Losing Michael Pineda

Yankees can't overcome Hughes, drop rubber game to Rangers
How much confidence does Girardi really have in Hughes?
(REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

I can’t help but wonder if the anterior labral tear in Michael Pineda‘s right shoulder could have been avoided had he spoken up sooner about the soreness in camp, but what can you do. When you tell the kid he needs to compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training one year after he made the All-Star Team, you can’t be surprised when you find out he’s been hiding an injury. He’s going to do whatever he has to do to keep his job.

People like to assign blame in situations like this, but it really doesn’t help matters any. Blame Brian Cashman, blame the medical staff, blame Pineda, blame the Mariners, blame whoever you want. It won’t make Pineda’s shoulder any healthier. If you think this whole episode is a fireable offense, I won’t disagree with you. I don’t think you can have a trade of this magnitude go sour this quickly without someone being held accountable, I just don’t know who and neither do you.

When you boil it all down, the Yankees made the trade for Pineda because they’ve been completely unable to develop their own starting pitchers in recent years. Joba Chamberlain was the team’s best hope for a homegrown ace in quite some time, but he was forced to jump through some mind-numbingly stupid player development hoops. Phil Hughes hasn’t worked out for a number of reasons and Ian Kennedy was traded away before getting an extended audition. The IPK thing doesn’t bother me nearly as much as Joba and Hughes because at least he brought back an MVP-caliber player in the trade. That Ivan Nova has lasted as long as he has is a minor miracle.

As far as 2012 is concerned, the trade is a disaster. A complete and unmitigated disaster. The Yankees basically forfeited whatever Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi could have given them and instead won’t get anything out of Pineda or Jose Campos, who is in Low-A. I suppose they could always trade Campos for a big leaguer and extract 2012 value that way, but that’s another matter entirely. Given their recent track record of developing young arms, maybe they should trade him before they ruin him too. Okay, now I’m just trollin’.

Anyway, the Yankees made the trade for both short and long-term reasons. They thought Pineda would be a rotation upgrade in the immediate future and an ace-caliber hurler down the line. Pineda came with five years of team control before qualifying for free agency, but now the Yankees are going to get four of those five years in the absolute best case scenario. That means no setbacks, no performance decline, no further injuries, no nothing. One-fifth of their expected return has already been wiped away and they can’t get it back. They’ll be lucky if they only lose that much.

Pitchers are inherently risky, but unfortunately you actually need them to win. Good ones too, and Michael Pineda most certainly was very good last year. You don’t strike out a quarter of the batters you face with a 3.15 K/BB ratio because of good luck or because you play in a big home ballpark. I said that I thought the trade was fair on our podcast right after the deal went down, but I also said I would have rather kept Montero. This whole thing just sucks. I feel bad for Pineda as a person, I really do, but I’m also furious that there’s a really good chance the Yankees will get absolutely nothing out of Montero other than those 69 plate appearances last September. Mistakes are unavoidable in baseball, but not all are forgivable.

Yankees can't overcome Hughes, drop rubber game to Rangers
How much confidence does Girardi really have in Hughes?
  • Larch

    “I don’t think you can have a trade of this magnitude go sour this quickly without someone being held accountable, I just don’t know who and neither do you.” = +1

    • TrollHunter

      Maybe Cash was too distracted by the sopa opera drama in his personal and failed to give this trade the attention it deserved?

      • Jonathan

        The labrum issue is tough to find for doctors. I complained of shoulder pain for 6 years with constant clean MRI’s. Then I had to take a year off of baseball to get my knees done and talked to doctor, the orthopedic surgeon for KU athletics who went to Harvard, into doing an exploratory surgery to see what was wrong since I’d be out anyway with the knee. When I woke up from surgery he told me I had a lot of cartilage damage, bursitis and a torn rotator cuff. So I did the rehab and got back from that and about 1 week into my first college season I’m playing catch from about 50 feet and wham it goes and my arm is just hanging. So we go to an even more renowned doctor who did Kerry Wood’s Tommy John, he’s worked on Kobe Bryant etc etc and we brought him the tape of the first surgery for him to see. And about 30 seconds into it he says, “I thought you said you had your rotator cuff done and not your labrum?”. So i told him I did. And he paused the tape and pointed to this white mass hanging out and he said, that’s your labrum and it’s torn completely off the bone. It was never seen on an MRI before or after. He most likely started to tire in the 2nd half last year and without all of his legs he started to use more arm and it probably wore on his labrum and frayed it a little or a minor tear or strain that our doctors missed. Then he came into camp out of shape and was throwing with all arm and in terrible shape and trying to throw 100mph and it just went. That’s my theory anyway. I’m not saying I think the Mariners knew his arm was injured but I’m guessing it was before he came over.

        • PerfectName

          Very interesting; thanks for the info.

        • qwerty

          Pineda said all camp that he was not trying to throw hard.

    • OldYanksFan

      You’re Joking right???
      The SLATE article said even profession/specialist doctors have a hard time diagnosing labrum issues. It said one MLB team has FIVE professionals make a diagnosis, and goes with the majority opinion.

      This is just plain shitty luck.
      Every year, dozens of pitchers experience soreness.
      How many times is it the labrum.
      How about Phil last year. Was that a labrum issue?

      It seems to me the Yankees are VERY careful about not overstressing their young pitchers.

      If you ‘fire’ someone over this, you may as well fire someone over the ‘Midges Game’ in Cleveland.

      The guy had TWO clean MRIs before this.
      This is just pure, shitty luck.

    • Bryan__fromNZ

      After reading a number of comments throughout the baseball internet community, the theory I agree with the most (and one already recognised by Axisa in a post about how the trade affected Pineda’s pre-camp schedule) is that Pineda came to ST out of shape, at which point Girardi and Cashman challenged him to a rotation spot, inducing him to push himself too much, putting more stress on the shoulder than normal, which then resulted in the tendinitis.

      Then instead of resting the shoulder more thoroughly and focussing on strengthening it, the Yankees hastily rushed Pineda back onto a timetable which put more stress on the shoulder, resulting in the tear.

      It’s only a guess, but I suspect the tear was a gradual process, which started during ST, and maybe even during his final 2011 start. Watching Pineda’s first start, I noticed that he had shoulder discomfort after every pitch, wincing, and he was constantly rotating his shoulder in between pitches.

      It’s not certain that Pineda was NOT damaged goods, because we’re not sure if he underwent a dye casted MRI during his physical, like he did just now. A normal MRI couldn’t pick up the tear.

      • Bryan__fromNZ

        Btw great article Mike, as always.

        Reading through this forum, I notice people talking about Nardi.

        Shouldn’t the attention be on Rothschild for failing to recognise the risks on Pineda. He would’ve/should’ve known Pineda was behind schedule. And then on Girardi and Cashman for putting so much pressure on the kid. And then the NY media for catching on with Girardi and Cashman. He’s a professional for sure, and handling the NY media is part and parcel of pitching for the Yankees, but he just turned 23 and those three guys should’ve picked up the risk of injury from overexertion.

        Btw, a great read on ESPN interviewing Curt Schilling and his experience with a torn labrum. He dismissed being overweight as contributing to the injury, and rather attributed to general shoulder weakness.

        He must know what he’s talking about. I agree Pineda should’ve been shut down for longer. That he should’ve been put on a shoulder strengthening program afterward. And only after that should he have been set to begin bullpens.

        It’s arguable that Cashman rushed the rehab to mitigate the risks of Hughes/Garcia/Kuroda’s failing.

        Someone’s gotta be fired here, and I vote Cashman.

  • Typical MIT Nerd

    No mention of all the hacks bringing up the velo? Couldn’t that have caused the kid to try to throw harder?

    Now, of course, they’ll feel justified even as it’s Spring Training for a reason. People were looking for reasons to bash this trade before he had ever put on pinstripes.

    As pure baseball move, it was dumb given the risks of young, unproven pitchers being so much greater than young, unproven hitters. But once the trade was done I was really looking forward to seeing Pineda and CC side-by-side for years to come. He’ll likely never get there. That sucks – lost talent.

    • Delaware – Ralph

      I am not willing to believe right now that he won’t come back. I saw a list of other pitchers who have had the same surgery and it was an impressive list that included Curt Schilling among a couple guys that will be in the HOF (sorry it was on twitter and I can’t remember who tweeted it to find it again)

      He is 23 years old which should help as far as a rehab is concerned.

      To say it was dumb because young pitchers are unproved/risky is true but not really fair. To trade Montero is made sense to trade for a young pitchers such as Pineda who showed he can pitch in the majors, is cheap (remember that fun 189 number) and is under team control for a number of years. It was the right trade. This just sucks.

      I love Montero and wish him the best. He is an incredible hitter but remember he does not have a position and we are not in a position for a full time DH.

      • Typical MIT Nerd

        Montero caught Felix last night. He has a position that they never tried to see if it could work. I’m 30 lbs overweight and I could catch CC.

        It wasn’t the right trade when the risks were so different. When Halladay/Lee could have been the return years ago, it shows how little they got in return.

        This austerity nonsense is utter bullshit too.

        • Guest

          To be fair, they DID try to trade Montero for Lee. And they thought they had done so successfully. It’s not like they thought Pineda was worth it for Montero but Lee wasn’t.

          They thought they were both were it. Things didn’t work out with Lee, but they did work out with Pineda. Right now, that seems to be a very unfortunate outcome.

          • Typical MIT Nerd

            Actually they let the immortal Eduardo Nunez get in the way of Lee. That’s even worse.

            The Halladay non-trade is the real kicker. Dude has been 60% better than league average the last two years. Now today, they literally have nothing in return except a middle reliever in Hughes.

            • titit

              This is not true and it was obvious Jack Z. wanted the Texas package more.

              • Typical MIT Nerd

                ORLLY? Then why did he trade for Montero one year later?

                • vin

                  Because he had already acquired Justin Smoak by that point? That was the guy he wanted back in 2010 because he projected to have a good bat and be a plus defender at first.

                • Cris Pengiucci

                  Beacause he already got what he wanted from Texas and saw the opportunity to deal from a position of strength (pitching) to sure up an area they needed help at (hitting/catching)?

                  That would seem to make an awful lot of sense to most of us.

                • Slugger27

                  a comment like this is an indictment on your understanding of baseball business.

          • John

            The Yankees management do not deal with pitchers very
            well. For example, look at what they’re doing with
            Phelps. They brought him up as a starter, and were
            not patient with him. So, they placed him in the
            bullpen, where he has succeeded. They now think he
            can start, and stretched him for the rotation. Now,
            in the middle of a pennant race, some of their
            relievers have been ineffective, so they again want
            Phelps to work out of the bullpen. That is not the
            right (or most effective) approach. If something
            works fine, do not fix it. Its easier to find
            bullpen help than effective starters, so try that
            approach, first. Of course, there should have been
            a plan in place as to how many reserve pitchers
            they would need, earlier than now. There are reasons
            why they have been unable to develop starters.
            They have very good prospects, but as soon as they
            get near to coming to the parent club, they develop
            issues. Rather than stressing to earn a rotation
            spot, they should have urged Pineda to get into
            shape. Cashman might be ignorant about developing
            pitchers, but Girardi is a former catcher, and knows

        • Kevin Winters

          This austerity nonsense is utter bullshit too.


          I don’t now why but that made me laugh hysterically.

          • Kevin Winters

            no not now

            • Kevin Winters


              Have to stop drinking everyday

              • The Guns of Navarone


                Today’s not the day to quit drinking, however.

                • Kevin Winters

                  You are right

      • Dan

        I agree about the Montero point at the end, with the aging veterans it would have been hard to keep Montero and find time to rest Jeter and A-rod by giving them half-days. Noesi was all about dealing from a position of strength as they had a high number of minor league pitchers ready to come up and fill his same role (Phelps/Warren/Mitchell) and it allowed them to get Campos.

        So I am still fine with this trade because with the additions of Kuroda and Pettitte, they didn’t need Pineda as much this year. The Yankees will still be able to make the playoffs with the current roster, not having Pineda might mean another quick exit but you can’t predict the playoffs and if healthy a staff of CC, Kuroda, Pettitte, and Nova could still win the WS. Where the injury might hurt would be next season if Pineda cannot return to form.

        • Typical MIT Nerd

          See, this is exactly the problem. They looked at Montero for all the problems he created even as they never found a way to even try to address those problems.

          Jesus caught Felix last night. The Ms won 9-1. The Yankees could have easily picked their spots. Oh, and by the way, Raul Ibanez is being paid more than Montero would have made and he’s started 14 of their 18 games.

          • Dan

            Right, but I feel like the underlying reason for this deal was looking at 2014 and trying to get under the luxury tax. The Yankees want more young cost-controlled starters so they can have a very cheap rotation outside of Sabathia. The Ibanez comp is irrelevant because he is only signed for this year, and the Yankees wanted someone who they didn’t have a need to play everyday like they would have with Montero so that it gives them more flexibility with their roster.

          • OldYanksFan

            And what exactly do the M’s have to lose? If Montero has a 10% CS rate with 50 PBs and 50 errors, he can still Catch for the M’s.

            The Yankees are in a different position.
            They were strong on Catching and weaker on ready Pitchers.
            Everyone…. EVERYONE hated to see Montero go.
            But the deal made sense.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        He is 23 years old which should help as far as a rehab is concerned.

        Repeatd for emphasis.

        • TrollHunter

          Unless he is a lazy scrub who doesnt have the desire to put the work in. You know the type that reports to his new team 20lbs overwieght after not careing to pick up a baseball all winter!

          • Captain

            not excusing the weight gain because obviously thats something that could be addressed by him but the Mariners told him not to throw over the winter. thats not caring about picking up a baseball all winter, thats paying attention to your bosses.

          • Bo Knows

            And this is also the guy who reported almost a month early to spring training and had even gone on record that he was going to report in January for the Mariners but the trade slowed that issue down.

          • qwerty

            He didn’t pick up a baseball because his shoulder was in tremendous pain! :)

    • Guest

      I agree (though I think Mike hinted at this when he referenced how Pineda may have reacted to being told he was in a competition).

      I think spring training for pitchers is completely different than spring training for hitters. Sure, create fake competitions for hitters to push them and see how they perform under pressure. I’m fine with that.

      But pitching is a totally unnatural and physical precarious activity. Human beings were just not meant to wind up and throw a ball as hard as they can thousands of time a year (while also snapping and twisting their/arms and wrists to get spin for breaking pitches). It is simply not an activity that should be done with max effort until your body is ready to give max effort.

      Could all of this had happened if Pineda didn’t feel like he needed to dial it up for that last Phillies start in the spring to secure his rotation spot? Of course. But I just don’t see why you would encourage someone to maybe go harder than they were ready to go at the moment. Pitching is risky enough as it is anyway.

      • Randy Watson

        Well said couldn’t agree more

    • Esteban


    • Now Batting

      Maybe if Pineda wasn’t lazy, took care of his body over the offseason, and didn’t show up 15 pounds overweight he wouldn’t have had a velocity problem.

      • Guest

        There was an excellent piece where someone actually asked Pineda about his off-season rather than speculating about it.

        Essentially, he had plans to show up early to the Mariners camp to get ready before other pitchers reported. Then the trade went down. BUT, if you remember, Jesus was in some location where they couldn’t get him back to the states in order for him to take a physical to complete the trade.

        Everyone in the trade was in limbo for weeks, and his plan to show up early to Mariners camp went out the window. Now he clearly should have found some other way to prepare for Spring training without the advantages of team facilities.

        But it’s not like it was his intention to do nothing in the off-season. He planned on going the extra-mile after giving his arm some rest (seeing that he pitched more last year than he ever had before, that makes sense).

        And then, instead of slowly rounding in to shape in camp, he was told he was in a comp and might go to the minors so he better perform.

        Pineda was wrong and the Yanks were wrong. But I just don’t think its fair to label him as lazy. Outside of this crazy off-season, everything I’ve heard about Pineda says he’s a hard worker.

        • .zip file

          well said.

        • Ted Nelson

          The competition thing is a total farce. Every single MLB player is in competition for their spot every single day.

          • handtius

            hmmm. not true.

            • Ted Nelson

              Sure they are. Some guys are a lot more secure than others… but certainly not 2nd year guys making the league minimum with options remaining.

        • J $

          This is BS. Hard worker? I ran 8 miles last night and I work 12 hour days. He is a PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE. How are these guys not always dieting int he gym 6 days a week and constantly in shape??? They get paid MILLIONS to do only that. I do it for free. He is not a hard worker.

          • Ted Nelson

            You want a pat on the back or what?

    • Ted Nelson

      All players get flack in the media, so drawing a causal relationship between media pressure and injury is pretty tough.

      Furthermore, if he couldn’t handle the pressure of expectations… how did he make it all the way to MLB? How did he succeed in MLB? How was he going to succeed in NYC?

      The people bringing up velo may very well have been right. Why are you dismissing them?

  • JeffG

    I’m wondering if there were red flags that were raised in the second half performance. Yanks keep saying they are sure Mariners made the trade in good faith. I’m not so sure they weren’t guessing there was some underlying issue.

    p.s. Seems like how the Braves try to dump pitchers before they explode.

    • DT

      Someone said first half velocity was an avg of 94.5, his second half velocity was 94.2..barely any drop off that would set off red flags. Even inflated ERA can be negligible considering his k/9 and bb/9 didn’t change either.

  • Dropped Third

    Blame montero, he used his jesus powers to tear pinedas shoulder

  • ledavidisrael

    how did he collect service time this year? Im confused.

    • Brandon

      Hes on the major league DL, so unfortunately that counts towards his service time.I think if the Yankees sent him to the minors to start the season and then DL’d him they could have saved a year, but I’m sure the players association wouldn’t have like that to much. The blame is all on Pineda, he knew he was hurt and didn’t speak up, a very immature 23 year old decision.

      • Bo Knows

        If not speaking up about being hurt is immature then every athlete who has ever existed (with the exception of Carl Pavano)is guilty of that. Guys get hurt all the time, the problem is trying to figure out what is hurt and what is an actual injury.

        This past year, I was taking a class at my college that involved a timed race for a grade. I ran every day to prepare for it, but about two weeks in I began feeling pain in one of my legs, I assumed it was just normal pain and would go away. I kept running, the pain never going away, finally about a week before our race I went and got a leg x-ray, turns out I had been running on a fractured leg.

  • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I don’t think we should trade Campos.

    But I don’t understand why pointing out the Yankees abysmal record developing starters is “trolling”

    • Typical MIT Nerd

      Really, that’s trolling? Mike points right at it.

      “Joba Chamberlain was the team’s best hope for a homegrown ace in quite some time, but he was forced to jump through some mind-numbingly stupid player development hoops.”

      Amazing to realize he got all of 15 starts in the minors in only one year. They rushed him with little prep and then when all he did was be a league average starter, they bounced him to the pen. That whole scenario just screams incompetence, especially with how he got hurt.

      I’d argue Nova has only lasted as long as he has because they ran out of options last year – you know after Sweaty Freddy and Bartolo Colon.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      The trolling part was saying they should trade Campos before they screw him up.

      • Typical MIT Nerd

        Agreed. That’s idiotic. At least trade him for Greinke in June. ;)

      • ADam

        And Banuelos, Obrien, and Betances.. they should trade them now before the Yanks can ruin their careers as well

    • TomH

      Well, he was kidding (I think) when he wrote that. However, people–here and elsewhere–often consider it to be trolling when someone makes serious, fundamental criticism of the Yankees’ management policies (pitcher development, austerity, etc.), or points to serious problems in the composition of the team (old-timers). These are not “trolling,” and to call them that is to indicate how thin one’s skin is.

  • GAyankee

    Does anyone know of any other player that had this same issue and what his performance was post op?

    • Bo Knows

      Rodger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Erik Bedard, Anibal Sanchez, Freddy Garcia are a few guys.

      Pineda’s is said to be very small, so there is hope he could recover also his youth might play an extra benefit allowing him to actually recover considering guys like Sanchez and Clemens were close to Pineda in Age and had similar stages (just after their rookie yeears as well) of their careers when they went down.

      • Bo Knows

        I forgot to answer the other Part of your question

        Clemens became the “Rocket”
        Schilling continued to pitch a long successful career (he’s still an ass, but now he makes videogames)

        Bedard has looked fine so far (he lost about 1 mph off his fb the year after the surgery but nothing really big considering he never had big time velocity)

        Anibal Sanchez has been very good with little change in velocity or stats overall

        I forgot to mention Chris Carpenter who came back the following year after labrum surgery to win the Cy Young

        There is hope, it won’t be easy or fun but Pineda and fans have hope that he can prove to be another exception

  • Typical MIT Nerd

    “One-fifth of their expected return has already been wiped away and they can’t get it back. ”

    This is exactly why this trade shouldn’t have been made. Hitters don’t miss that much time unless something freaky happens.

    Dumb, dumb trade. Meanwhile, the Ms are having Montero catch Felix – exactly what the Yankees could have been doing all last year with Montero and CC. Instead, they had their now AAA starter doing that work.

    It’s especially galling that for the last two plus years they could have had Halladay in the rotation even giving up all of Hughes, Joba, and Montero. Goes to show how much prospect hugging gets you – nothing. Give up talent to get proven, high-end talent.

    • Midland TX

      No, what’s dumb, dumb, is assuming that all parties weren’t aware of these risks and willing to accept them, because they felt the upside chances were worth it.

      Stop being obtuse, or pretending to be obtuse–both teams traded highly valuable assets that the other side valued or needed slightly more.

      Be disappointed with the outcome, but stop pretending this was a straight-up WAR-for-WAR exchange occurring in a vacuum.

      And as a courtesy, stop repeating yourself every five comments, please?

  • David Ortizs Dealer

    I think the blame pretty widely spread. I am not sure how you trade for an all-star and then tell him he isnt assured of a roster spot, it messed with Nova too, just not as bad. As a pro, Pineda has to speak up.

    As for Montero, after being benched twice in the minors for attitude issues, I suspect he took himself out of the long term plans.

    It’s not just IPK for Grandy, It was Coke and Jax too. Seeing how all 3 have done I don’t know if you make that one in hindsight either.

    • Esteban

      What have Coke and AJax done?

      • Slugger27

        ill grant you coke, nobody gives a shit… but are you seriously implying losing ajax isnt a big deal?

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Considering the return? No.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Coke is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned, he’s been replaced many times over. The question is do you prefer two good players or one great player and another roster spot to do whatever you want with?

          • Slugger27

            its not that simple though. its 2 good players that are cheaper and under team control for longer or one great player who is more expensive and under contract for less time.

            i liked that trade at the time and still do, because the yankees had a WS contending team and wanted to go for it. but looking at a looming $189M budget and thinking long term, i definitely think theres a solid case that the yankees would be better off with ipk and ajax over granderson.

          • David Ortizs Dealer

            If Coke has been replaced why do the Yanks spend every spring on a 2nd Loogy hunt. While I’ll grant you the roster spot issue, I’d counter with cost, w/o the exact $$ in front of me I’d suspect in 2014 Coke/IPK/AJax will cost about what a year of Grandy will. Given the 184M or bust budget that means alot.

            • Bo Knows

              Because the Yankees have some fascination with having 2 lefties in the pen. Logan has been good for the team (despite the crap he takes, he really has been) He’s replaced Coke, and as far as I’m concerned done a better job than Coke did.

              Without Jackson, we wouldn’t have Grandy in pinstripes that’s a very very good sacrifice imo

          • Jd


            Good post and well said.

        • Esteban

          Austin Jackson hit .249/.317/.374 last year when he didn’t have a sky-high babip. Maybe he becomes Granderson, but he’s certainly not there yet.

          • Slugger27

            i didnt say he was better than granderson, cuz he isnt. stating his triple slash and leaving it at that is a boversimplification. hes hitting in a pitchers park for one. you also have to consider fielding and salary. hes been worth 7 WAR in 2 seasons, and hes still not even arb eligible yet. his walk rate continues to climb. the guys a great asset.

            again, im not saying it was a bad trade. but you cant say “what have coke and ajax done”? what ajax has done has been worth 7 wins in 2 seasons.

            • DT

              Grandy was worth 7 WAR last year alone

              • Slugger27

                “i didnt say he was better than granderson, cuz he isnt”

                it was the first sentence

  • Guest

    “Pitchers are inherently risky, but unfortunately you actually need them to win.” — This, this, 1000 times, this.

    Everyone who said that it is extremely risky to trade a stud young hitting prospect for a stud young pitching prospect was absolutely 100% right at the time of the trade…and they are even MORE right now, if that’s possible.

    But that said, the Yankees needed pitching. And they needed pitching that could help in both the short term and the long term. And with the “still spending 10s of millions more than most other teams in baseball” austerity budget looming on the horizon, they needed cheap pitching.

    There were few people on the planet who met all of these disparate needs better than Michael Pineda. Young, big, power pitcher with great peripherals (which remained awesome even as his ERA suffered in the second half of the season). Would the Yankees be taking on the larger risk of the two parties? Of course, you bet your life they were. But it was an understandable risk because they needed the pitching.

    And it looks, for now, like that roll of the dice came up snake eyes. If there was any diligence that needs to be done into the health of a young pitcher that the Yankees did not do, then I totally agree someone needs to be held accountable. You can NOT trade Jesus Montero for a pitcher without dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” regarding that pitcher’s health.

    But given their need for young pitching, and presuming they thoroughly investigated Pineda’s health before completing the trade, I just can’t bring myself to be mad about what happened. Sad and disappointed, yes. Definitely those things. But mad? No. I can’t get there. They needed the pitching.

    • Midland TX

      THANK YOU.

    • Yankschic26

      Agree, agree, 1000 times agree. It sucks, obviously. But who does it suck THE MOST for? Uh, the guy who has to have surgery and rehab for the next year…. This is literally what I’ve been saying for the past two days.

  • Mitchell


    Yep, it’s aggravating that Pineda is injured this way and it’s understandable to be angry or frustrated about it. I view it this way: Montero had no real position to play on the Yankees, the Yankees (always) need good young pitching talent … so the trade was done, time to move on with it, frustrations and all. Yes, it’s a bust for this year – we’ve got four more to consider …

    The other point you mention, about being unable to develop young pitchers – that is a HUGE and well taken point and something that Cashman & Co. need to understand and correct. Is it the pressure of being with “the Yankees”, the media spotlight? That question of why so many failures, that is a hugely imporant thing to consider …

    • Pasqua

      “Is it the pressure of being with ‘the Yankees’, the media spotlight?”

      In short: yes. The impact of the media, and the impact of the attention that is paid by fans, cannot be understated in this town (or in Boston, or Philly). One thing I have always been frustrated by as a NY sports fan is the public pleas by all NY-area sports teams for patience in regard to their young talent, when their actions often illustrate complete IMpatience.

    • Typical MIT Nerd

      Utter bull. Montero was never given a chance to catch. The Ms are giving him that chance. What did having Cervelli catch CC give them?

      • Captain

        a guy who is a better catcher and someone that CC was probably more comfortable throwing to than Montero.

    • Weeks

      Totally true. How many impact pitchers have the Yankees developed over the last 20 years who have lasted more than a couple of years? Pettitte, Mo…? I think Cashman should be fired for that reason alone. It’s not like he hasn’t had enough time to get that part of the organization on track.

      The Yankees are STILL in the same situation they were back in ’93 when Sterling Hitchcock said, “With the Yankees, it’s give a guy 6 or 7 starts, then if he doesn’t do anything, bring in Dave LaPoint.”

  • Broll The American

    I agree with the idea of trading Campos before the Yanks screw him up as well. The whole Joba fiasco… every twist and turn of his career… was a mishandled mess on the Yankees management team. Somewhere between transition from AAA and the majors the wheels fell off of Phil Hughes. Cashman and his support staff may be great at some things, but for whatever reason transitioning young pitchers into serviceable major leaguers doesn’t appear to be one of them. Given that, the organization philosophy should be sell high on young pitching prospects and bring in league average durable veteran starters. Let them beat their opponents by investing money in bats.

  • Tim

    I’m sorry but this is all on Cashman! He’s been a disaster! I’m sorry but he has a major track record for one mistake after another! Pavano, AJ, Cliff Lee now Pineda! Time for some fresh GM blood!

    • Slugger27

      of all the mistakes… you bring up those 3? pavano and aj didnt even cost us prospects.

      besides, we all know cashmans most unforgivable move in his tenure was trading kontos for stewart.

    • Esteban

      Cliff Lee? What did Cashman do wrong there? Probably need more exclamation points.

      • Slugger27

        to anyone who is offended by such things, i apologize in advance… but a man using a lot of exclamation points is extremely gay. im just sayin.

        • TomH

          It’s not merely that people “are offended” by such comments–as if they were sensitive plants–it’s that they suggest bigotry on the part of the person making the comment, i.e., the person who is really the sensitive plant.

          The problem with exclamation-point mania has nothing to do with one’s sexual orientation, only with one’s inability to write.

          • Slugger27

            a reasonable, well-stated comment.

      • Tim

        He blew the whole Cliff Lee deal because he didn’t want to trade Nunez. I guess he feels that he needs at least 1 infielder to make errors at least once a game!!!!!

        • Esteban

          Um, they had a deal in place until Seattle backed out and chose Smoak over Montero.

          • Fernando

            and if they make that trade for Lee, they end up with NOTHING when Lee leaves as a free agent. Why does everyone keep forgetting that Lee turned down the Yankees?

  • Steel

    When I first heard about the trade, I was shocked and upset. I was excited to see what Montero could do in the Yankees lineup over a whole season. That being said, after a week or so I began to actually look forward to the trade. I think Montero is going to be a great hitter but I hoped we’d get higher value production from Pineda. As unlikely as that seems now, I can’t say that I blame Cash for pulling the trigger on this one. Pineda has/had ace potential and he thought it would be better for the Yankees in the short and long term.
    Time to forget about Pineda for this season and make due with the pieces that we have.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I agree with a whole lot of this but, on some of this, really, Axisa? Do you enjoy what the comments section of your blog has become and want to feed that more, or have you noticed how little of us actual rational fans still hang around? Where is TSJC, people ask? Probably not wanting to come back.

    Yes, the trade is a disaster. I didn’t understand it at first, didn’t like it, but did what I do as a fan, accepted it, and continued to root for the 25 men on this team. There’s no dancing around the fact that this kid now needs shoulder surgery. Sure, he can come back, whatever, but see that guy we traded in Seattle? He’s struggling, but at least he’s out on that field getting better.

    A fireable offense, though? Who died? Who was injustfully physically hurt here? The shit that happened on the New York Knicks under Isiah Thomas is a fireable offense (and he went on to coach my alma mater! Go Golden Panthers…..not.) This is rolling the dice and coming up very empty. It’s a massive mistake. Oh yeah, I forgot, five rings under his watch. Five rings wins.

    A minor miracle that Ivan Nova has survived? How about “Ivan Nova is his own man” and “we become too obsessed with what we read on DOTF and all think we should be scouts.” Ivan Nova has remained healthy, pitches deep into just about every game, and keeps his composure under pressure.

    Trade Campos before they ruin him too? I give it about 20 minutes before that becomes a new talking point in here in which your commenters start cursing each other out. Maybe that’s good for business. Who knows.

    This royally sucks. Combine that with Hughes and Freddy being complete wastes as starters and, yes, they most likely will have to pull three starters out of their ass in 2013. I expect Jimmy McNulty and Rainbow Connection to be the ones trying to pile on that, not the editors here.

    • .zip file

      I wasn’t really sure what Mike meant about Nova either, but I’m guessing he meant that the Yankees, in spite of themselves, saw enough in a young pitcher to allow him to take some lumps at the big league level and they’ve wound up with a pitcher who, as you say, has remained healthy, pitches deep into just about every game, and keeps his composure under pressure.

    • Typical MIT Nerd

      The fireable offense is what little Cashman has gotten from the farm in even the last six years of “his” control. Remember, he made a big stink about:

      a) Not signing middling pitchers to big contracts (Pavano, Igawa, then he did it again with Burnett)
      b) The importance of developing your own pitching yet Joba and IPK never got a real shot
      c) The need to save cash (even as he gave huge money to a 1B on the downslope after making the same mistake with Giambi – who was such much better than Teixeira has ever been)

      Cashman simply can’t be trusted to run the organization in a way that meets their goals. There was no real reason to trade Montero except for a clear #1. The Yankees need a organizational guy who can identify the best prospects and develop them well. This austerity budget means we’re going to be seeing many more of the Sweaty Freddys and Bart Colons because they don’t know how to transition young pitching. And any offensive upgrades are more than two years away.

      So for all the control that Cashman has gotten, what have the Yankees received in return? They’ve still spent the money and???

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        They won the World Series three years ago and have won more games than any other team in the last 5, 10, and 15 years?

        • Esteban

          Cashman sucks, lol whatevs

          • Guest

            I smell an excellent combo of old memes to create a new one.

            Well played, Spanish Steven.

        • Typical MIT Nerd

          The Red Sox have won two Series and with much less money. They’ve also been much better at player development. In two of the last four years the small market Rays have had the better record.

          Cashman wanted more control to mine the farm. What has that farm produced with all that control? Robertson, Nova, and Gardner. Compare the Red Sox and it ain’t even close. They got Lester, Youkilis, Ellsbury, and Bard in that same time frame.

          • Guest

            Leaving out Cano (who a bunch of other teams asked about as he started to excel right before his call-up and after he performed well in ’06 with the big club), seems to skew that list just a bit.

            And yeah, Joba and Phil have been huge disappointments. But if you’re going to include Bard on your list, you should include those two guys as well.

            • .zip file

              Chien Ming Wang as well.

          • LK

            The Red Sox have missed the playoffs 3 out of the last 6 years. How do you think that would go over around here?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            How’s Craig Hansen doing? Manny Delcarmen? Casey Kelly? Michael Bowden? And this is VERY recent history. There’s probably pitching prospects from the earlier part of the past decade I don’t even know about.

            Great. They won two World Series. We won five under Cashman’s watch. We win.

            • Steve

              Disingenuous comment is disingenuous. It’s pretty well established that the Red Sox had an organizational shift under Theo Epstein, who took over in 2003. Since he took over to now they have won two world series and unquestionably produced more talent from the farm system than the Yankees. That is a fact and it can not be disputed (although I’m sure you will try with some kind of straw man.) Hell, why stop with using Cashman’s watch? Why not use the number of World Series since the Steinbrenners took over?

          • Bo Knows

            You forgot Cano and someone already mentioned Wang

            so in the last 8 years:

            Yankees: Cano, Robertson, Nova, Gardner, Wang

            Sox: Lester, Youkillis, Ellsbury, Bard and the Leprechaun

            Both teams have developed 5 very good players although some have been side-tracked due to injury

            • Steve

              Papelbon? Buchholz (especially if you’re counting Wang and Nova) They don’t count huh?

              • Steve

                Also Justin Masterson

                • Fernando

                  You have to include IPK for the Yankees.

      • .zip file

        “The Yankees need a organizational guy who can identify the best prospects and develop them well.”

        They used to have that in Gene Michael.

        • titit

          He still works for the team.

          • .zip file

            But in what capacity? Either he’s lost his influence, or lost his touch.

            • Slugger27

              no he hasnt….?

              • .zip file

                The only reason I ask, is I don’t hear much about him anymore. I think he is scouting for them now, but that is the extent of it, as far as I know. Maybe I’m not looking in the right spots.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  He’s Cashman’s senior advisor and was reportedly one of the most outspoken against Darvish.

                  • .zip file

                    Thanks, Mike. It won’t be fair, but it will be one example we can use to see if Stick still has his touch.

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      When we talk about the “Tampa Braintrust,” who do you think has a big, giant throne?

                    • .zip file

                      Damon Oppenheimer.

                    • .zip file

                      But, I don’t know much about the Yankee front office or pay much attention to it other than Cashman or Oppenheimer, so there you have it.

      • Pasqua

        “There was no real reason to trade Montero except for a clear #1.”

        Have to disagree here. That makes sense when you look at it from a Yankees fan perspective. Think of it from a Mariners fan POV — why would a guy like Felix Hernandez be traded for a guy with 70 AB in the majors? A guy with huge upside potential was traded for a guy with huge upside potential. Neither is / was a sure-thing, but has certainly shown signs of being able to be one.

        • Typical MIT Nerd

          Who said they were getting Felix? But we do know that they could have gotten Halladay, Lee, and Haren.

          • Cris Pengiucci

            No we don’t. How are you sure we could have gotten Lee? Teams are used, from time to time, as barganing chips to get something perceived to be of more value. The only one that knows for sure who, if any, of these guys the Yankees could have gotten is the team that controlled them. The media and what was reported to us may or may not be accurate. Don’t speak in absolutes unless you controlled the players in question at the time of the proposed trades.

          • LK

            From what I’ve read, they offered Montero for Halladay and the BJs said no. They also offered Montero for Lee and the Ms wanted significant pieces in addition. I haven’t read anything about Montero being involved in the Haren trade talks.

            It’s easy as a Yankee fan to say, “We can’t trade Montero unless we’re getting a surefire ace in return.” But, if you were a fan of a team trading an ace, you’d probably want more than a bat-only prospect (elite as that bat may be) back.

          • Bo Knows

            Serious doubt about Doc because the Jays would have been utter morons to trade within the division.

            Lee deal fell through because of Z, Yanks had a deal, Mariners pulled out to get what they thought was the better package.

            And we have no clue what the hell is truth or lies for Haren. Can’t really say they could have had him, because the reports can’t even agree if the Yankees even made a damn call about him, let alone what kind of package was offered (if any at all)

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Do you enjoy what the comments section of your blog has become and want to feed that more, or have you noticed how little of us actual rational fans still hang around?

      Your comments are anything but rational. Your orders of killing on sight adds to the comments in what way?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        You need help….and Risperidone.

  • Dan 2

    I’m glad to have Pineda even if we have to wait a year. He’s only 23 with a potential huge career ahead. Montero may never learn to catch. He may be nothing more than a career dh.
    As far as the Yanks developing pitching, after last night’s performance they should consider switching the futures of Hughes and Joba with Phil to the pen and Joba to starter. Joba has never proven that he cannot start and Hughes has pretty much answered that question about himself.

    • Dave O

      Problem is, by the time they actually have Pineda pitching well for them in the starting rotation, if that ever happens, he will likely already be 25 and entering his arbitration years.

  • Chris

    This just further adds to my nostalgia for Bartolo Colon…

    • Pasqua

      …until Colon ends up on the DL later this year and / or fatigues. (I’m not trying to be snarky, but I do think the early season success of a guy like Colon needs to be put into some perspective.)

  • .zip file

    “When you boil it all down, the Yankees made the trade for Pineda because they’ve been completely unable to develop their own starting pitchers in recent years.”

    It goes even beyond this, in my opinion. They’ve developed pitchers, especially bullpen guys, but guessed totally wrong on the starters. And not only in developing them, but in general on which ones to sign as free agents or trade for (CC notwithstanding).

    “That Ivan Nova has lasted as long as he has is a minor miracle.”

    Not sure if you mean that they may have guessed right on him and kept him, or if you still think he’s still performing way above his head. In any case, they are still going to need at least one, if not two of Phelps, Warren, Mitchell, Banuelos, Betances and Pineda to be serviceable major league starters going forward, or they will have to repeat past patterns of trades and free agent signings. I mean, right now, next years rotation is CC, Nova and 3 question marks, assuming Nova stays healthy and keeps improving. Will Kuroda pitch well enough to want to come back next year? How will Andy do this year, and will he have anything left to even be an option next year? Will any of those 6 young pitchers step forward? Two starters out of 6 prospects? That is a very high percentage, that is not easy to accomplish. It is amazing how six weeks ago, there were too many pitchers, now there are even questions about next year. When we complain about too many pitchers next spring training, we just just all use one word, Pineda.

  • J

    Somewhere, AJ is smiling.

    • Tim

      totally agree! Nice!

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      I think that place is Pittsburgh. Thinking he’s not smiling. Have you been?

    • Esteban

      AJ had a good start. Cashman therefore sucks.

      • J

        I’m not on the ‘Cashman sucks’ train. But you have to think that when your team loses faith in you and then trades you to baseball purgatory only to eventually have their pitching situation blow up in their face, you’d at least get a kick out of it.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Can you imagine how much worse this place would look if AJ was even more locked into starting every five days?

  • DSFC

    Can anyone give me a good reason why they shouldn’t give Joba a chance at starting again? It’s glaringly obvious that Hughes belongs in the pen. The pen is loaded – they don’t need Joba there. He’s got all this rehab time ahead of him, so there’s no rush. Let him take his time, build him arm back up and start some goddamn games.

    • Pasqua

      I honestly think that they won’t do it if only because they don’t want to recreate the media frenzy again. I don’t think it’s a VALID reason (I think he should start), but I don’t think you can underestimate the power of public opinion. The worst thing to ever happen to Joba was that 4+ weeks of utterly dominant relief. Anything less than that (i.e., only moderate success as a starter) was going to be met with skepticism and anger. And that’s what happened. Sad, but true.

      • Typical MIT Nerd

        Well, at least they’ve have 15 guys for 7 bullpen slots.

      • DSFC

        I’ve said that so many times – if they’d never panicked in ’07 and brought him up to relieve, Joba’s career would look very different. It’s the only possible explanation for why Joba got a quick, permanent exile to the pen while Hughes has gotten miles of rope.

      • .zip file

        I alway thought Cashman said if you listen to the fans, you’ll soon be sitting with them.

      • The Guns of Navarone

        The worst thing to ever happen to Joba was that 4+ weeks of utterly dominant relief. Anything less than that (i.e., only moderate success as a starter) was going to be met with skepticism and anger. And that’s what happened. Sad, but true.

        Not only that, but anything less than great success and dominant performances will be met with skepticism and anger if they switch him back to a starter in the future.

        I think it’s totally unrealistic to expect Joba to succeed as a starter at this point in his career. Joba was never given any sufficient time to develop as a starter and never got the chance to learn his craft.

        He hasn’t made a start since 2009 and has been mostly fastball, slider out of the bullpen. When was the last time you think he threw his curve? Or his changeup? Not to mention the injuries he’s been battling through and how long it would take to stretch him out. He’s thrown just about 100 innings since 2009 and zero this year.

        Joba as a starter is dead and buried. And even if you wanted to resurrect him, he’s a LONG-TERM project that shouldn’t be counted on for any success in the near future.

    • Guest

      Makes too much sense. A guy given only 15 minor league starts, who showed flashes of greatness while still mainting league average performance as a starter and is still young-ish certainly shouldn’t be given another chance too succeed as a starter.

      Sigh. It won’t happen so it’s probably best to not even entertain the thought.

    • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

      I’d have to think that they just don’t believe his arm will hold up over 180+ innings. That’s gotta be the only reason.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/philgalletto theyankeewarrior

    Just need to give Hughes time. He’s an ace in the making. Ace.

    • vin

      Ace? Isn’t he closing games in Boston now?


    • Reggie C.

      Nice sarcasm bud.

  • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

    “People like to assign blame in situations like this, but it really doesn’t help matters any.”

    …but…you just did…you blamed the team for making a second year pitcher who lost his stuff last year compete.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      You should read more carefully. It’s getting tiresome having to hold your hand through every post.

    • jayd808

      Mikey tends to be erratic. “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” E.M. Forster, I believe. But at least what he said or wrote had some consistency.

    • Guest

      Pitching is not hitting. Making a hitter care about grinding out his spring training at bats is a good thing.

      Making a guy whose arm is not ready to go at max effort try to go at max effort is a bad thing. Making a guy worry about whether he will lose his starting job if he speaks up about arm soreness and therefore loses his opportunity to pitch in spring training is a bad thing.

      Encourage pitchers to (intelligently) maintain the craft in the off-season is smart. But having pitchers try to “compete” when they should just be working on getting used to the unnatural action that is the pitching throwing motion…is not.

    • Guest

      And he didn’t lose his stuff last year. He was throwing just as hard throughout the second half of last season with the exception of ONE START that came at the very end of the season after a long lay-off which was intended to keep his inning totals low.

      Yes, his ERA jumped. But his peripherals (especially strikeout and walk rates) remained awesome. Likely, he was a little lucky to have the ERA he had in the first half of the season, and quite a bit unlucky to have the ERA he had in the second half of the season.

      With the exception of one start (where the dip in velocity was understandable), Pineda remained a power pitching righty with a great slider and wonderful control throughout last year.

  • jayd808

    I never saw Andy as being any more than a nostalgia pleasing move. Freddy Garcia can still win 12. Phil needs more than a spring training and a few starts to return to 2010 form. Or are they both toast? Still wondering about the long term prospects for Pineda.

    So it’s Mitchell Warren and Phelps? Mayhaps Betances?

    Damn that was a fast season…

  • DT

    Well so far Montero + Noesi = -.2 WAR

    Pineda + Campos = 0 WAR

    Hey we’re still winning the trade!

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Now that’s my kind of thinking!

    • ADam

      Not a bad way to look at it.. actually makes me feel a bit better.. thank you!

  • JohnC


    You sure do enjoy adding fuel to the fire don’t you?

  • Across the pond

    I can’t help but wonder if the anterior labral tear in Michael Pineda‘s right shoulder could have been avoided had he spoken up sooner about the soreness in camp, but what can you do. When you tell the kid he needs to compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training one year after he made the All-Star Team, you can’t be surprised when you find out he’s been hiding an injury. He’s going to do whatever he has to do to keep his job.

    I think this has to be considered for future. I said before here that I can’t see a single benefit to this stupid notion of a competition for the obvious candidates and I was told he’s an athlete that he should be able to handle the stress.

    Well, Athletes being athletes, if he was in anyway hurt, he was going to try and pitch through and put it down to general soreness or whatever.

    If you only have 4 starters and two bums like Garcia and pitcher X, then I can see the point but with Hughes, Nova and Pineda it was just stupid.

    They traded away a player who Cashman compared to Miguel Cabrera and then take every opportunity in front of the media to tell that player he might start in the minors.

    He may well have done the same if there was no pressure on him too, but why risk it.

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      Exactly. The handling in this regard was poor, no two ways about it.

  • Kevin

    Ivan Nova has lasted this long because the Yanks didn’t think he was going to be anything and thus,he was allowed to develop more on his own.
    The problem is we expect a championship every year. It’s World Series or bust. Not a lot of time to develop pitchers properly with that attitude.

    • .zip file

      And just think if he had been the one traded instead of Noesi.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      There may be a small grain of truth there somewhere. Sure. The ugly guy starts dating the hot chick and is all “I can’t believe I’m dating this chick” and then screws it up because he couldn’t handle dating a hot chick.

      That being said, I married a hot chick after years of screwing it up and have done pretty well since.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      If there’s no time to develop then what’s the point of getting Pineda?

    • JohnnyC

      Kevin, you cut through all the fuzzy rationale and hit the mail on the head: they don’t do a good job of developing starters because they don’t have the thing you need to have…patience. A few hundred innings in the minors would have done wonders for both Joba and Hughes.

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    The yankees did this on purpose so that they can sign Montero as a high value free agent in a few years to take over for tex at 1b.

    In all seriousness, why the hell can’t the yankees develop SP? I know that the yankees can’t wait as much on pitching like some smaller market teams, but they gave hughes 3 years and he just gets worse and worse. really, what can they do? is it an issue with coaching/training in the minor leagues? is it just mishandling them when they come to the bigs? is it just the baseball gods trying to even out the balance of power???

  • ledavidisrael





    • jsbrendog

      rick, i don’t think this venue, let alone the all caps, is helping you get another job with mlb teams.

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…


  • chcmh

    There’s been a lot of talk around this trade, involving how much of a bargain this young pitcher was, how he came with good ‘club control’ and fit the Yankees ‘budget’ needs. They made this trade in part because of pressure to fit inside a new ‘luxury tax’ scenario, correct? You add elements like that into consideration and you are prone to make mistakes. I’m not saying ‘cost’ and ‘budget’ are not factors, but they surfaced a little too much in the general statements about this deal.

    What is Cashman’s track record with deals involving pitchers?

    What are the lessons?

    Two come to mind:

    1) Pitchers are fragile to such a degree it makes trading for them an extreme risk situation. Risk assessment rises to the level of playing craps. Don’t toss the dice is you’re not willing to lose everything in the deal.

    2) Home grown pitching is more valuable. Assessment of home grown pitching is more accurate and development of the specific techniques, fitness, habits, mental approach and durability mean quite a lot to an organization with the performance standard of the NY Yankees.

    I think Cashman is willing to risk, and has the resources to risk, but the any pitcher, at any time, is a high risk player. If you ran numbers I believe you’d find the chances of a pitcher suceeding, specifically a pitcher developed elsewhere and transplanted, are low.

    Bottom line: Risk, but be ready to lose.

  • CP

    When you tell the kid he needs to compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training one year after he made the All-Star Team, you can’t be surprised when you find out he’s been hiding an injury. He’s going to do whatever he has to do to keep his job.

    That’s crap. First, it’s not clear that he was hiding an injury. They did 2 MRI’s over the last couple months and didn’t find a tear. Why do we assume that there was something to hide? Second, whether he’s competing for a job or not should have no bearing on him hiding an injury. In fact, you could just as easily argue that he’d be more willing to announce an injury if his performance was somewhat subpar – that way he’d have an excuse and get a better shot once healthy (if you doubt this, just look at Hughes last year).

    the Yankees made the trade for Pineda because they’ve been completely unable to develop their own starting pitchers in recent years

    Except for Ivan Nova. Of course, they don’t get credit for him because it’s a miracle he made it.

    One-fifth of their expected return has already been wiped away and they can’t get it back.

    Actually it’s closer to 1/11th since they still have Campos. Obviously he wasn’t a central to the deal as Pineda, but he wasn’t just a throw in.

    • Guest

      CP, if you tell people you’re sore, they shut you down. They shut you down, you don’t have the chance to perform. Someone else performs, you’re riding a bus through out the northeast all season with the Empire State Yankees. Of course telling him he was in a competition could increase the chance of his hiding an injury. Players know if you don’t play, they don’t pay.

      • CP

        I disagree. He was clearly less effective than expected in spring training. Assuming he was injured and hiding it (again, that’s not clear to me), then his options were to come clean about the injury and go on the DL or hide it and hope no one noticed. How does hiding the injury help him? If he’s simply performing poorly, he’s definitely going to AAA (unless, of course, there really isn’t a competition). If he’s injured, then he goes on the DL, accrues service time and most likely comes right back to the majors after a couple of rehab starts.

        As I mentioned, Hughes was injured last year and the Yankees were ready to send him to AAA. He argued to go on the DL instead. It’s much better to suck because you’re injured than to just suck.

        Obviously, players hide injuries all the time. I just don’t see how a competition for a starting spot would make it worse.

        • Guest

          Yeah, I see what you’re saying if you feel like you are CLEARLY injured.

          But if you feel just a little off, off in ways that you’ve felt off before, you might just try to gut it out because yopu believe you can pitch through it (perhaps based on experience).

          If you know you’re spot is locked up and you don’t have to worry about anything other than rounding into shape and being perfectly healthy (like CC or Mo), then you tell everyone about every little nick and you don’t worry if they make you miss a start or two.

        • Tom

          Didn’t Pineda say he felt soreness before he made his last spring training start? (which was in the middle of will Hughes, Pineda or Nova get sent down?)

          He was throwing a 4 seamer which had the action of a cutter and he was clearly pitching through something… heck Girardi even mentioned it during a mid-game interview.

          I don’t know if he was hiding stuff earlier than the last start but that last start was a Girardi special (everyone but CC and Kuroda is competing).

    • .zip file

      They also developed Ian Kennedy. Of course, he doesn’t pitch for them any more….

  • moose

    i like placing the blame on the docs who have done the physicals – i mean we brought over feliciano and pineda…in the case of pedro, the writing was on the wall but with pineda who the hell knows….i’ll tell u this much…im sure most of us feel certain montero is going to be lighting it up for the next 10+ years and anybody who expects that outta pineda is in the minority

  • Rich in NJ

    Nothing will happen. It seems that they have enough success and make enough money to satisfy Hal. Maxmimizing their resources and decision-making doesn’t seem to be a priority, otherwise Cashman and his development people would be gone.

  • ADam

    This whole thing makes me sick. This franchise cannot manage, diagnose, or deal with young pitching. Its sad how bad Girardi has been managing young pitchers.. Sadly it might be time for a change

  • JoeyA

    Thinking about this a lot and this is my opinion on the chain of events:

    Pineda was traded mid-January to Yankees and was COMPLETELY HEALTHY. I’m sorry but I don’t believe we were sold damaged goods.

    Now, because of the timing of the trade, Pinedas off-season schedule was thrown off. He didn’t get in shape due to this and probably also bc he’s 23 and got a little lazy. He was in a 2-3 week limbo with the trade and it pushed back his offseason workout.

    When he got to camp, he was overweight and his arm wasn’t where it should have been. Yanks had him “compete” for a spot anyway. At first, the low velocity wasn’t a concern bc he was simply easing his way into throwing.

    But as ST went on, he found himself not able to hit 95-97 with the ease of last year. IMO, this was where the Yanks should have shut him down. Instead, they kept bringing him out there convincing themselves the velo would come around.

    It didn’t. And as they got closer to April, Pineda started trying to throw harder. At this point, he felt his soreness and was shut down. Still, I don’t believe there was a tear, just a lot of strain on the arm that wasn’t conditioned to be throwing like this since coming into ST.

    Despite the rest, when Pineda threw his 15 pitch bullpen session, he tried to push himself and that’s when the tear occurred. It was a small tear due to straining the arm when it wasn’t in the condition to perform at that level.

    In all of this, was it just Cashman’s fault, No. Not Marchand, Seattle, or Pinedas fault alone, either.

    Instead, it was everyone’s fault. No single scapegoat. Just a series of unfortunate events that led to this most recent development. It’s sad and deflating, but one person can’t be blamed

    Now, this all being said, we gave away Montero. This kid could have been something special in pinstripes. Yanks need to do a better job of developing SP so we can keep guys like Montero instead of shipping them off for other teams’ players.

    My question in all of this is how it affects the 2014 austerity plan. Does this make it more likely Yanks go after Hamels? At this point, I could care less about the bullshit 189M because Yankees just gave away their ability to have a team fit under that salary cap. Now, just get the players u need 2 win. That’s all. I don’t want to hear anything else about budgeting because the Yankees have proven they simply can’t develop pitching and thus, can’t field a cost controlled staff.

    • TomH

      Mostly, I agree. If they want to win, they’ve got to forget this austerity thing. However, if they can’t forget it, it may suggest problems that we don’t know about, bottom-line problems or perhaps problems in the make-up of the post-Georgian ownership.

      Baseball’s correlation of forces, with respect to money and power, may be changing.

  • Randy Watson

    I blame Pineda. He gets paid to throw a baseball, included in that is being in good enough shape to throw the baseball. From day one it was evident he wasn’t. After the Hughes experience last year (and now Pineda), the Yankees should shut down any pitcher who comes to spring training out of shape and put them on a Chris Chelios workout plan until they’re in good enough shape to throw a baseball. Sure injuries can happen regardless of your physical condition, but give yourself a fighting chance and do some exercise. Take some pride in your preparation and your craft guys.

  • vin

    All this just means we will have to pay through the nose to get Montero back in pinstripes.

    Not to beat a dead horse (everyone else is), but that goddamn failure to sign Cliff Lee rears it’s ugly head once again. With Cliff in the rotation, there’s less of a need to trade a premium young bat for a premium young arm.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Pretty much yeah, on several points:

    If you think this whole episode is a fireable offense, I won’t disagree with you. I don’t think you can have a trade of this magnitude go sour this quickly without someone being held accountable, I just don’t know who and neither do you.

    Maybe Cashman gets to keep his job but he’s put on notice. Let him figure out who’s at fault and who isn’t, and hopefully he’ll take care of the rest.

    Pineda came with five years of team control before qualifying for free agency, but now the Yankees are going to get four of those five years in the absolute best case scenario. That means no setbacks, no performance decline, no further injuries, no nothing. One-fifth of their expected return has already been wiped away and they can’t get it back. They’ll be lucky if they only lose that much.

    Also this, you’re losing 20% of the expected value and maybe even more. I think that pretty much already categorizes the trade as a failure, right? Barring some completely unforeseen improvement on Pineda’s part, I don’t see how you make up losing a year.

    • Reggie C.

      If Pineda returns and by yr 4 can deliver a top 10 CY Young season , then the Yanks can at least end the tenure on a strong note and likely seek to sign Pineda to a longer deal. The kid is only 23. That’s the only silver lining today.

      Year 1 is gone. Year 2 might be messy, and likely will be. Let’s cross collective fingers that years 3 & 4 are worth the loss of Montero.

      • Sarah

        One of the only sane comments I’ve read. Thanks.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        That’s like wishing that Zoey Deschanel will leave her acting career to wait on you hand and foot. Basically even if Montero is “only” a .360/.470 type hitter it will pretty damn hard for Pineda to be more valuable than that. Obviously we’re all still rooting for Pineda to get better and kick ass, but you’ve already lost 20% of the expected value that you expected from the guy you just traded your best prospect for.

  • Duh Innings

    So the Yanks lost Michael Pineda.

    Okay, here’s what they should to do in this order:

    Move Phelps to the rotation.

    Send Hughes to AAA.

    Call up D.J. Mitchell to take Phelps’ slot in the bullpen / Hughes’ place on the roster.

    Bring back Pettitte ASAP but don’t rush him.

    Designate Garcia for assignment (someone will take him, a veteran starting pitcher, for $4M minus what he’s been paid so far.)

    Trade Kuroda.

    Sign Roy Oswalt.

    There you go:

    Sabathia / Oswalt / Pettitte / Nova / Phelps

    The front four would be the A.L.D.S. rotation.

    The ideal 2013 Yankees pitching staff:


    Sabathia / Oswalt and Pettite re-signed (Oswalt a year or two, Pettitte another year and $2.5M)/ Nova / Pineda


    Rivera re-signed for a record reliever salary of $20M I think he’d play one more year for / Robertson / Soriano in his walk year / Logan / Chamberlain / Hughes / Phelps (maybe they could trade Soriano for some hitting and have Mitchell in the bullpen for an all-homegrown bullpen.)

    • Robinson Tilapia

      You had me until “trade Kuroda.” He’s been uneven so far. He’s also been very good when he was good. No reason to think, given his track record, that this will trend “very good” as the season rolls along.

      I’m still on the Phelps train. Never said he was a savior. Never said he’d be perfect. I just think he’s a kid who’s paid his dues, knows what he’s doing out there, will throw strikes, make mistakes, but will give the team a better chance to win than Hughes or Garcia. If he doesn’t? Well, he got his chance. Even with those past two outings (you didn’t think he was going to get tattooed after those first outings? Not watching baseball long enough, then), I’d give him a shot…..like, five days from now.

      Avoid any and all collect calls from Aruba as well.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        …that this will NOT trend, I meant. I’m on the Kuroda bullet train as well, as high-speed rail is doing quiet well in the East.

      • Ted Nelson

        Agree. Kuroda should be fine and hasn’t been that bad overall.

        For Phelps’ development I’d rather see him get some more pen work to adjust to MLB. From the Yankees standpoint, though, have to agree that you can’t run Garcia and Hughes out there anymore. I’d like to see Hughes get some AAA time to see if he can figure the whole pitching thing out.

        Not sure I’d include Oswalt in my ideal 2013 rotation either, back to the original comment there. Ideally Banuelos back is healed he tears up AAA upon returning, forcing himself into the 2013 rotation.

        • .zip file

          I have hopes for Banuelos, but only if he rediscovers the strike zone when he gets back from the DL. His 2011 walk rate of nearly 5 per 9 won’t cut it. His stuff is good, butI don’t think it is good enough to overcome that many free passes at the ML level.

          I also like Phelps, but Boston and Texas sure had some good looks at him. He never had a high home run rate in the minors, so I hope this is just him taking his lumps from much better AL lineups. All young pitchers have to go through this at some point. Let’s see how he adjusts.

          • Ted Nelson

            We’re talking ideal 2013 rotation. Certainly Banuelos has to improve on 2011, but he was 20 that season so it’s pretty likely that he does improve to some extent.

    • http://wtgnyc.blogspot.com Hate Parade

      This isn’t real, is it? Who in their right mind is going to take Soriano and his $15MM salary? Why would the Yankees sign Oswalt (and subsequently resign him)? Phelps did not look great last night, who’s to say he can even handle 5-6IP every 5 days? Also, Boone Logan is not homegrown.

      The obvious solution here is to trade Adam Warren, David Adams, Eric Duncan, Francisco Cervelli, and Bronson Sardinha to Seattle for Felix Hernandez. Great package, and a win for both teams!

    • Kosmo

      I not sure what the need to trade Kuroda and replace him with Oswalt is, otherwise a rotation of CC,Kuroda,Nova,Pettitte and Phelps is still formidable. If need be NY can cut and paste the 5th spot with Phelps,Warren and Mitchell until the trade deadline.

      Does Hughes have any options left ? If he does I think letting him figure it out (or not)at triple A would be a prudent move at this time.

    • thenamestsam

      And they would switch Kuroda for Oswalt…why exactly?

    • Peter North

      Kuroda has a full no-trade clause. I disagree with trading him anyway. Let him pitch and make his adjustments to the new batters he’s facing.

  • UncleArgyle

    So whats the chance Michael Pineda ever is an effective Big League pitcher again? I say less than 10%. What a crushing blow to the present and future of the team. Guh.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’d say more than that, but it’s really not the point. The point is what’s already happened, not what could be.

      • Ted Nelson

        I would also guess it’s more than 10%. Seems on the light end of the tear spectrum and there are cases of guys like Clemens and Schilling beating similar injuries… so all Pineda has to do is juice-up and he’ll be fine.

        Is the second sentence sarcastic?

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It’s not sarcastic, but you’re probably reading it differently than I intended. All I’m saying there is that we can’t positive-thought ourselves out of this kid being out until May of next year with a bad shoulder.

    • Bo Knows

      it depends

      if the shoulder is in good shape overall he’s probably got 60%-70% of just coming back

      him coming back as the phenom throwing hellfire, and being the Pineda we hope for, his chances are probably 30% max

  • Tampa Yankee

    I can has Cole Hamels plz?

  • Chip Off The Ol Knoblauch

    Since we’re on the topic of young pitching, does anyone know where to find out which starting pitchers have gone through the Yankees system?

    This “Yankees can’t develop good young starting pitching” theme seems like memory bias with Joba and Hughes serving the most recent and oft mentioned examples. Noesi is starting in Seattle, IPK is starting in Arizona, Nova is pitching for us and all three went through the same system. I’d be curious to see how other Yankee starting pitching prospects faired either with the Yankees or with other teams after being traded.

    In regards to Pineda, there’s no way the Yankees can draft a kid like that picking in the bottom 3rd of the draft year after year (probably more like bottom sixth). Those guys, like Bundy, Moore, etc, aren’t around when the Yankees pick. This forces them to trade other players for this type of talent while hoping the arms they pick late in the draft turn into something servicable.

    I can see why Cashman pulled the trigger on the trade. It’s a shame that Pineda got hurt before we were able to judge his ability and make a fair assessment of the trade. I don’t believe heads should roll unless someone clearly made an error. It was a risky deal to shore up, what was at the time, a shaky rotation.

    • Ted Nelson

      Agree that there’s a lot of bias in assessing the system. People got their hopes up with Joba and Hughes, and are scorned. Prospects generally don’t work out. But I guess between them being the first top prospects many commenters remember and them flashing ridiculous skill at the MLB level, people can’t deal with it.

      One problem is that before the Joba/Hughes/IPK era the Yankees had a pretty big void of prospects. 5+ years where the system was fairly bare. Wang was a good pitcher they developed. But after Eric Milton late round LHSP like Grahaman and Claussen are the only guys considered somewhat top P prospects I can think of. A lot more guys like Karstens that were back-end prospects to begin with.

      Since then, though, I agree that they’ve produced a fair number of pitchers. Relievers as well as starters.

    • mike

      the issue is value – would Montero bring the same value in return after this year, in addition to the value he would have added in the lineup this year?

    • vin

      Not all starters, but after quickly eyeballing mlbdepthcharts.com…

      Alfredo Aceves
      Mark Melancon
      Jose Quintana* *=(in minors, but on 40 man)
      Zach McAllister*
      Phil Coke
      Hector Noesi
      Arodys Vizcaino (dl)
      Mike Dunn
      Randy Choate
      Ramon Ramirez
      Jose Contreras (if you want to count him)
      Tyler Clippard
      Chien-Ming Wang (dl)
      Andrew Brackman*
      Jon Axford
      Jeff Karstens (dl)
      Jose Veras (acquired as a minor leaguer)
      Dan McCutchen*
      Jake Westbrook (acquired as a minor leaguer)
      Ian Kennedy
      Ted Lilly (acquired as a minor leaguer)
      George Kontos*

      • Robinson Tilapia

        That is a hell of a lot of big league pitchers.

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

          Is it? Not arguing but honestly wondering. Do other teams average around the same number? Twice as many? Half as much?

          You may be right. I just can’t say.

          • .zip file

            The other thing is there are not many starters on that list.

  • Ted Nelson

    Well said, Mike.

    In terms of blame… can we stop the false narratives about poor little Michael Pineda not being able to handle a little competition or a little pressure? He’s a big boy who not only made it all the way through the minors, but also has had MLB success. Baseless speculation about how some blog posts about his velocity or the org informing him of the obvious with a rotation spot is annoying.

    • Ted Nelson

      And in terms of “not being able to develop pitchers.” It’s pretty common. How many top pitching prospects, say top 100 prospects, actually have much MLB success?

    • mike

      Ill go further – the disrespect with which these young pitchers show to their team is an indictment of both themselves and of the Yanks organization.

      when these young guys (Hughes, Joba, Pineda) come in out of shape as pro athletes, or are immature ( Joba, IPK ), its because the organization is not strong enough to impose its will on these guys.

      if any of those guys feared for their job, they would be in tip-top shape for spring training- look at Colon last year, or Swish looking for a payday.

      Instead, by being weak, the organization is only hurting itself – and that starts from the top, but ultimately resides with the charater and maturity of the person

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Wait … did you just use Colon as an example of a guy who showed up to camp in top shape?

        • CP

          He was in top shape.

          That shape was round.

          • .zip file

            Shaped like a top.

      • Ted Nelson

        Have to disagree with you. I was specifically agreeing with Mike’s assertion that we stop placing blame about things we’re largely ignorant on. (Of course, Mike doesn’t really take his own advice.) Not saying let’s throw blame around with no real evidence.

        How you concluded that the Yankees organization is weak, I have no idea. It doesn’t follow logically from the evidence you present.

        20 year olds being immature… that’s life. Universal.
        The out of shape thing, that bugs me. However, they can’t babysit these guys.
        Contract years providing better performance has been disproven as far as I know.
        Colon was always a very good P, his shoulder just fell apart. He got it repaired. He became a very good P again.
        Swisher’s wOBA is lower than in 2010 so far, and overall he’s been replacement level. He has made many, many times more money than the P prospects you mention… so if he’s looking for a payday you had better bet they were too.
        If prospects with no track records feel they have MLB jobs locked up, they’re idiots. If they have half a brain they know they have a ton to prove.

  • craig

    Labrums aren’t the death sentence they once were. Clemens in ’85, Schilling in ’95 and Carpenter in ’02 all had labral surgery and then went on to the best years of their careers. Pineda didn’t hurt the capsule, which seems to be the worst thing you could do.

    From the research I’ve done, it seems like the guys who had the best recoveries were all big guys, who threw hard and had the injury while they were under 25. This certainly doesn’t guarantee Pineda will come back, but it should bring some people off the ledge and help people realize this:

    Montero may never be a catcher and he isn’t knocking the cover off the ball so far.

    Noesi has a 9.49 ERA.

    Campos looks tremendous in Charleston.

    SSS for sure, but a lot can change with this trade and with these players over the next year, two or three. I think everybody should calm down and hope Pineda recovers. This could have happened to any pitcher at any time…TINSTAAP. There is still more than a sliver of hope this works out well for the Yankees.

    • GAyankee

      Thanks for the info…I was too lazy to do my own research. My wife had this surgery twice – first with a scope and the second time they cut her open. Her recovery the second time has been much better. The only reason they had to do it twice was because the contrast MRI the first time did not show all of the damage. Hopefully getting the MRI done twice gave the Docs the full view of the damage and they can fix it the first time. If Pineda works hard and doesn’t have any set backs he will be back pitching in full strength May 2013. Of course my wife doesn’t hurl a baseball for a living but she is back to 100%.

  • steve s

    I’ve read every RAB thread the last 2 days and 4 local newspaper columns on Pineda today. What Mike wrote above was the BEST thing I read about the situation. It was heart-felt, intelligent and summed up what happened in a cogent effective way. The last line Mike wrote was as good, literary, poetic and quoteable as it gets in blog world. Great job Mike!

    • Slugger27

      …. and thats exactly why mike would never make it writing for a big newspaper. too reasonable and level headed. after all, thats the last thing a dying breed needs.

  • chas131

    Not much mention of Banuelos as an alternative for the rotation this year. What gives?

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Greg

    I was under the impression that if he was in the minor leagues this year, we get him for 5 more years after this year. Why can’t the Yankees just keep him in the minor leagues and retain that 5th year?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Can’t send him to the minors if he’s hurt. The union will file a grievance (and win) because the team would be screwing him out of service time.

      • Gonzo

        If Jair Jurgens “get’s hurt” in the minors, does that count as MLB time if he’s on the 60 day DL?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          If he goes on the minor league DL, no. The 60-day DL would require calling him up first, so yes. If he gets hurt in his next start, the union will still file a grievance claiming the team knew it was coming. Same thing that happened with Glen Perkins.

  • Bonnie Parker

    Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to send Phil down to AAA. They sent Nova down last year to work on his slider and he came back better. Send Phil down there and tell him you’re not coming back kid until you can get major league hitters out. No more 88 mph right down the middle to Beltre after you got ahead of him 0-2. Work on throwing your breaking balls in the dirt.

    • Kosmo

      You mean get minor league hitters out. He would have to prove he can put Triple A hitters away before he´s recalled.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Hughes needs to work on his secondary pitches in an environment where he’s not killing the Yankees chances of winning and killing the bullpen. AAA seems like the logical spot for him unless they wave the white flag and stick him in the bullpen until he walks in 2 years.

      My vote would be AAA as a starter once Pettitte gets back.

    • Ted Nelson


    • Robinson Tilapia

      Agreed as well.

    • DM

      Me too. Whether it’s at AAA or in the bigs, he should keep starting. If you do the bullpen thing again, you’ll have a 4+mil arb award for a reliever. Also, I think his trade value is damaged more by being in the pen than staying a f/t starter. A wake up call would be good for him, and since he has maintained his stuff thus far, I’m sure he could get on a good confidence building roll in AAA.

    • Rookie


  • Gonzo

    I’m late to this, but as far as a fall guy is concerned, why not Nardi Contreras?

    He’s been the one behind pitch counts, Joba Rules, and pulling Hughes’ slider coming out of High School. Not saying they are all to blame, but it’s not clear that any of these helped develop or protect young pitchers for the Yankees.

    That’s only what we know he’s been in control of during his tenure. We are not sure how much else he recommended. The next logical step is that he helped decide Hughes’ innings count that had huge swings in recent years. That’s just a plain old guess though. Only those in the FO know what else.

    My vote is blame Canada and Nardi.

    • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

      FYI, The Yanks acquired in Pineda in a trade.

      • Gonzo

        2 things. He makes a decent fall guy. I have no idea how he fits in with Pineda and neither do you. I never said he was to blame for Pineda did I.

        • Ted Nelson

          Uh… as much as I hate to side with Rainbow Dufus… yeah, you did imply that he’s to blame for Pineda. This is a thread specifically about Pineda and you suggested Nardi as a fall guy.

          If you have no idea what he does, why would you call for the man to lose his job?

          • Gonzo

            It’s just like any corporation. You think a CEO or Chairman wants to be the fall guy for something big. Rightly or wrongly, he has to assign blame to someone big enough to make a statement but not high enough to connect it to him.

            This has nothing to do with who is actually to blame for Pineda. This is just the old, “Let’s blame the Company Controller for this f’d up accounting because the board won’t be happy with a Staff Accountant’s head.”

            I mentioned the other things because as far as the mainstream media is concerned they don’t know much about Nardi. The things they do know about him are not knockout wins, so they kill two birds with one stone. That is, they can blame him, again rightly or wrongly, for the failures in pitcher developments since 2005. The media is sated with Cashman’s actions and has a reason to turn the page on the young pitcher development failures even if they have nothing to do with anything mentioned.

            It’s all about the story they are sending out. You guys are reading this all wrong. However, if you guys want a full story, that I can’t give you since I am not in the FO know, they can just say that the changeup that Nardi was teaching him was too aggressive or something like that even if Nardi wasn’t involved in teaching him that grip. Etc…

            You guys inferred, I did not imply. I specifically said “Fall Guy” not person of blame. Fall Guy implies that he is the scapegoat. I’m sorry if you have a different definition.

            • Ted Nelson

              Or like any well run corporation you analyze what actually happened and fix any problems.

              As far as we know Nardi had absolutely nothing to do with Pineda… so your theory that Nardi could be the fall guy strikes at least 3 guys who have commented as odd. So this is the old, lets blame someone in IT for a problem in accounting… which isn’t old because it doesn’t make sense. It will not satisfy the media or the fans for someone unrelated to the Pineda situation to get fired over the Pineda situation. In all likelihood it would infuriate people.

              No. You implied it. Why are you firing Nardi as a fall guy for Pineda if he has nothing to do with Pineda? What sense does that make?

              • Gonzo

                I said that only the FO knows for sure. I never implied that he was to blame for Pineda only that he made a decent enough fall guy/scapegoat.

                Since we don’t know what his decisions or recommendations are beyond the three I mentioned, I never implied he was to blame for Pineda. I simply pointed out that his decisions that are public aren’t enough to save him in a the public arena.

                You inferred that I said he was to blame for Pineda. Why would I refer to Nardi at a “fall guy” if I thought he was to blame? Fall guy to me means scapegoat, and I think we have a common understanding of the word scapegoat. Wouldn’t I just say it’s his fault if I thought that was the case explicitly?

                You disagree with that opinion that he makes a decent fall guy/scapegoat and pointed out some valid points why. My point is that if the heat from Hal (aka the board in my company analogy) for someone’s head is too much for Cashman, he will be forced to take measures beyond just “finding and fixing” the problem. Also, this might be the case that there is no problem and there is nothing to fix which is entirely possible. This may not satisfy Hal or others in the FO. I understand if you disagree. That’s fine.

                For me, I believe that Nardi is involved in pitching, so I think he is in the same department as the problem came to be. I think firing a hitting instructor would be more like firing a an IT guy if there is a problem with finances. Besides, isn’t the lack of development of MLB starting pitching the reason they had to trade for Pineda in the first place? Isn’t that what Nardi is in charge of? developing minor league pitchers into MLB pitchers?

    • Slugger27

      what does nardi have to do with pineda?

      • Gonzo

        See above.

  • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

    Pineda is a victim of the team because he was out of shape and they wanted him to compete.
    Just like Montero is a victim for being bored and not working hard at AAA.

    Am I doing it right?

    • Slugger27

      not sure i follow what youre saying… who feels sorry for montero right now and why are you labeling him “victim”

    • JobaWockeeZ

      No Montero is in a middle of a smear campaign since he left.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Cherry-pick what one or two guys said which you didn’t like. Generalize it to everyone you don’t agree with. Complain that those you disagree with do the same thing you’re doing right now.

      Am I doing it right?

      • Ted Nelson

        Trollin ain’t easy…

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Some guys are good at it. Ironically, the ones who attempt it the most are actually pretty bad at it. The line gets crossed when you want so badly to be taken seriously as a real commenter.

          Teddy’s a good troll. Drops a one-liner, misspells the manager’s name every time, leaves.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Well written article.

  • LK

    I can remember two times in recent history when people were saying that the Yankees had too much pitching.

    The first is the summer of 2010, when the Montero-for-Lee failed trade broke, and many said that the Yankees didn’t need Lee. If you recall, that was when our CC/Hughes/Pettitte/Burnett (lol)/Vazquez (LOL) rotation was rolling. Right on cue, Burnett and Vazquez imploded, Hughes dropped off considerably, and Pettitte got hurt.

    The other time, of course, was when they brought Pettitte back this spring training, and lots of people started wringing their hands about how they had 6 starters already and Phelps, Warren, Mitchell, etc. were never going to get a chance.

    Cliches tend to become cliches for a reason. You can never, ever, EVER have too much pitching. It is not possible.

    If the 189M cap was a pseudo-requirement before, it is now more or less a pipedream, unless Hal is willing to roll the dice that support for the team will not wane as its quality declines.

    Do whatever it takes to sign Hamels this offseason. Hell, sign Greinke too. If we throw enough ace-caliber arms at the wall, eventually a couple have to stick, right?

  • wes


    • craig


  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Forgive me if I’m repeating something already posted but while this can’t be entirely blamed on Cashman, he does bear some of the blame given his absolutely shitty record of acquiring pitching and this is now twice in 2 years he acquired a pitcher who didn’t make it out of spring training.

    That being said, the one almost sure thing after this season is Cole Hamels and the $189 budget be damned, unless Banuelos and Betances pitch like beasts in AAA this year, they’re gonna need to back up the money truck for him.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      I agree. Simply every facet of pitching needs a revamp here. I can get failing on pitching prospects but the Joba and Hughes mismanagement is nothing short of a debacle. It’s telling the guys they don’t have faith in, that don’t have an “elaborate” plan for the future like Nova succeed the most.

      And then there’s the epic fail FA starters that had no business being on the team. Yes they got CC but honestly does it take a genius to sign an elite talent like CC especially when you have blank checks?

      I’ll give them credit for making cheap relief pitching. That’s handled well.

      • Manny’s BanWagon

        Hamels is in the same category as CC.

        Elite stuff, durable and young, playoff tested plus I love adding a dominant lefty for YS3.

        Greinke is the only other pitcher worth exploring but I don’t know if he can handle the pressure of NYC and for that kind of investment, you have to be pretty damn certain you’re not bringing in Ed Whitson II.

      • .zip file

        Overhaul every facet except the bullpen. They’ve done a very good job with that.

    • aluis

      If Cole hits the market, he will be a Dogder for sure!

      • Rookie

        Seems logical.

        • Rookie

          So he’ll probably wind up in Kansas City — where Ozzie Guillen will be the manager.

  • tbord

    What makes this trade so inexcusable to me is the absolute void of talent in the high minors. Tack on Joba C’s desire to join the circus, and you’ve got one hell of a group of bean counters in the front office watching over things. It’s not a matter of blame, it’s a matter of oversight, especially when you have the biggest bankroll. Kudos to Jack Z. for pulling one over on the Yanks. In spite of his public denials, I believe he knew damn well to dump Pineda when he did. Hal has got to be fuming.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      You’re blaming the franchise for something they began to actually pay real attention to in the middle part of the last decade. I’m sorry, but this takes time. That talent would have had to have been drafted 3-4 years ago.

  • mt

    I supported the trade since Yanks felt Montero did not have a position. Where I think Yanks made mistake is giving up on Montero catching so quickly. They could have had him catch Sabathia and Nova (mainly)this year as back-up and take their lumps – why is it OK to take their lumps with Phil Hughes every five days but not Monetro struggling behind plate? (Also they ended up trading AJs wild pitches so it would not have been as bad.)

    One development (that I mentioned in after-game thread) that concerns me is that we will have to overpay for Russell Martin or Miguel Montero now and we will then less able to keep 2 out of 3 (Swisher, Grandy, Cano) and stay under $189 million. I think many of the projected $189 million budgets had someone like Romine penciled in as catcher (with a low-cost Pineda as starter #2) – not so sure about that anymore.

    I still have an issue that they never tried Montero as catcher in a limited role. Just like we say Pineda is 23 so is Montero (actually 22, I think) – do we completely discount possibility of improving or developing defense befoore giving up on a cost-controlled, possibly elite bat (I saw some quotes from Miguel Cabrera saying he wished he had had the bat control that Montero has at the same age)

    Evein if Montero’s defense was below average, couldn’t his bat more than offset that? Also this year we are talking about sending “bad defense” Nunez to possibly try outfield or we say we should be patient with his “bad defense” as 2nd/3rd/short back-up but there was no way to be patient through Montero’s “bad defense”?

    On a related note, fans think that now that Pineda is hurt Yanks will treat $189 million budget as moot and now go after Hamels – I don’t think so.

    • Ted Nelson

      I believe that they can re-sign Martin to a reasonable deal (say $8-10 mm per) and still pay 2 of 3 under $189 mm… and of course there’s no saying for sure that we want them to pay 2 of 3. All three are getting into the 30s and might not be worth what they can command on the open market. Stop-gaps to prospects or trading prospects for the next Swisher/Granderson might be more ideal, granted the right circumstances have to arise.

      That’s assuming they can field a cheap rotation after CC, though, which is a lot more in question now then entering the season.

      “Also this year we are talking about sending “bad defense” Nunez to possibly try outfield or we say we should be patient with his “bad defense” as 2nd/3rd/short back-up but there was no way to be patient through Montero’s “bad defense”?”

      I think it was the Braves who said that, not the Yankees.

      I assume it’s because no one offered what the Yankees considered a future ace for Nunez. Their values were different, and trading Nunez would have been selling low if they Yankees felt he’d improve. If the Braves offered, say, Teheran for Nunez I’m willing to bet he’s a Brave right now. (Also, it’s possible they believed that Montero lacked the agility to C, something you can’t overcome. Nunez has good range, and needs to overcome mental issues that won’t be easy to overcome but are possible to overcome.)

      • mt

        Good points – still feel that Yanks’s (and other teams’) definitive assessments that one might never be able to get nore “fill in the blank” (you used agility in your example) might be over done when players are so young.

        Yes, you are right re-signing 2 of 3 that are all past 30 might not be good anyway. I think they should let Swisher go, move Gardner to center; re-sign Grandy and move him to right and trade ptching for a young outfielder to play left (I love Parra of Dbacks). Try to re-sign Cano but if he goes for the Boras type record contract let him go (unfortunately). Not sure how we replace – maybe we sign M Montero to catch and sign a defense first second baseman.

        These comments above just show how bereft our system is of any types of offensive position players for the next two years to plug in (maybe Romine was closest but who knows with him anymore.) Even though Pineda had near ace stuff, Yanks did have other possible subtitutes or approximnate comparables (not as good, but maybve 70-80%) in pitching (Nova, Hughes, Betances, Banuelos,Phelps) while Jesus Montero had no similarities or near-comparables in Yankee system. Hopefully our young pitching can thrive enough to be traded or graduate to Yanks.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, Jesus was their best high level position player by a long shot.

          There is some hope, though. I also have no idea what to expect from Romine’s back, but he’s a good prospect and injuries happen. Same with Adams, who might be an MLB ready starting 2B at this point with no injuries. Besides those two Mustelier, CoJo, Laird, slumping Cervelli… those are probably their best hopes for 2013 help. Not terrible. Guys who could plug bench holes and showcase themselves for larger roles.

          Plus Nunez is already providing depth on the MLB team.

      • aluis

        have you Martin lately? $8-10 mm per seems rather generous.

        • Ted Nelson

          Some people assume the Yadier Molina contract will inflate his value. I have no idea.

          It’s 16 games, but his numbers are respectable overall.

  • Jeff

    Come on Mike, go ahead and name who you blame, you know you want to. If you’re going to pitch a fit and cry like a 4 year old who didn’t get the foul ball then do it all the way. Stomp those feet, shake your fist, call for the Yankees to fire the whole front office, the medical staff, Girardi. How dare they trade my precious Montero? How dare they ask Pineda to compete? Aaaargghhhh!

    Feel better?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      That’s not what he said but don’t let me stop you.

  • http://wtgnyc.blogspot.com WFAN Caller

    Hey Guys, first time long time…

    So, why does everyone care so much about Pineda, anyway? Yanks are signing Cole Hamels and Mike Napoli, and then trading Gardner and Betances to LA for Kershaw. They will probably also trade Teixeira to LAA for Trumbo, keep Trumbo at 3rd (have him workout extensively at 3B over the winter so he wins a Gold Glove), move A-Rod to 1B, Jeter to RF, trade Adam Warren, DJ Mitchell and David Adams for Tulo, and then resign Swisher to DH. Also, Mason Williams will be ready by September so call him up and slot him in at LF for 2013 (will probably be a 25/25 guy and win ROTY)

    Jeter – RF
    Granderson – CF
    Tulowitzki – SS
    Cano – 2B
    Napoli – C
    A-Rod – 1B
    Trumbo – 3B
    Swisher – DH
    Mason Williams – LF

    1. CC Sabathia
    2. Cole Hamels
    3. Clayton Kershaw
    4. Michael Pineda
    5. Manny Banuelos

    Swing Man – Ivan Nova
    Setup – Joba
    Closer – Robo-Cop


    (hangs up abruptly)

    • The Guns of Navarone

      Closer – Robo-Cop

      I laughed.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Robocop out 4-6 months with busted lugnut.

      • Chris

        Dam metric system. It will take at least 4 more weeks to get the correct metric wrench to fix him.

  • Vic

    Issues of blame aside, this is a long-term toxic trade. I have the same feeling I had when Fred McGriff was traded. It’s very hard for organizations to recover from these things. They haunt.
    BTW, it’s clear that Montero will catch for them. Apparently he wasn’t up to our defensive catching standards. Someone will have to tell me what those are.

    • http://wtgnyc.blogspot.com WFAN Caller

      Yeah, I remember the day the Yanks traded Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps. I cried into my TV Guide that featured the cast of “Wings” on the cover.

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      Montero could not carry Jorge’s…..

      The label stuck and there was no escaping it.

      SWB was lucky to win a game with Montero catching. I mean 20 pbs a game and 10 sbs by the opposition is hard to overcome.


  • SMK

    Here’s Brian “I Fear No Reprisals” Cashman this morning:


  • Chris A

    Fireabe Offense??? You are delusional… I didn’t know GM’s were supposed to be able predict future injuries, with that being the case Cashman should have been fired years ago, I mean every player he’s acquired has at least missed a game or two. How dare he acquire players that get hurt, he should have been able to use his crystal ball and avoided them! Give me a break.

    • Kuck Fruk

      Maybe you didn’t notice what category this is in: Rants.

      Let the man have his rant.

      • Chris A

        Then let me have mine, I wasn’t aware that ranting meant you were allowed to post something devoid of all rationality

        • Rock

          Thats the whole point of a rant.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    In light of the recent events I believe “Monterowasnotdinero” to be the handle of choice.


    • Midland TX

      How bout “Pinedaisfinida”?

      • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

        Well played Mauer.

        Better than “SeeyaledaPineda”

        • Rookie

          I think both are first rate.

  • Greg

    Looks like I might have to bring out the list again.

  • Rookie

    I’m not saying who we should blame, if anyone. But I do find it fascinating that so far this year (and granted, it’s still very early) the Mets have twice as many quality starts from their starting pitchers as we do.

    And would you believe that the Mets have three starting pitchers with ERAs of 3.00 or less whereas the Yankees have exactly ONE starting pitcher with an ERA below 4.38?

  • Midland TX

    Relax, the Mets team doctor is doing the operation. I’m sure everything will turn out fine.

  • Fin

    Man, this is such a huge disappointment. I feel really bad for Pineda and think the trade was a bigger disaster for him than for the Yankees. He got thrown off his schedule and there seemed to be a lack of cooridination and communication between him and the Yankees when the trade was made. He was then out of shape and behind schedule and the Yankees seemed to become aware of this late in the game. They then forced him to overthrow to keep his spot, because clearly with guys like Hughes and Garcia in the rotation you dont just hand a rotation spot to someone of Pineda’s ability. Then on that fateful day, he overthrew in an effort to keep his spot, the rest is history. I have a very hard time not laying this at the Yankees feet. I have basically been a Cashman supporter, but I wouldnt mind seeing him get canned for this.

    He handled Pineda like shit from day one. Negative comments in the media to not knowing what the hell the guy did in the offseason, and what program he was on, until it was too late.

    That being said. It seems to me his career as a big time pitcher is most likely over. The odds are the Yankees get back a lesser version of Pineda who has decreased velocity and/or different injuries and spends his time on and off the DL. Its really a damn shame.

  • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa

    I heard that Pineda was out for the season and I wanted to brutally murder Cashman. Obviously he could not have seen this coming, but I really thought Montero was a valuable player for the Yankees to keep. He could take some strain off Russ Martin and also he would take away the need for Ibanez, Jones, or Chavez. Now Pineda is out for the season and who knows whether he will perform at all after this. Obviously the pitching situation would be the same with Montero here, but at least there would be some benefit. RIght now the Yankees don’t have Montero OR Pineda. They could have had Montero INSTEAD of Pineda.

  • bpdelia

    Mike that was well said and exactly what people,like ted and I said the whole time. Thank you for the reasonable post and not dedaulting to “crush the trolls” mode.

    Imo nobody should be fired. I think making him compete was assinine, I think not stopping him after start 3 and moving him to the back field to quietly get in shape was assinine. Still this has been, the best team in baseball on this gms watch. Do I always agree with him? No. does he, make mistakes imo? Yes. Do I know for a fact that someone can do better?no. Firing him would be a george move. It would be, pointless. It is what it is and it, blows.

    We can only hope now……
    Oh yeah and they can have joba rehab as a fucking starter. Never to late to right a CLEAR AND OBVIOUS BLUNDER.

    Anyway, bezt thing you’ve written, about pineda all year. Good job.

  • Ppiddy

    Wow, after reading Mike and these comments it’s enough to drive any Yankee fan to jump off a bridge.

    It sucks but hopefully Pineda can be back in a year and regain his form. Didn’t we think Cone’s career was possibly over when he went down with an aneurysm? I remember the fans and the press freaking out and predicting the end of the world. I was at his comeback game at Oakland Stadium when he pitched a no-hitter through seven innings and it was glorious to watch. And we know how great he was after that.

    Of course, an anterior labral tear and an aneurysm are two different things but the reaction seems to be the same. Plus, I thought Pineda’s recovery seems hopeful because it’s not rotator cuff?

    Besides what if Jose Campos ends up being better than Pineda AND, ahem, Montero? After the trade, some baseball “experts” thought the Yankees made a steal because of the added acquisition of Campos. So we have to wait a few years. Big deal. It might be worth the wait. The bottom line is to NOT PANIC and trade Campos away this year or any year in the future.

    • Rookie

      I agree with you Ppdiddy. I have no idea what kind of career Pineda is likely to have after this procedure. But it’s not the end of the world for us. As others have said, it obviously sucks for Pineda.

      I think there’s good news and bad news.

      The good news: We have lots of depth. And more likely than not, we’ll still win the Eastern Division.

      The bad news: It doesn’t seem like we have a lot of QUALITY depth. And that doesn’t seem to bode well for the post season.

      But I guess we already knew that. It’s just that the season so far has been a reminder of that fact and driven it home in a painfully nauseating fashion.

      • Rookie

        Correction: What I was trying to say was:

        (1) It’s not as bad as it looks right now for Yankee pitching — because there’s so much starting depth in their rotation on the big club and in the minors that, despite how bad it seems almost everyone is pitching right now, they’ll get four or five very satisfactory pitchers to man the big league club and even perform long man services in the bullpen.

        (2) I said that we didn’t have an abundance of “quality starters”. What I was thinking and meant to say is that I don’t count an abundance of #1/ace-type starters on the club or on the immediate horizon — unlike Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, the Angels, and arguably Texas and Boston, to name a few.

        Between Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, and Nova, and whomever might rise to the occasion from the not-so-short list of remaining names on our major and minor league roster, we definitely have far more than our share of quality starters. But aside from Sabathia, I just don’t see any starters that one could reasonably expect to be a #1 starter today. In the future? Maybe…

        But again, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it looks right now. Given the construction of our roster, I think we’ll be fine in the regular season. But I don’t like our chances once we reach the post season without multiple aces on our club — unless guys like Kuroda, Pettitte, and Nova can rise to the occasion and pitch like #1/ace-types. And while that could happen, of course, I don’t think it’s the way to bet.


  • jayd808

    “When you tell the kid he needs to compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training one year after he made the All-Star Team, you can’t be surprised when you find out he’s been hiding an injury.”

    I don’t get this at all. Where is your evidence of Pineda “hiding an injury?” We have learned here and elsewhere that they only became truly aware of his condition following a strength test on his last day of throwing.

    You make stuff up, Mike, to fit your view of events. It’s childish and condemning you to a backwater sports reporting. Grow up. You work for a good site but you are third rate, unlike Joe and Ben who channel their love of Yankee fandom in such a different way. Learn from them. Take a couple weeks off, why don’t you.

  • Mike

    “I just don’t know who and neither do you.”

    Of course we do and you do too. The guy responsible for the trade should be fired, you can’t have a GM making so many “mistakes” and not being fired, after all Pineda had been in the DL for two stints in the minor leagues.

    Add Pineda to a long list of stupid non-sense moves, because it was cheaper and benefited the Yankees more to:
    a) Keep Montero as DH/Catcher;
    b) Sign Kuroda, and either Oswalt or Garland;
    c) Use Noesi in the rotation if Hughes/García/Nova were not up to par.

    Instead they:
    a) signed Martin to a BIG contract (more $ than what Oswalt asked for) and is not producing and don’t have a replacement.
    b) now need to either sign another pitcher or use a non proven one from their minor leagues.

    Add Pineda to the ever expanding list:
    Kevin Brown
    Carl Pavano
    Jeff Weaver
    Randy Johnson
    Javier Vázquez
    I am gonna add Esteban Loaiza though he received one opportunity (like Osuna/Acevedo/Aceves/Karim Garcia/every other mexican signed by the NYY).
    again Javier Vázquez
    Kei Igawa
    AJ Burnett
    Chad Gaudin
    Sergio Mitre (well, this one is on Joe Girardi, since Mitre was his favorite pitcher since their Marlins years)
    Dustin Moseley

  • Mike

    As for Montero… it wasn’t really a surprise the Yankees were looking to trade him….

    Who was the last AAA position player to be named “the best minor leaguer in the NYY system” (lets say, named by Baseball America) to play a full season with the Yankees the next year?

  • Curt

    I think it was a great trade.

  • Jay

    The other thing not being talked about here is the yankees have a lot of catching depth in their minor league system. There are people who believe Gary Sanchez has a bat that can be just as special as Montero’s with a much better chance of defensively staying behind the plate. The yankees probably looked at the current catching situation, were content with Martin as a cheap cost effective solution for now, Pineda being the same for a rotation that sorely needed the help and saw Sanchez, Murphy, Romine coming down the pipes at catcher and figured it was a move they had to make.

    People are judging this trade way too quickly. Just because Montero successfully caught King Felix one night does not mean he is destined for a successful career as a catcher and will not end up a DH. If Pineda is able to come back healthy next year a without a drop in velocity, this will just be a blip in the long term. And to be honest looking on the bright side it gives Hughes some time to try to figure it out and get back to the starter he used to be. If he can get right given the extra rope he now has without looking over his shoulder at both Pettite and Pineda coming to force him out of the rotation, there is another young promising arm for the yankees. I have always been a Hughes fan.

    As a final note, scouts have been raving about Campos. The kid is young and raw, but don’t overlook him as a piece of this deal either. Give it time before everyone starts calling for heads over one season due to a move that was made with a long term view.