I had the privilege of attending Yankee Stadium yesterday to see if the New York Yankees could sweep a weekend series from the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the second time that I have gone to the “new” ballpark with my 11-year old son and I am gradually warming up to the surroundings. The game was anything but warm as the Rays were victorious by a score of 8-1, our only source of “amusement” being watching Brian McCann go down with the Golden Sombrero. For the uninitiated, that would be striking out four times in four at-bats in a single game. The contest was over in the first inning, thanks to the outing of one Michael Pineda.
The Pineda we saw yesterday is the Pineda we have seen pitch going on three seasons now. Tantalizing and unhittable at times but woefully inconsistent. Yesterday, he struck out Logan Forsythe on three pitches to lead off the game before inducing a quick groundout to Logan Morrison. After that, we saw a vastly different pitcher. Here is how the next six batters went: double, home run, single, double, home run, double. These weren’t your ordinary Yankee Stadium extra-base hits, either. These were rockets, particularly the first home run served up to Corey Dickerson. Before you knew it, the score was 5-0 and we could have left right then and there. In all, Pineda gave up seven runs on ten hits (four home runs) while striking out nine. Mind you, this was against the Tampa Bay Rays, who are not thought of as an offensive juggernaut.
The trouble you get with Pineda is you just don’t know which guy is going to show up. Yesterday, he was both dominant and terrible. He sports an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.33 to 1 during his Yankee career but he has also given up more than a hit per inning over the last two years. The 27-year old Pineda is a guy that has the ability to go deep into games, as he has shown in stretches but over the course of his time in New York, has averaged less than six innings per outing. I understand that the Yankees are doing their best to give Pineda as much rope as possible because the talent is there. However, at what point do they just admit enough is enough? He will entering his final year of arbitration in 2017. I’m not sure they will bring him back for another go-around if there is not more consistency. I’d rather take the $6 or $7 million dollars he will be scheduled to earn and use it on a low-cost veteran for a year.
Would I do the trade that brought Pineda here in the first place? Ten times out of ten the answer is yes. What he has given the Yankees is far more than what the Seattle Mariners got out of Jesus Montero, who isn’t even in their organization anymore. I feel bad for Pineda because it is not as if he doesn’t try or doesn’t care. However, for the good of him and the Yankees, perhaps it is best served to continue his career somewhere else.
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