• Pineda, The Game Changer

    Posted by on March 10th, 2014 · Comments (48)

    Via Jon Paul Morosi -

    Over several days at Grapefruit League games, Michael Pineda’s outing against the Tigers was the performance that impressed me most.

    Pineda hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011, when he was an All-Star with the Seattle Mariners. He was traded to the Yankees after that season, only to undergo a shoulder surgery that idled his career for roughly two years. But he looked like his old self Friday night, striking out Miguel Cabrera — and three other Tigers — during two scoreless innings.

    “Every time he steps on the mound since he’€™s been in the big leagues, he’s been getting awkward swings,” said new Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who remembered facing Pineda (and his imposing 6-foot-7 frame) back in 2011. “I don’t think that was anything out of the ordinary. The thing I was impressed about was him pounding the zone with all of his pitches. He struck a guy out on an 0-2 slider. It was definitely encouraging.”

    I know we aren’t even midway through March. But a rotation of Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Pineda is playoff-caliber, provided Pineda remains healthy and Tanaka adjusts smoothly in his first season as a Yankee. Despite not throwing a meaningful pitch since September 2011, Pineda could become a pivotal figure — not just for the Yankees, but the entire AL East.

    It’s March 10th. Call me up on July 1st and then let’s see how the Yankees starting rotation is doing…

    Comments on Pineda, The Game Changer

    1. Corey
      March 10th, 2014 | 9:16 am

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have hope at this point. It is Spring after all.

    2. MJ Recanati
      March 10th, 2014 | 12:14 pm

      Corey wrote:

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have hope at this point. It is Spring after all.

      Steve doesn’t like it when people have optimistic outlooks on anything (unless it dovetails with his own (rare) optimistic outlook).

    3. March 10th, 2014 | 12:34 pm

      Corey wrote:

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have hope at this point. It is Spring after all.

      But, don’t you need something to base hope on? What’s there now to give reason for hope? What’s there that’s valid and not just wild fanboy thoughts?

    4. Raf
      March 10th, 2014 | 1:46 pm

      @ Steve L.:
      Pineda’s healthy and throwing well and is having a better spring with the Yankees now than he did in 2012.

    5. Mr. October
      March 10th, 2014 | 3:11 pm

      I have a lot of hope that Sabathia’s fastball will improve from 88 mph to 91-92 mph by the end of Spring, the 39-year old Kuroda will have an ERA from Aug.-Oct. that will be comparable to his ERA from Apr.-Aug. (unlike his 2012-13 performances), Nova will be more consistent than Hughes was in 2013, Tanaka really does have a 90 mph splitter (he simply has not needed to “dial it up” to 90 mph once in the first 1315 IP of his professional career) and will be one of the top 20 pitchers in MLB, Pineda will be a “game changer,” and, with Maestro Cashman’s “fine-tuning” during the course of the regular season, this rotation will get past Boston, Detroit, Oakland, and Tampa Bay for this franchise’s second AL Championship since 2005.

      As I’ve been telling The Tooth Fairy throughout the 2013-14 offseason, Pineda’s health could be a “game changer.”

    6. March 10th, 2014 | 3:43 pm

      Yeah, this is the thing:

      CC was terrible last year and it’s so bad that he’s hoping weight loss and the cutter can save him.

      Kuroda melted at the end of last year, is old, and has never been a big winner.

      Pineda is a mental midget and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011 – the only time he’s ever pitched in the majors.

      Nova is a PED test waiting to be failed.

      And, Tanaka is…well, all we really know about him is that he’s very, very, highly paid.

      Hope springs eternal!

    7. Greg H.
      March 10th, 2014 | 4:30 pm

      @ Steve L.:
      Cue the Debbie Downer noise…

    8. Raf
      March 10th, 2014 | 4:31 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Hope springs eternal!

      That’s part of fandom, isn’t it? Beats obsessing over Cashman’s sex life or whatever picayune bs Alex Rodriguez is getting involved with.

    9. redbug
      March 10th, 2014 | 5:47 pm

      Sorry to ask a tech question…

      I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab. For some reason the content displays to the right, mostly out of sight. The WW banner is fine. Is there something I can do to correct?

    10. March 10th, 2014 | 6:12 pm

      @ redbug:
      Not sure?

    11. Mr. October
      March 10th, 2014 | 8:49 pm

      It’s great that Sabathia didn’t waste time working on that cutter over the winter… But, once again, Morosi does make an excellent point: the most pivotal figure in the entire AL East in 2014 might very well be this man: http://mugshots.com/Sport/Michael-Pineda.20663631.html

    12. JeremyM
      March 10th, 2014 | 10:58 pm

      @ redbug:
      I have the same issue on my LG phone. Just popped up shortly after Steve asked if people were having trouble seeing the site via mobile. Before that, I could see the site fine on Mobile but not my desktop (I believe, hopefully I don’t have that mixed up).

    13. redbug
      March 11th, 2014 | 6:45 am

      @ Steve L.:

      Steve, could it be a wordpress setting?

    14. March 11th, 2014 | 7:53 am

      @ redbug:
      I doubt it.
      Did you try googling the description to see what comes up?

    15. March 11th, 2014 | 7:54 am

      @ JeremyM:
      maybe it’s the mobile plugin. Let me check.

    16. March 11th, 2014 | 7:56 am

      Nope. I don’t even have a mobile plugin. Took most of them away when we last had the problem.

    17. Raf
      March 11th, 2014 | 10:11 am

      It could be a browser issue. FWIW, the site appears fine on my mobile device.

    18. March 11th, 2014 | 12:04 pm

      Raf wrote:

      It could be a browser issue. FWIW, the site appears fine on my mobile device.

      Yup. Looks OK on my Samsung phone.

    19. redbug
      March 11th, 2014 | 5:40 pm

      So, if it’s a browser issue, how do I adjust it?

    20. March 11th, 2014 | 9:02 pm

      redbug wrote:

      Samsung Galaxy Tab. For some reason the content displays to the right

      Not sure. I have looked for a solution and cannot find it

    21. March 11th, 2014 | 11:37 pm

      Getting back to Pineda, I have to agree with Steve on this. Are you kidding me, this is spring training, before we start writing his name in as the AL starter in the All Star game can we actually see him perform in a game that counts.

    22. Evan3457
      March 12th, 2014 | 2:00 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Getting back to Pineda, I have to agree with Steve on this. Are you kidding me, this is spring training, before we start writing his name in as the AL starter in the All Star game can we actually see him perform in a game that counts.

      I don’t think anyone is putting him on the AL All-Star team.

      It’s spring, and writers have to come up with “new” things/angles to write about. They’ve been writing about him being a disappointment/bust/failure for two years, so anything positive about him is “new”.

      I don’t know how he’ll do, or even if he’ll stay healthy this year. Let’s just watch, and see what happens.

    23. Scout
      March 12th, 2014 | 8:51 am

      The sure bet here is that those five pitchers will NOT all be starting on July st.

    24. Raf
      March 12th, 2014 | 12:39 pm

      No one was taking an “it’s only spring training” stance when Pineda showed up to camp overweight with reduced velocity back in 2012. Not sure why people are afraid of the possibility that Pineda may do well in pinstripes.

    25. MJ Recanati
      March 12th, 2014 | 1:19 pm

      Raf wrote:

      No one was taking an “it’s only spring training” stance when Pineda showed up to camp overweight with reduced velocity back in 2012. Not sure why people are afraid of the possibility that Pineda may do well in pinstripes.

      And you know the answer to that as well as I do: this site (and the troll that has attached itself to this site) cannot allow for the possibility of any outcome other than the most negative one. Because as long as there’s a chance that an outcome may be negative, it’s the only possible outcome permitted to occur around here.

    26. March 12th, 2014 | 3:37 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Again, it gets back to needing something to base hope on…look at the body of work that is Pineda. It’s screams Pavano more than Pedro. He has to show it when it counts for anyone to have hope, other than hope just based on wishful thinking.

    27. Greg H.
      March 12th, 2014 | 3:57 pm

      @ Steve L.:
      He’s neither Pavano or Pedro, although I like the alliteration. The bdy of work is small but he did pitch well enough to make the all star team as a rookie playing for a team with zero offense. He’s a talented kid who had a tough physical setback early in his career. Most folks would agree that if his shoulder heals he has a pretty good upside. That’s the basis for hope.

    28. MJ Recanati
      March 12th, 2014 | 4:15 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      It’s screams Pavano more than Pedro.

      He had pitched one season of major league ball after five years and 405 innings in the minors for the Mariners but somehow you’re able to say that he’s more X than Y. Amazing.

      I understand why some don’t like him — showing up to camp overweight is unprofessional — but to write off a 25 year old and to cast his future career as finished or worthless is premature and, frankly, idiotic. It’s why you’re just a fan and not (thankfully) running a ballclub.

      Pineda may end up being lousy this year but no one should be prepared to state that with any degree of certainty after one spring training start, which, incidentally, looked very promising.

    29. MJ Recanati
      March 12th, 2014 | 4:16 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      Most folks would agree that if his shoulder heals he has a pretty good upside. That’s the basis for hope.

      Most rational people would agree. This site gives voice to the irrational, the pessimistic, and the schizophrenic.

    30. March 12th, 2014 | 4:57 pm

      @ Greg H.:
      Phil Hughes made an all-star team. Doesn’t mean much.

    31. March 12th, 2014 | 4:58 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      This site gives voice to the irrational, the pessimistic, and the schizophrenic.

      Which one are you?

      SERIOUSLY, just kidding. That one was just too easy…

    32. Mr. October
      March 12th, 2014 | 5:51 pm

      Sabathia is looking better and better this Spring… it’s great that this organization had an executive like Brian Cashman in place in 2011 to ensure not more than $96 million was committed to Sabathia through 2017. I think Michael Pineda might have a better chance to start the 2014 All-Star Game than Brian Cashman’s $23.5 million-per year no. 1 starter on this championship-caliber rotation.

    33. Mr. October
      March 12th, 2014 | 5:55 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      the troll

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Much like Suzyn Waldman, I don’t think enough has been done to honor the contributions the troll has made to gender equality.

      The New York Yankees Radio Broadcast Team said (March 8, 2013; 2nd inning):

      Suzyn Waldman said:

      “… It’s probably not a good idea to start a story about Brett Gardner with two outs, is it, John?”

      John Sterling said:

      “There’s only one out, Suzyn.”

      At least Suzyn got Brett Gardner’s name correct…

    34. Mr. October
      March 12th, 2014 | 6:19 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      … Because as long as there’s a chance that an outcome may be negative, it’s the only possible outcome permitted to occur around here.

      “Nice straw man,” and somewhat similar to the position that once you get the to the postseason, “anything can happen;” a rotation of Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes could have won it all in the 2013 season, but for the injury to Mark Teixeira…

      Or, as long as a $235 million team makes it to the postseason, there’s a chance, and as long as there’s a chance, the G.M. did his job – even with a rotation with a $23.5 million no. 1 starter with a 4.78 E.R.A., a 39-year old no. 2 starter with a 6.06 E.R.A. from August-October, a 41-year old no. 3 starter who said he didn’t have much left at the end of the season, and a 4-14 no. 4 starter…

      If only Team Cashman could have just won a few more games gotten to the 2013 postseason… What might have been.

    35. Greg H.
      March 13th, 2014 | 12:06 am

      @ Steve L.:
      Sure it does. It means he has the ability to play with the best in mlb, doesn’t mean he’s HOF bound but that’s not needed to help the team

    36. Greg H.
      March 13th, 2014 | 12:33 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      The disclosure / disclaimer covers 2 out of three… Irrational is ok once in a while, pessimistic I can live with – that’s Steve, and I like Steve. I can do without the schitzo however.

    37. March 13th, 2014 | 12:33 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Getting back to Pineda, I have to agree with Steve on this. Are you kidding me, this is spring training, before we start writing his name in as the AL starter in the All Star game can we actually see him perform in a game that counts.

      I don’t think anyone is putting him on the AL All-Star team.

      It’s spring, and writers have to come up with “new” things/angles to write about. They’ve been writing about him being a disappointment/bust/failure for two years, so anything positive about him is “new”.

      I don’t know how he’ll do, or even if he’ll stay healthy this year. Let’s just watch, and see what happens.

      I think someone is saying it, “Pineda could become a pivotal figure not just for the Yankees, but the entire AL East”.

      It’s way too early to start speculating like this, he could wind up in the minors by opening day, we need to see more, a lot more.

    38. MJ Recanati
      March 13th, 2014 | 9:36 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      I think someone is saying it, “Pineda could become a pivotal figure not just for the Yankees, but the entire AL East”.
      It’s way too early to start speculating like this, he could wind up in the minors by opening day, we need to see more, a lot more.

      You’re discounting the possibility of the first and claiming the second to be a possible outcome. The reality is that both outcomes are the extremes. He may not be an all-star and a dominant force in the AL East and he may not be in the minor leagues. It’s more probable that he makes the team out of spring training, pitches reasonably well, though probably not at the heights he achieved in 2011. Is that not realistic?

    39. MJ Recanati
      March 13th, 2014 | 9:38 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      Which one are you?

      None of the three, Steve.

      Take shots at your loyal readers, let your internet trolls ruin the place. Interesting choices you’ve made around here.

    40. Greg H.
      March 13th, 2014 | 10:59 am

      I just hope he doesn’t end up in the starter/bullpen vortex.

    41. MJ Recanati
      March 13th, 2014 | 12:37 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      I just hope he doesn’t end up in the starter/bullpen vortex.

      I honestly don’t think that’s going to happen this year. It may happen at some point but I imagine the team wants him to succeed as a starter and will give him every opportunity to remain in the rotation this year.

    42. Corey
      March 13th, 2014 | 6:35 pm

      Numbers look good but I actually watched his start today and there were many, many hard hit outs. He threw 89-91 (far cry from the mid 90s we heard about). It’s still early but I’m more skeptical now after watching that outing.

    43. March 13th, 2014 | 7:31 pm

      Corey wrote:

      Numbers look good but I actually watched his start today and there were many, many hard hit outs. He threw 89-91 (far cry from the mid 90s we heard about). It’s still early but I’m more skeptical now after watching that outing.

      Yup. Soriano made a nice grab on one ball that was scolded off him.

    44. Evan3457
      March 14th, 2014 | 1:21 am

      I didn’t see the game, but Joel Sherman did:

      The scouts had him topping out at 93 mph a few times, pitching mainly at 91 mph, and deploying a strong changeup and slider that allowed him to get outs when he was too routinely behind in the count against what was far from the Orioles’ “A” lineup.
      Pineda missed persistently low and away to righty hitters, as if he were trying to get more velocity or not finishing his pitches or simply getting to the side of the ball. Brian McCann said it was just inaccuracy combined with the natural cut on Pineda’s fastball. The scouts noticed no signs he wasn’t finishing his pitches or was favoring his surgically repaired shoulder. Instead, they said he threw free and amped up to 92-93 when he wanted. Pineda said he felt he will add even more velocity as he builds up his arm — he averaged 94.7 in 2011.

      I dunno. I suspect he’ll be all right, but I don’t know.
      Let’s just watch, and see how he does.

    45. MJ Recanati
      March 14th, 2014 | 11:27 am

      Corey wrote:

      It’s still early but I’m more skeptical now after watching that outing.

      True, though his breaking ball generated a lot of swings and misses which was encouraging.

      Reality is that he’s probably only a #5 going forward, though with upside if the shoulder gets stronger.

    46. Mr. October
      March 14th, 2014 | 4:15 pm

      Pineda is the only man in Florida pounding the zone more often than Cashman…

    47. Mr. October
      March 14th, 2014 | 4:40 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      … internet trolls …

      @ MJ Recanati:
      According to Louise Meanwell, Cashman’s “power/speed combo” was more amazing than Ken Griffey Jr.’s. BTW, “Internet” should be capitalized…

    48. Mr. October
      April 24th, 2014 | 11:44 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      Pineda is a mental midget…

      @ Steve L.:
      Why would you say that?

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