After Tanya broke the news here of Michael Pineda's DUI arrest yesterday, many of the esteemed readers of our community crashed the comments section, ripping the big righty to shreds for his blatant error in judgment. Deservedly so, too, as getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated is an incredibly stupid decision.
This news, on the heels of his poor performance during the spring and eventual shoulder surgery, got me thinking: Could Michael Pineda become as hated a figure in Yankees history as "American Idle" Carl Pavano was a few years ago (and presumably still is)?
More after the jump...
The first strike against Pineda was that he was acquired from the Seattle Mariners for home grown catching prospect Jesus Montero, who was shaping into a big fan favorite following his fantastic debut last September. While Pineda himself had no control over who the Yankees sent the Mariners in that deal, he'll forever be linked to Montero in the eyes of Yankee fans, and that immediately put him behind the 8-ball before he even threw his first pitch.
Pineda was dealt a second blow in the eyes of the fan base when his spring velocity was nowhere near the upper-90s gas he was throwing during his outstanding rookie year with the Mariners. The fact that he came into camp 20 pounds heavier than he was the previous year raised questions about his commitment and preparation, and only continued tarnishing his image. Following the diagnosis of his torn labrum, and subsequent surgery, the "damaged goods" label has certainly done him no favors in the eyes of fans.
The most recent blow may be the most damaging of all, as his DUI arrest only adds more fuel to the already raging fire that Pineda doesn't take his preparation seriously, and now also raises questions about his character. While the young righty has been good with the media thus far in his young career, and has said all the right things in his time with the Yankees, overcoming this latest personal setback is going to be extremely difficult.
Carl Pavano was a nightmare during his time with the Yankees. He was constantly injured, selfish, and not a very likable teammate. He was a man who was forced to the disabled list with a bruised buttocks, and refused to accept a minor league assignment while rehabbing in order to clear a space on the 40 man roster for someone who could actually help the team on the field. Pavano was a bad guy during his time in New York, and deserved all the boos that were rained down upon him by fans.
While Pineda has made some mistakes with the Yankees, much of the negative attention he has received has been out of his control. I think he's gotten a bit of a raw deal from fans since he arrived, and that is unfair to him. Hopefully he learns a lesson from this arrest, and makes better choices moving forward. This won't stop me from cheering loudly for him when he finally does make his return to the Yankees, nor will it stop me from holding out hope that he'll be a rotation anchor for years to come.
I believe I'm in the minority, though.
Michael Pineda has a lot to prove to the Yankees organization, and it's loyal fans. While the boos may not come until he reaches the Yankee Stadium mound, the doubt and criticism surrounding him leading up to that moment will be equally as damaging to what is left of his pride.
I'm not sure how Michael Pineda's career will progress from this point forward, but I know the hole he's in just got a little bit deeper, and the mountain a bit higher to climb. Carl Pavano is infamous for being one of the biggest busts in Yankees history, and it would be a real shame if a promising player like Pineda suffered a similar fate.