Saunders: Why Trading Michael Pineda Makes Sense

On January 23, 2012, the Yankees  traded Jesús Montero and Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. While Noesi and Campos were also part of that trade, they’re not the ones I want to focus on. Interestingly enough, 2016 was the fifth season since the memorable deal.

Michael Pineda has disappointed Yankee fans again in 2016. Inconsistencies and an inability to pitch with two outs have been his downfall.

In 2012 his season was cut short by a tear in his shoulder during spring training and missed the entire year.

2013 he started season he was on the disabled list, still recovering from his shoulder injury, and once he recovered the Yankees chose to keep him in the minor leagues. In 10 minor league games that season (including his rehab), Pineda pitched to 3.32 ERA in 40.2 IP.

In spring training of 2014, Pineda competed for and won the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He then again strained a muscle near his rotator cuff while pitching simulated game (suspension for foreign substance on his neck) which was supposed to side line him for only 3-4 weeks, but ended up keeping him out of action until August.

Prior to the suspension, Pineda had a 1.83 ERA in 19.2 IP (4 GS), and looked exactly like the stud the Yankees traded for a few years prior. After returning to the team in August, Pineda finished the season with a 5-5 record and a 1.89 ERA in 13 GS.

The 2015 season was supposed to be the year Pineda finally put it together for the Yankees and pitched a full season. There were talks before the season of him being a dark horse Cy Young candidate, some even saying he could emerge as the best pitcher in New York.

Pineda early in the season showed so much potential, and pitched like the ace of the Yankees’ staff. However, as the season went on, Pineda struggled to find consistency, and for every start where he looked like a Cy Young, the next four would be sup-par if not below average. What makes matters worse is that 2016 wasn’t any different.

Pineda is a complete enigma as he has displayed dominance on the mound yet he owns a 4.89 ERA. This is an enigma the Yankees have been trying to solve over the last two years.

He had posted phenomenal strikeout numbers with 202 strikeouts in 171.1 innings.

This is what will cause interest from other teams. There will be a numbers of teams willing to take a chance on Pineda, and at this point, it seems the only hope for Pineda is a change of scenery.

Brian Cashman and the Yankees are well aware of this. The return wouldn’t be great but the purpose of trading him is not to get an exciting player. The purpose of trading him is to get rid of him and open a rotation spot for a more deserving starting pitcher whom is younger or can be more consistent.

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