All baseball fans know that you live and die with your pitching. While the Yankees have had one of the best lineups in the game, they’ve also struggled with their rotation these last couple of years due to age, injury and simply some disappointing performance. In 2012, it looks like that’s about to change.
The Yankees made an impressive move on Friday by making a trade for the Mariner’s Michael Pineda. In his rookie campaign last season, the first time All-Star dominated the first half of the season before ending his year with a respectable 3.74 ERA. Pineda stands at 6’7”, 260 pounds and throws consistently near 100 mph with great control. Even Cy Young award winner, ‘King Felix,’ was impressed with the 22 year old last season, telling the media he doesn’t even need to coach him along or give him advice.
In fact, Pineda led all AL rookies in strikeouts (173) and WHIP (1.10) in 2011.
The trade won’t be announced until all involved players pass physicals, but with tremendous depth at catcher and DH, the Yankees were willing to give away NO. 6 ranked prospect Jesus Montero, who is also just 22 years old. He will provide a powerful bat in the middle of a Mariner’s lineup that has struggled to score runs the past couple of years.
In only 61 at bats last season, Montero hit .328 with 4 home runs for New York.
While Seattle also had to sacrifice giving up another pitching prospect in Jose Campos, the Mariners also receive a more matured right-hander from the Yankees in Hector Noesi.
In the long term, this could work out well for both teams. However in the short term, this is a much bigger trade for the Yankees because they are simply getting the best, most proven player in Pineda. There is a lot of risk taken here by Seattle, as there is anytime you trade for prospects. Montero looks solid, but he’s only had 61 professional at bats in ‘the show.’
But that’s not all Bronx fans. The Yankees have also reportedly inked a deal with Hiroki Kuroda on a one year term worth 10-11 million. While Kuroda is no ace, he’s always been a solid #3 or #4 in the rotation, sporting a 3.45 career ERA. He had his best season to date last year with the Dodgers, going 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA and 161 strikeouts.
Now with a rotation that already includes Sabathia, Hughes, Burnett, Nova and Garcia, the Yankees find themselves in a very good predicament heading into spring training next month: having too many quality pitchers.
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