Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Michael Pineda is about to take the next step in his recovery from shoulder surgery. The Yankees announced that Pineda will start a 30-day rehab assignment on Saturday. With Andy Pettitte struggling with a bad back and Phil Hughes a likely candidate to throw to every hitter in this year's home run derby, Pineda could be the guy that stabilizes the rotation.
The much debated trade that sent the Yankees top hitting prospect, Jesus Montero and promising pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for Pineda and pitcher Jose Campos was completely in the Mariners favor last season. With the chance to get regular at-bats, Montero produced 15 home runs and 62 RBI in his first full season in the Majors. Meanwhile, Pineda ended up with shoulder surgery after having to leave a Spring Training game early. Campos was also shut down with a balky elbow.
This year the worm has turned. Montero was completely ineffective at the plate and behind it. The Mariners demoted him on May ?? While playing for Triple-A Tacoma Montero ruptured his left meniscus and will be out 4-6 weeks after surgery. The Yankees are cautiously optimistic that Pineda can join their rotation if he continues to throw consistently in the low-to-mid 90's. (They've already stated Pineda will not be used as a reliever.)
If Pineda is effective, the Yankees could do one of two things with Hughes. Either move the impending free agent at the trade deadline or move him to the bullpen where he excelled in 2009. The latter could also mean moving Joba Chamberlain, whose inconsistency could drive you crazy, to another team at the deadline (or before so I'll have less agida). I don't expect either Hughes or Chamberlain to be with the Yankees next season.
If things go as planned, it could also build towards next year's rotation which could be comprised of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, David Phelps, and Pineda, plus someone acquired through free agency or a trade. This notion is based on the assumption that Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda both retire.