For now, at least, it appears the Mariners got the better end of the deal.
Pineda was diagnosed with an anterior labral tear in his pitching shoulder on Wednesday, ending his season before he was able to make a single start in pinstripes. He will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, as first reported by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Pineda’s recovery is expected to take one year.
Cashman told Hoch that he did not believe the Mariners had any knowledge of an injury to Pineda and that the tear likely occurred in an extended spring game.
“It’s not what you want,” Yankees skipper Joe Girardi told the New York Times on Tuesday before the diagnosis. “We thought we were going to get a power pitcher that pitched very well and we believe we had a very huge upside, and right now we don’t have him and right now I can’t tell you when we’re going to get him. That part is disappointing.”
With a desperate need for starting rotation reinforcements and the highest payroll in Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees seemed like a logical suitor for heralded Japanese import Yu Darvish.
But instead of shelling out the $112 million it took to get Darvish to Texas, the Yankees instead chose to address their starting pitching deficiency with a two-pronged approach.
In a pair of moves at the start of free agency, the Yankees signed 37-year-old free agent righty Hiroki Kuroda and dealt catcher Jesus Montero and pitchers Jose Campos and Hector Noesi to Seattle for Pineda. Through 16 games, Pineda is batting .254 with two home runs and nine RBIs for the Mariners.
Last season Pineda compiled a 9-10 record in 28 starts for the Mariners, posting a 3.74 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 173 strikeouts in 171 innings. The 6-foot-7 righty averaged 94.5 miles per hour on his fastball last season but was topping out below that mark in spring training, as the New York Times reported. That led to concern about his arm and kept him out of the rotation to begin season.
With Pineda done, the Yankees will cross their fingers that Andy Pettitte can once again become a reliable back-of-the-rotation starter. Pettitte, who returned to New York after a one-year retirement, is currently pitching for Double-A Trenton. The Yankees hope to have him ready to join the rotation next month.
Can the Yankees contend in the American League East with that rotation? Will they need to make a trade this summer for another starting pitcher?