The 2016 Yankees have been a large disappointment, so instead of the annual discussion of who the team could acquire to improve at the deadline, conversation around this team has largely been about “selling.” Even if ownership won’t fully admit it, this is a bad team that should sell off whatever pieces they can in order to improve their future. But the question remains, can “Big Mike” provide any value to the Yankees at the deadline or are they better off holding on to him?
After coming over in a 2012 trade that sent then star prospect Jesus Montero to the Mariners, Pineda’s Yankee career did not begin until an uninspiring 2014. A shoulder injury lost him 2012 and 2013, and then he missed more time in 2014 with injuries plus a pine tar suspension. 2015 was the year he was going to put it together, but since a hot start to 2015 he’s been mostly a dud.
In his first ten starts of 2016, Pineda had worked his ERA up to a solid 6.92 and was the source of frustration among many fans who just no longer wanted to see him start anymore. In fact, many fans were calling for him to be pulled from the rotation or even sent to Triple-A as the Yankees actually still had an option on him until June 14th. His May 28th start was what brought his ERA up to 6.92 and the Yankees were running out of days to send him down and excuses to keep him in the Bronx.
Once the calendar flipped to June, however, Pineda has at least “turned it around.” In his 10 starts since, Pineda has a respectable 3.30 ERA. Aside from a pair of five-run starts to start July, Pineda hasn’t been nearly as bad as he was earlier and most recently pitched a seven inning, one run gem against the Astros on this past Monday. Now whether he’s truly begun to turn it around or he’s just in the middle of another random good stretch remains to be seen. But the Yankees might be wise to flip him during this hot stretch and potentially get some value rather than risk holding on to him and having him revert to his old self.
Pineda is under control through the end of 2017 and while the Yankees have no one in the rotation long-term, if anyone wanted to offer anything of value up for Pineda the Yankees shouldn’t pass up on any offer. While no official offers have been reported, as recently as last week it was reported that Pineda was garnering attention.
If the Marlins really wanted Pineda, I can’t fathom why the Yankees would be reluctant to move him. At this point, Pineda is Pineda. He’s a pitcher with high potential, but just can’t put it together for longer than stretches at a time. The Yankees may still want to bank on his potential, but they shouldn’t. If they haven’t been able to “unlock his potential” yet, there’s no reason to believe they can do it in the next year and a half. It might be to let another team take on this project. It’s not even about buying or selling at this point with Pineda. It’s just getting value out of something which has little left to offer.
I recently wrote about how the Pirates could take on a project pitcher like Pineda. It would be interesting to see if they could turn his career around like they did with AJ Burnett’s not too long ago. Outside of the Pirates and the Marlins, the Rangers are reportedly also in the hunt for some pitching to help solidify their rotation and could take a flyer on Pineda. Both the Pirates and the Rangers are said to have checked in on the Yankees other rotation project, Nathan Eovaldi, so if a trade for Eovaldi doesn’t work out, or if the Yankees decide to hold on to him, teams could set their sights on Pineda and hope for the best.
I mean who wouldn’t want this on their team?