Archive for Michael Pineda
Via Buster Olney: Michael Pineda was checked out by a doctor in New York today, then continued his throwing program at Yankee Stadium. Brian Cashman recently confirmed that the right-hander has been throwing off flat ground down in Tampa, and I assume today’s visit was a routine check-up.
Pineda, 23, had his arthroscopic shoulder surgery in New York back in May and has been to the city for a check-up at least one other time since then. Cashman said he doesn’t expect Pineda to return to the big league team until June and even then they aren’t count on him, they’ll treat whatever he gives them this year as a bonus. Either way, the fact that he came through the check-up fine and continued his throwing program is good news.
JW asks: Given that the Yankees truly appear committed to 2014 payroll plan, does the Michael Pineda trade look even worse in hindsight? In other words, it always seems like there are starters who can be had on one-year deals, but as we can see, even guys like Torii Hunter look to be in a position to command multi-year deals. In other words, for payroll management, the Yankees would have been better off with the relatively low-cost hitter under control instead of a pitcher.
I disagree with that, I think the exact opposite it is true. It seems to be much easier to find position players willing to take a one-year contracts than starting pitchers, or at least starting pitchers who can have a real impact. Let’s not go off memory though. With some help from the MLBTR Transaction Tracker, here’s a breakdown of one-year contracts by position over the last three years…
- Catchers: 31
- Corner Infielders: 29
- Middle Infielders: 32
- Outfielders/DHs: 63
- Starters: 50
- Relievers: 69
These are guaranteed contracts only, so no minor league deals. If you click the link and dig through the data, you’ll see that nearly all of the catchers were backups and that the vast majority of the starting pitchers were reclamation projects, guys like Erik Bedard (three one-year deals), Chien-Ming Wang (three), Ben Sheets (two), Bartolo Colon (two), Scott Olsen (two), Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer, so on and so forth. In fact, the best one-year deals given to starters these last three years went to Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte. It’s not all that close either. Feel free to look for yourself.
I didn’t like the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade because a) I (foolishly?) held out some hope that Montero could catch for at least two or three years before moving out from behind the plate, and b) I thought the Yankees needed the young bat. That said, it was easy to see why they made the trade. Ivan Nova was the team’s only other established starter aside from CC Sabathia, and he had one full season under his belt. Compared to what other young guys like Trevor Cahill and Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez were fetching in trades, the Yankees actually got a steal. That sounds hilarious in retrospect, but it was true at the time of the trade. Things have just gone horribly wrong since.
The Yankees need to add some offensive pieces at the moment, but their top four prospects are all position players. With Phil Hughes due to become a free agent after next season, Nova and David Phelps represent the team’s only two young and cost-controlled starters at the big league level, and Nova just had a terrible year while Phelps has eleven career starts to his credit. Pineda has been a non-factor at this point and I’ll continue to consider him one going forward until he actually gets on a mound. Outside of Kuroda and Pettitte, there are no starters available on one-year deals who are slam dunks to upgrade the rotation. There are plenty of hitters who could help on one-year pacts, however.
While speaking with reporters tonight, Brian Cashman mentioned that Michael Pineda has started throwing off flat ground as he rehabs from shoulder surgery. “He’s just flat ground throwing,” said the GM to Chad Jennings. ” I think it’s best for us to pretend he’s not even there and then have him sneak up on us. And I hope he does, but I’m not going to count on him. I don’t think that’s going to be fair … He’ll be ready when he’s ready, and we’ll be happy to take him. But to count on him would be wrong.”
A few weeks ago Cashman said the 23-year-old Pineda likely won’t be back until June of next season, which he reiterated tonight. The Yankees aren’t going to count on him and they shouldn’t; it was a major surgery and there’s some chance he may never be the same pitcher again. For at least next season, it’s best to proceed as if he’s a non-option all together and just treat anything he provides as a bonus. Regardless, it’s still very good news that he’s started throwing and his rehab is progressing.
Got six questions for you this week. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us any questions, comments, links, whatever. Someone actually sent us a note the other day saying we should start a premium cheese line called River Ave. Bleus, so yeah. Anything is welcome.
Patrick asks: I know Michael Pineda‘s out until at least June and will have to build arm strength and yadda yadda, but could I be optimistic about him because his surgery was arthroscopic? I’m not expecting much in 2013, but what about the following years?
The fact that Pineda’s shoulder only needed to be scoped rather than the traditional, cut-me-open type of incision is encouraging. It was also an anterior tear only, meaning just the front of his shoulder. The typical kiss of death labrum tear is usually all the way around, front and back. That said, don’t trick yourself into thinking this is not a significant injury. There’s a chance — I don’t know what it is, but it definitely exists — he’ll never again be the guy he was prior to the injury.
Anyway, I expect the Yankees to send Pineda back to Triple-A for a few weeks next season once his 30-day rehab window is up just to delay his free agency. They already lost a full year of control to the injury, so they might as well get that back at this point. I don’t think they’ll worry too much about his arbitration status (Super Two), just the free agency. I’m hoping Pineda can provide about 80-100 league average innings next year, which would make me feel better about his long-term outlook. If he shows the same mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider as he did pre-injury, there’s would be a lot of reasons to be optimistic about 2014 and beyond.
David asks: What is the point of “mutual options?” Seems to me that if the player has a good year he’ll decline his side, if he has a crappy year the team will decline their side. Do any current Yankees have mutual options on their contracts and what is likely to happen to them?
The only time I can remember both sides picking up their half of a mutual option was Jason Giambi and the Rockies last offseason. That’s it. Mutual options serve little purpose as far as retaining a player go, so teams typically use them to push some money onto next year’s payroll (in the form of buyouts). If a club is up against its payroll limit, mutual options create a little extra flexibility. I actually wrote an MLBTR post about these things two years ago because they suddenly started popping up everywhere. The Yankees currently do not have a player under contract with a mutual option, either for next year or any point in the future.
Anonymous asks: Saw on MLBTR that the Braves might decline the option on Brian McCann. I know he had shoulder surgery but do you see any interest from the Yankees? If so, what kind of contract do you see him getting?
Yeah, I think the Yankees would have definite interest in McCann if he hit the open market because he’s a left-handed hitter with power and patience. He was the best hitting catcher in baseball for a few years, at least until Joe Mauer got healthy and started going bonkers. The shoulder surgery is a major red flag however, especially since it might keep him on the shelf for the first few weeks of next season. If the Braves decline what is essentially a one-year, $12M deal for McCann, I’d be very worried about the state of his shoulder. It wouldn’t stop me from looking into signing him, but the review of his medicals would have to be very thorough. It’s the whole “what do they know that I don’t?” thing.
Mike asks: If the Yankees don’t re-sign Raul Ibanez/Andruw Jones for platoon DH how about trading for Victor Martinez? He’s got 2 years/ $25 million left on his deal, if the Tigers give him away (since with Miggy Cabrera and Prince Fielder they have no fit for him, and he’s coming off injury) and eat a little salary would you be in favor?
Martinez missed the entire season after tearing his ACL in an offseason workout, which somewhat prompted the Tigers to sign Fielder. I think they would have signed him anyway, but that doesn’t matter now. V-Mart has actually hit more homers (nine) at the new Yankee Stadium than any other visiting player, but that shouldn’t be the reason to acquire him.
I think the Tigers would eat some of the money to move him, but the problem is that Martinez is a first baseman and a DH only at this point. He hasn’t been a big league caliber catcher for about three years now, and I can’t imagine the knee injury helped his cause any. As much as I dislike it, the Yankees will continue to rotate their DH to rest their older players, which means acquiring a big money set DH probably isn’t a realistic option. Martinez definitely fits as a switch-hitter with patience, power, and contact skills though. I like the idea — obviously depends on how much money Detroit is willing to eat — but I don’t think the Yankees would go for it
John asks: How good is next year’s draft? If they get picks from Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, and Hiroki Kuroda and don’t surrender any via free agency, would it be a chance to get loads of fresh young high-end talent into the system? Also would they consider trading draft picks for players now like they do in NBA, etc?
I’ll answer the second question first: I love the idea of teams being able to trade draft picks but MLB does not allow it. Well, small market teams can trade their competitive balance picks, but that’s a crazy animal the Yankees won’t be involved in.
As for the actually draft class, it’s too early to know how strong it is. I’ve seen it written in a few places — by Keith Law, Baseball America, etc. — that his year’s draft is weaker than last year’s, but I feel like we hear that every year. Once the college and high school seasons open in the spring and guys start popping up because they’ve added velocity or a new pitch or learned how to hit a curveball, the quality of the draft class will change dramatically. I’ll stick with my default draft answer — there are always good players available regardless of round, it’s just up to the team to find them.
Jamal asks: The Yankees got 20-plus-HR seasons from their catcher, second baseman and center fielder – how rare of a feat is that?
My initial reaction when reading this question was that it probably doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s not some kind of historic feat. Maybe a team does it once every three or four years, something like that. Instead…
|1||2012||New York Yankees||AL||3||Robinson Cano / Curtis Granderson / Russell Martin|
|2||2010||Toronto Blue Jays||AL||3||John Buck / Aaron Hill / Vernon Wells|
|3||2003||Atlanta Braves||NL||3||Marcus Giles / Andruw Jones / Javy Lopez|
|4||1996||Baltimore Orioles||AL||3||Roberto Alomar / Brady Anderson / Chris Hoiles|
|5||1965||Milwaukee Braves||NL||3||Mack Jones / Gene Oliver / Joe Torre|
|6||1939||New York Yankees||AL||3||Bill Dickey / Joe DiMaggio / Joe Gordon|
|7||1938||New York Yankees||AL||3||Bill Dickey / Joe DiMaggio / Joe Gordon|
That’s it. Seven times in history. I only used a 50% playing time requirement as well (meaning the players had to play at least 50% of their games at the positions). Bump it up to 75% and those 1965 Braves disappear. A handful of teams get 20+ homers from two of those three positions each year, but getting them from all three is certainly a rare feat throughout history, even recently.
Joe Girardi spoke the other day about the Yankees getting power from non-traditional power positions like … well … center, second, and catcher, which is why they can carry a non-power guy like Brett Gardner in left. The old saying is that you build a team up the middle and the late-90s Yankees following that model perfectly, with elite players in center, at short, second, and once Jorge Posada took over, behind the plate as well. The Yankees still get a ton of production from their up the middle spots and it’s a big reason why they contend every year.
Via ESPN NY: Brian Cashman provided a brief update on injured right-hander Michael Pineda during a recent radio appearance. “We have to keep him off our radar for now,” said the GM. “We’re talking June of next year … the second half of next year.”
Pineda, 23, had surgery to repair a torn labrum on May 1st of this year and his target return date was one year out of surgery. The last real update we’ve had on his rehab progress came in mid-June (other than the DUI), when we heard he was on target to start throwing in mid-September. Frankly, it’s not all that surprising that his return will take a little longer than expected — it’s a major surgery and they’ll obviously be conservative. Either way, the Yankees would be wise to proceed under the assumption that Pineda will contribute nothing next year. Anything they get out of him is a bonus.
Via Dan Mangan, right-hander Michael Pineda was arrested for driving under the influence in Tampa early this morning. The 23-year-old has been rehabbing from his labrum surgery down at the team’s Spring Training complex all summer.
“(He) had a fixed gaze and his eyes were bloodshot, watery and glassy … I could smell a distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, and his speech was slurred,” said the arresting officer. There’s nothing really to add here, Pineda’s an idiot and deserves whatever punishment he gets. Driving drunk is about as inexcusable as it gets.
Via Bryan Hoch and Chad Jennings, doctors have told right-hander Michael Pineda that he can begin throwing in mid-September after having surgery to repair a tear in his labrum on May 1st. “The doctors say everything is great right now, so I’m continuing this plan,” said Pineda, who was at Yankee Stadium today after going for a checkup on the shoulder. “Now I’m just starting working on my exercises. I go to physical therapy every day. No throwing right now … Everything is great. I’m feeling great right now. I’m feeling much better.”
For what it’s worth, the various reporters say Pineda has lost weight and appears to be in better shape than he was in Spring Training. His arm is no longer in a sling and he’s headed back to Tampa tonight to continue his rehab. This is the first real update we’ve gotten since Pineda’s surgery, and so far it sounds like everything is going well.
Six questions and five answers this week. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything, mailbag questions or otherwise.
Jerome asks: With the Yankees starting to win a lot of games (and close ones at that) without David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, who should we credit for this? Does Joe Girardi‘s binder deserve some love? I’m not saying we’re better without D-Rob and Mo but will this help convince the Yankees to never again spend big bucks on bullpen help in the future?
Yeah, it’s funny how the binder jokes went away when Girardi mix-and-matched his bullpen to 16 wins in 20 games without Robertson or Mo. I’ve always been amazed at how every industry in the world uses available data to make informed decisions and progress forward, but in sports it’s frowned upon. The number of people that think relying on “gut feel” is a good thing is staggering.
Anyway, I wouldn’t hold my breath if you think the team’s recent ability to put together strong bullpens using internal options and the scrap heap will keep them away from the free agent market. They are the Yankees and will always spend on players. Maybe they won’t splurge to the extent to Rafael Soriano again, but I doubt the Pedro Felicianos and Damaso Martes are going to go away forever. There’s nothing wrong with taking a one-year flier on a guy like LaTroy Hawkins or Chan Ho Park or Luis Ayala each winter, but the multi-year commitments for less than elite relievers are what really irk me.
Anonymous asks: Would you still be interested in acquiring John Danks after this rough start he has had to the season, including injuries? I know you were pretty high on him as a trade target.
Danks was terrible early on this year — 5.70 ERA and 4.97 FIP in nine starts — and is currently on the DL with a shoulder strain. He’s expected back sometime later this month. I drove the Danks train this offseason, I’m a big fan of the guy and like his chances of improving into his age-27 season, plus I liked his left-handedness and the fit for Yankee Stadium. Obviously the shoulder problem changes that somewhat, but also his new contract extension — five years and $75M — changes things as well.
The new contract basically eliminated my interest. I liked the idea of getting Danks for one year (2012) and seeing how he handled the AL East and Yankee Stadium before committing long-term. Now they’d be locked in long-term right out of the chute, which could be problematic given the 2014 payroll plan. I still like Danks and think he’ll be very good going forward, but I don’t think he makes sense for the Yankees at this point. Not with that contract.
Miller asks: If the starters keep pitching effectively, will the Yankees go after another starter at the deadline? Will they have faith in Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova to carry them through the playoffs?
Yeah, I’m sure they’ll trust those two into the postseason. Remember, you only need four starters in October and the fourth starter will be marginalized, maybe three starts tops if you make a deep run and play five or six or seven games in each series. The Yankees have a strong front three with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda, so just one of those two — I’d go Nova and stick Hughes in the pen if the playoffs started today — needs to serve as the fourth starter.
The non-waiver trade deadline is still six or so weeks away and a whole lot can change between now and then. Injuries could pop up, guys could start stinking for no apparent reason, all sorts of stuff could force the Yankees to swing a deal for a starting pitcher. Things are going well right now and I wouldn’t expect rotation help to be all that high on the deadline shopping list at the moment.
D.R. asks: If Gardner is out for an extended period of time, what do you think of Jeff Francoeur as a trade target?
Peter asks: Jon Heyman reports that the Royals are putting Jeff Francoeur on the block. He’s a bit pricey for his production, but do you think he could be a fit for the Yanks to 1) fill in for Brett Gardner this year and 2) be a one-year stop-gap if they don’t re-sign Nick Swisher in 2013?
Frenchy is still only 28 years old and he’s under contract for $6M this year and $7.5M next season, so he’s not cheap. He had a very good season in 2011 (.346 wOBA and 117 wRC+) but has since reverted to his usual terrible self: 93 wRC+ in 2012 vs. 92 career. The two things Francoeur can do really well is hit left-handers (114 wRC+) and play defense (both just running down balls in the outfield as well as making throws). He also has a reputation as a great clubhouse guy, for what it’s worth. Frenchy is a classic underachiever in the sense that he should be so much better than he is; the talent is there for him to be a top-25 player in the game. The lack of plate discipline — not just not walking (5.0 BB%), I mean swinging at bad pitches and making weak contact — has been his downfall.
That said, Francoeur isn’t a terrible platoon option given his production, but he is given his salary. He’s being paid like an everyday guy and there’s no way the Yankees could run him out there for 500+ plate appearances. If he was making like, $2-3M or so, maybe it’s a different story as a one-year stopgap. He’s on the short-end of the platoon stick as the right-handed bat, so you’d still need a quality left-hander to make this thing work.
Rahul: Is there any update on the Michael Pineda injury? I actually forgot he is even a Yankee. I just haven’t even thought about the guy since maybe mid-May.
Pineda had his surgery as scheduled on May 1st, and Brian Cashman confirmed that everything went well that day. Based on the Twitter feeds of various Yankees’ farmhands, Pineda is currently in Tampa doing whatever he needs to do. I haven’t been able to find any kind of rehab timetable, but his arm may still be in a sling since we’re only six weeks out from surgery. I wouldn’t expect many updates at this point just because we’re less than two months into a year-long process.
I didn’t see the top half of the eighth inning in last night’s win because I was busy watching Johan Santana throw the first no-hitter in Mets history. Having grown up in a family full of Mets fans, it was pretty exciting. I have a bit of a soft spot for the Amazin’s though I never actively root for them like I did last night. It was a lot of fun and that’s what baseball is supposed to be all about.
As you know, Johan came back this season from major shoulder surgery. He tore the capsule in his left shoulder, the same injury that kept Chien-Ming Wang on the shelf for the better half of two seasons. It was a long road back and Santana deserves a ton of credit for getting back in time for Opening Day and throwing a career-high 134 pitches to finish off the no-no. The Cardinals went into the game leading the NL in AVG, OBP, and SLG, so he certainly earned it.
The Yankees are currently waiting for one of their own to return from a serious shoulder procedure, though it’s still kinda weird to consider Michael Pineda a member of the team given the zero meaningful innings he’s thrown in pinstripes. His shoulder injury was significant but not as significant as Johan’s, who had to have the joint cut open and fashioned back together. Pineda’s surgery was arthroscopic, just a scope. That doesn’t make it insignificant, but it’s better than having an incision.
Santana’s no-hitter and successful return from shoulder surgery don’t really mean anything as far as Pineda is concerned. The Yankees have invested a lot in the young right-hander — in terms of players, not necessarily money — and need him to become a big part of the future, but it’s very easy to feel like he’ll contribute nothing of substance to New York and that’s disappointing. Pineda is no more likely to make a full recovery today than he was yesterday, but Johan’s historic night was a nice little reminder that shoulder surgery is not always a career death sentence.
Yesterday, for the first time in 2012, and the first time as a member of the New York Yankees, Michael Pineda entered Yankee Stadium. His father also visited the Stadium for the first time, and under different circumstances he’d have been excited to see his son don the pinstripes. But we all know that won’t happen for another 11 months at the earliest. Pineda recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum, and he has a long road to recovery.
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti took the opportunity to ask Pineda a few questions about his injury and future. The whole thing is worth a quick read, but here are a select few quotes to get you going.
On when he started feeling pain in his shoulder: “I think the first time (I felt something was) my last start in spring training. I tried to throw hard and I felt pain in my shoulder.” He could play catch fine, but said it started to hurt more when he started throwing hard again.
On his reduced velocity this spring: “I didn’t focus on my velocity. I focused a little more on my changeup. I was so excited because I had a great changeup and great slider and my fastball was 90-94…I can throw my 97 in the middle of the season.”
There are other tidbits, such as how he felt after his 2011 season, his outlook for 2012, and his feelings on his former team coming to town this weekend. Again, the whole thing is worth a quick read. Here’s to wishing him a strong rehab and speedy recovery.