Friday, May 26, 2017

I want you to close your eyes and ponder the unponderable: Michael Pineda, Yankee legend

As the Yankiverse waits for Masahiro Tanaka's pregnancy test results tonight - will he deliver? what will it be? - let's ponder two golden keys to the '17 Yankee-Arab Spring: Luis Severino and Michael Pineda. Without them, we're in fourth, chasing the Tampons.

They lead the team in innings pitched - (Severino with 55, Pineda with 53) - and ERAs - (Severino 3.11), Pineda 3.35.) Nobody else comes close. (Montgomery has thrown 46 innings at 4.30; CC is at 50 and 4.62.) Out of respect for the good people of Japan, I will not print Tanaka's current numbers. Let's just say the Trump administration would not allow him to emigrate.

But I'm here to discuss Pineda, who - fun fact: he's as big as Aaron Judge - but whom we all know cannot be trusted. Some fans hate the way he wears his cap, sideways like a rapper. Some fans hate the way he collapses with two outs. We all hate the way he looks so dominant one day, then gets crushed. In his Yankee career, the only constant about Pineda has been his inconsistency.  

This, it's a poorly kept secret that many Yankee fans - myself included - have openly hoped that Pineda pitches just well enough for Cash & Carry Cashman to dump him at the July 31 trade deadline for a package of Glybers and Clints. After all, he'll be a free agent this winter, and seriously now, do any of us expect him to stay? If Pineda keeps pitching well, he'll demand a four or five-year deal at Aroldis Chapman money - and Food Stamps Hal won't pay it. The question is whether Yankee fans will care. After years of watching Pineda kick us in the nuts, would we demand the Yankees make a long term investment? That would be like - gasp - keeping Ivan Nova. And nobody wanted that.

Wait a minute. Did I say "Ivan Nova?" Altogether now: "LALALALALALA, WE CAN'T HEAR YOU. LALALALALA... GO AWAY!"

Today, Nova is the fifth best starter in the National League, behind some coochie-coos named Kershaw, Grienke, Leake and Lynn. His ERA is 2.83, and he has thrown 70 - yes, seventy! - innings. He was, of course, last year's Pineda - a Yankee project around so long that nobody sought to keep him. We dealt him for some bath salts to Pittsburgh, where he has thrived. Once upon a time, players came like Pedro Ramos, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, et al, came to NYC to explode and win rings. Now, guys who can't wait to leave. Will Pineda be the next?

Well, I'm here to speak blaspheme. Michael Pineda is pitching his way into a long-term career role with the New York Yankees. He is 28. He has endured peaks and valleys during his time in a place where - as the song goes - if I can make it there, I can sure as hell make it in Pittsburgh. It's time to start thinking of Pineda as a keeper, as somebody worth waiting on. We have some of the best young position players in the game. But we will only be as good as our rotation. Hell, if he pitches well, Pineda can wear his cap upside down. His best years could be ahead of him. If he were doing this for another team, wouldn't Cashman bundle a shitload of prospects for him? 

Close your eyes and imagine... it's 2033, and the Yankees are retiring old number 35. A John Sterling immortal cyborg just unveiled a vat of pine tar, and everybody is laughing at the joke. The center field plaque shows Pineda - beard and all - with his cap on sideways, the way we have come to love. Yes, it's time to think the unthinkable: Michael Pineda, Yankee legend?


John M said...


Local Bargain Jerk said...

What John M said.

Anonymous said...


Leinstery said...

"Michael Pineda is pitching his way into a long-term career role with the New York Yankees"

I actually gasped when I read that.

joe de pastry said...

Inevitably, one of two things will happen:
1. Pinata will start stinking again.
2. Pineda will continue pitching well for a while, then get hurt and miss the rest of the season.

8 square selection games to prove I'm not a robot is ridiculous.