 2011.
Pineda’s Potential Problem:
A serious worry about Pineda is his wild mechanics and the damage it has already done on his elbow. The elbow sidelined him for almost all of 2009, and could very well be the reason for his second-half struggles in 2011.
At times Pineda’s motion can be awfully painful to watch, and his dominant height doesn’t make things any easier.
Pineda does throw off his legs to keep pressure off his elbow, but scouts are worried that could eventually affect his rotator cup.
Look, Giants ace Tim Lincecum was overlooked due to his mechanics, and scouts are still kicking their own butts about missing the Freak.
Sometimes what might not look pretty is actually comfortable, but in Pineda’s case the past soreness and DL stint does pose enough reason to keep an eye on him, as it should.
Montero and Noesi for Pineda is a solid move, as the Yankees still hang onto the killer B’s and boost their rotation for the future.
The upside looks to be gigantic, even if Pineda does need Tommy John at some point, which would be a worse case scenario.
Pineda is literally CC Sabathia’s mini-me, as he can learn how to use his big frame effectively from the Yankees ace. And Sabathia could not be a better or nicer mentor to have.
Cashman gets a grade A from me, as I was hoping for this trade to go down a year ago but better late than never.
Next Up…I will evaluate the signing of Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers, but I already like the idea of a one-year deal at $10 million for a real innings eater.
Cashman is a lot slicker than fans give him credit for after these two moves. Nice work…
- Report: Yankees acquire Michael Pineda from Mariners for Jesus Montero (aol.sportingnews.com)
- A blockbuster night: Yankees trade for Pineda, sign Kuroda (sports.yahoo.com)
- Yankees trade Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda (faniq.com)
- Brian Cashman unveils rotation plan (yankeesfansunite.wordpress.com)
- New York Yankees load up, acquire pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda (thestar.com)
- Pair of moves land Pineda, Kuroda with Yanks (mlb.mlb.com)
- MLB Trades: Yankees Trade Montero for Pineda and Sign Kuroda. What’s Next? (bleacherreport.com)
- UPDATE: Mariners acquire Jesus Montero from Yankees for Michael Pineda (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Yankees Sign Hiroki Kuroda: A Busy Night in the Bronx (bleacherreport.com)