Photo of the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Some say that timing is everything.
Well in that case, the timing of Michael Pineda’s injury sucks.
23-years-old and a torn labrum…
It’s unlikely that when the Yankees traded for starting pitcher Michael Pineda this past off-season, they had anticipated him warming the bench, rather than up on the mound every fifth day.
At 6’7 and 260 pounds, Pineda was the center piece of the Yankees off-season acquisitions, and at a position in which they clearly needed help.
In his rookie season just a year ago, Pineda was 8-6 as a starter for the Mariners with a 3.03 ERA at the All-Star break. His velocity was up to 98 MPH, and it seemed as if CC Sabathia would be pitching twice every five days for the Yanks in 2012.
That won’t be the case.
The 23-year-old’s shoulder injury will likely keep him off the mound for a minimum of one year, and seemingly makes what was finally one of the Yankee’s strengths this season, into somewhat of a weakness moving forward.
Pineda has not started a game this season due to the injury, which leaves some fans entertaining the question:
Did the Seattle Mariners knowingly trade an injured player?
Here are a few reasons as to why this speculation might just add up in all the right ways.
A. Pineda’s numbers after the 2011 All-Star break.
In the second half of last season, Pineda only went 1-4 as a starter for the Mariners with a 5.12 ERA. In addition, his velocity fell staggeringly from 98 MPH to 90 MPH.
In baseball, the slightest dip in velocity for a pitcher can mean the difference between strikeouts and homeruns.
These are signs that either Pineda struggled the second half of his rookie year, OR that he had been fighting an injury.
B. Who the Mariners acquired in the Pineda trade.
Obviously the Mariners weren’t going to just give up their top young pitching prospect without first being compensated.
And boy, were they ever.
A coveted young player, the Mariners were willing to give up Pineda for Montaro without too many qualms. Could this be because the Mariners’ organization knew Pineda was injured, thereby acquiring a young player in Montaro to build their team around and essentially giving up nothing?
Mariners’ Gerneral Manager Jack Zduriencik has denied the idea of trading the Yankees an injured player, and Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has said he does not believe Pineda was injured before the Yanks traded for him, and that he passed all team physicals before the trade went down.
Still, Yankees fans are left only to ponder at some of the sketchy details surrounding this trade.
Zduriencik’s “unethical motives” in making this trade may seem farfetched, an easy scapegoat, or even just the New York media poking a stick into the bee hive that is Michael Pineda’s torn labrum.
But then again…
I guess we’ll never really know.