When the news came down on Wednesday that Michael Pineda was hurt and going to miss all of the 2012 season, I felt bad. Michael Pineda was incredibly enjoyable in his lone season in Seattle and from everything I’ve heard from co-workers and other caveats of the media, he was a great kid. You never wish for injuries to players… because if you do, you’re just a little inhumane.
Pineda historically had arm problems while he ascended through the Mariners farm system. If my math and memory serves correct, Pineda was “shut down” three different times at the end of a season. One can say “yay” or “nay” this created a blueprint for what was to come.
Pitchers and their arm injuries can happen to the healthiest of ballplayer at any moment in time, so I cannot fully co-sign to the idea that this injury was projected or predictable. However, I wonder if the tear in Pineda’s shoulder might have been avoidable if he chose to speak up about initial soreness during Spring Training. Pitching hurt can lead to very very bad things; career-ending surgeries.
Every young ballplayer that crosses the white line is a competitor. Whether the player is competing for a 25-man roster spot or is attempting to make a splash in front of the organization’s bigwigs, they’re competing. Despite his amazing rookie season and accolades, Pineda was indeed competing for a spot in the Yankees 5-man rotation. When you add in the level of pressure placed upon him from being involved in a “blockbuster trade” of this magnitude, can anybody truly fault him for not disclosing some soreness from the get-go? I certainly cannot. He’s going to do whatever he has to do to earn and keep his spot in any rotation.
Lots of fingers of blame can be pointed in this situation but I honestly don’t feel many are truly warranted. Yankees GM Brian Cashman is, and will likely continue to be, the fall guy for this injury. All of this despite his initial quotes urging that Pineda was examined by multiple doctors and was not “damaged goods” when the Mariners sent him east. Yankee fans will always need somebody to blame and if it’s not Cashman… it will probably be Jack Zduriencik, as if he was some riverboat gambler that swindled the rich.
As far as 2012 is concerned, this trade naturally sways in favor of Seattle. And really, when you look at 2012 alone, the Mariners may have “won the race” even if Pineda was healthy this entire year. The Mariners currently have their cleanup hitter and #4 starter from this trade while the Yanks would have had their #3 starter(?).
The Yankees gave the Mariners whatever impact Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi could have been to them this season (Tangibles: Montero probably would have more HR playing at Yankee Stadium and Noesi would have given up more bombs there. Safeco Field hurts Montero’s bat a little, but helps Noesi stay in the yard.)
Pineda wasn’t the lone acquisition by New York in the deal, they also acquired Jose Campos. Campos is a pitcher I saw with my own eyes last summer in Everett, and he is now rapidly moving up prospect charts for the Yankees. However, he is currently in Low-A ball this season. How many seasons til he gets a chance at MLB, three or four?
Injuries in baseball can absolutely crush a trade. Erik Bedard is a Mariners fan proof to that very statement. Had Bedard stayed healthy all those seasons he was in Seattle, I truly feel he would have rocked our socks.
Would he have pushed the M’s over the top? No, but he would have salvaged a few more wins for the club… you gotta believe that. When healthy, Bedard was pretty dang good. People lose sight of that because Adam Jones and George Sherrill immediately did well in Baltimore. Did the Orioles win the trade? Yes, I guess they did, but upper management took a gamble on a pitcher and injuries derailed him. It happens.
I wish Michael Pineda well. The Yankees are the one team I will always root against but I will never root for their players to get hurt. I know all about pain and surgeries and there is not one ounce of my moral fiber that will ever get on this “haha Yankees, take that suckas!” train.
Maybe the Mariners got “lucky” but I will leave it at this: it’s baseball. The predictable can quickly become the unpredictable.