Mancuso: Pineda Injury and Cashman Decisions

If this was another year when the New York Yankees were in a rebuilding mode than the season ending injury to righthander Michael Pineda would be considered as another loss. But the Yankees are not rebuilding in this season of the unexpected and going for it with 76-games remaining that begin tonight up in Boston.

And with a starting rotation that has seen Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia on the DL at different times, the Yankees have managed to hang tough with the Red Sox for the division lead and are part of a tight wild card race in the American League.

Yes, Pineda and his 8-4 record with a 4.39 ERA has been in a struggle. The diagnosed torn ligament of the right elbow will lead to Tommy John Surgery, pending on a second opinion that will lead to that course of action and all probability that means Pineda is not available next season.

Probably and more likely that Pineda has thrown his last pitch as a New York Yankee being that this is his year of free agency. Pineda, 28, will have the tough rehab and chances of a comeback, which have been proved, will be successful.

Though in this season of the unexpected in the Bronx, there was that cause for concern when it came to Pineda. The 6.14 ERA, 2-2 record and throwing the home run ball  in his last six starts opened questions of mechanics or something wrong with the pitching arm.

With a team going for it there was every reason to be more concerned.

So the pitching days at Yankee Stadium for Michael Pineda appear to be over. Because the Yankees are younger, and have the ability to replace him in the rotation with any number of options, and because GM Brian Cashman knows how to wheel and deal in the next few weeks expect that move to be made for a front line starter before theJuly 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

And we all know that Cashman can pull off a trade or two. The Yankees got younger and more athletic at the deadline last year, and the braintrust saw what was coming  as seen on the field in this unexpected year of 2017. The Yankees are in that group of having a top three minor league system and pitching is in that group.

One baseball insider said, when asked about the impact of losing Michael Pineda, “The Yankees are going for it and “Cash” has been on the phones for the past month and when does he not make a move before the deadline?”

Cashman said Friday, about a possible trade and the loss of Pineda, “I’ve been trying to add, not subtract.” That information as bad as it was did not turn turn us into anything other than ‘how do we plug the hole for Michael?”

Plugging that hole could come from rookie Chance Adams, which would be that internal move and that continued cause for the Yankees to stay young and athletic. That also means, not spending long term via free agency in the offseason as the Yankees have made it known that lucrative and four or five year deals for starting pitching are a part of their past.

The Pineda injury, as with so many is further cause to stay away from free agency and the longterm contract on the pitching market. However, if the internal move is not an option, then borrowing of an arm and taking it from there is always an option.

With Jose Quintana off the board, swapped to the other side of Chicago to the Cubs, and once on the Yankees radar, that leaves Cashman with another alternative. For the past few months the Yankees have had their advanced team of scouts evaluating and updating the pitch counts, innings and delivery of Gerrit Cole.

The Pittsburgh Pirates righthander has been on the Yankees radar and in his walk off year and at 27-years of age can fill that void in the Yankees rotation. Because Cashman knows this has become a season of going for it, Cole with a 7-7 record and 4.43 ERA, would give the Yankees innings and that veteran leadership on the mound.

They can go with another youngster, and possibly Adams, the 2015 fifth round pick and righthander pitching for Double-A Trenton. But these are the Yankees and when they are in it, well they always go for it. The question is, at what price and don ‘t expect Cole or another veteran coming to the Bronx at the expense of giving away those youngsters that will propel the Yankees to contention for many years. 

The Pirates are also in that rebuilding mode and within 7.0 games of first in the NL Central, obvious time to make up ground in the second half, so parting with Cole would come as a cost to the Yankees.

But, this Yankees team is in it to win this year. Cashman has done the unexpected in the past and the next few weeks will be interesting to see if Gerrit Cole is wearing Yankees pinstripes.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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