Jobu weighs in on Michael Pineda’s Injury.
As we speak, New York reporters are dipping their hand-made torches into kerosene and digging through their garages for their lighters. They have already called their friends, because when it comes to a posse, the more the merrier (or angrier, I suppose). They are making sure to limber up their fingers and wrists… its gonna be a long season at the computer. There’s a lot of anti-Brian Cashman propaganda to write.
After all, Cash is the worst GM in league history right? He traded Jesús Montero, a sure fire Hall of Famer who will probably amass 3,000 hits, 800 home runs and god knows what else in his illustrious career, and he got back a rickety old washed up, injury prone nobody named Michael Pineda. This sound about right?
In actuality, it sounds ridiculous. At the time Cashman made this deal, Montero had about three weeks of MLB service time under his belt, and Pineda was a 23-year-old All-Star. They also got back a minor leaguer named José Campos, who has been nothing short of absurd through his first month in the Yankees system, and many say might be the hidden gem in this deal.
Cashman did not get duped into trading for an injured player. Cashman did not fail to do his due diligence while researching Pineda for the trade. Cashman is not guilty of misjudging the value of Jesús Montero. Cashman traded a stud prospect for a 23-year-old with a mid-90s fastball, a bugs bunny changeup, and a nasty slider. As everyone knows, and the Yankees themselves failed showed last season, pitching wins championships. The Yankees traded from a position of strength in order to strengthen a glaring weakness.
Sometimes bad stuff happens. Sometimes players get hurt. Pineda was not hurt when the Yankees acquired him. You can chalk up this injury to simple bad luck, not poor general managing. Let’s put away our torches, and our Brian Cashman dolls made of old rags and tell our posses to go back home. It is far too early to label this trade a bust.
For one, Montero isn’t exactly hammering the ball in Seattle. He’s hitting .265 with 2 HR and 11 RBI through the first month of the season. I’m not sure what to expect from him hitting in that ballpark, in his first season as a starter at the top level, but its not as if he’s hitting like Matt Kemp.
Secondly, from things I have read and heard about this injury from players who have experienced it (Curt Schilling on his blog, and Al Leiter during a Yankees broadcast), players can come back from this injury with no ill effects, and sometimes even throwing harder than they used to. Al Leiter says he came back from this injury in the late 80s throwing 97 mph, and that was over twenty years ago. Advanced surgery and rehabilitation techniques are sure to give Pineda an even better chance of returning to the form he showed when he was an All-Star in 2011.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Yankees also got back Campos in the deal, who could one day develop into a front end starter. If Pineda comes back in 2013 and wins 20 games for three years, and Campos eventually joins him in the rotation and also excels, this trade is going to look a little different, isn’t it? Sure, it kind of sucks this year (especially with how terribly Freddy García and Phil Hughes are pitching), but it’s not the end of the world.
in a few weeks, Andy Pettitte will be back in the rotation. While he probably won’t be lights out, I believe he’ll hold his own and solidify this rotation. If Hughes and García continue to falter, the Yankees could always let David Phelps start, call up D.J. Mitchell or Adam Warren, or even sign a veteran like Roy Oswalt to hold them down for this season.
I know we all have to fill our deadlines, and its fun to put ridiculous headlines out there and make news by calling out Brian Cashman’s mistakes, but responsible journalism requires that we wait and see what happens with this trade over the next five seasons. If Pineda doesn’t come back, or comes back as a shadow of his former self, this trade should still not go down as a bad decision by Brian Cashman. It should just be viewed as what it is, which is terrible, no good luck.
I’ll be here next April to further asses this trade… and the one after that… and the one after that.
Featured image courtesy of: Kim Klement/U.S. Presswire
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