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Great Expectations: Healthy Michael Pineda Could Pay Big Dividends for the New York Yankees in 2014

February 9th, 2014 at 11:00 PM
By Mike Warsaw

Jesus Montero was named the New York Yankees top prospect by Baseball America for three years running from 2009- 2011. The future Yankee star was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2012 for Rookie All Star pitcher, Michael Pineda.

'Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Michael Pineda (36)' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

At first glance, it looked as though the Mariners had swindled the Yanks. Montero batted an impressive .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBI, in his first season in Seattle. Pineda in his first season, showed up out of shape, developed arm problems and eventually needed shoulder surgery. Pineda has never pitched a game for the Yankees. Montero, began his sophomore season with great potential, but was sent down to Triple- A by mid-season. He then finished the year being suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for purchasing performance enhancing drugs in the Bio-Genesis case. 

So who swindled who? Pineda who has been rehabbing since the trade, has been deemed healthy by Yankee GM, Brian Cashman. The 6'7" Dominican went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA and 173 K in his lone Major League season. The door has now been swung back open and the slate has been wiped clean. Montero is now rumored to be a prime trade candidate and may have stamped his ticket out of Seattle. So now Pineda could be the last man standing, with everything to prove.  

So why did Seattle give up on him? Seattle has been a team with very little power since the likes of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Jay Buhner. So they jumped on the chance to get a young power hitter with the potential of Montero. Also, they had good organizational pitching depth, including Tijuan Walker, who was impressive in Seattle as a rookie last season.

Of course there are no guarantees for Pineda. He faces plenty of competition this spring for the Yanks fifth rotation spot. His main competition is David Phelps. The former Notre Dame standout has compiled a 10-9 record with a .411 ERA and 175 K in two seasons with the big club. Also the Yanks have a long list of potential hurlers who may get a look this spring, including,  Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno, Manny Banuelos, Jose Ramirez and David Huff. And there is always the possibility the Yanks make a late free agent move, with Ervin Santana, Johan Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez still on the market. 

If the stars align correctly, 2014 could be the season that Michael Pineda pays off for the Yankees.

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Tags: Baseball, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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