Remember Michael Pineda?
For reference, Pineda was a former top pitching prospect of the Seattle Mariners who was traded to the New York Yankees in a rare “challenge” trade for top hitting prospect Jesus Montero back in early 2012. Since then, though, it’s been a rocky time for the big right-hander, as Pineda missed the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons (save some MiLB appearances) with a shoulder injury.
Now, however, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has reportedly speculated on Pineda’s role for 2014.
Cashman said Michael Pineda is healthy and will come to camp to compete for a spot in the rotation.
— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 10, 2013
Learning that Pineda is set to pitch with positive health (for now) in 2014 isn’t a shock, but for Cashman to say that he had to “compete” for a spot has been taken by some as a negative. I don’t see it that way, as there is absolutely no doubt that if Pineda is 100% “right”, he will be a member of the opening day staff.
In 2011 (as a 22-year-old), the 6-foot-5, 260-pound workhorse threw 171 innings of lights-out ball with the Mariners, putting up a 3.2 fWAR and striking out more than a batter per inning. That just scratches the surface of how electric he could be if the shoulder injury didn’t cost him any “stuff”, but unfortunately, we won’t know until he pitches effectively again.
The rotation battle for the Yankees should be very interesting this Spring, but it appears that we have another full-on candidate.