New York Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda has struggled mightily all season and so has the organization in deciding his immediate future.
Following one of New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda’s many 2016 catastrophes, a dreadful loss to the Diamondbacks back on May 17th, pitching coach Larry Rothschild said to George A. King III of the NY Post that “It’s easy to say it will turn, but it’s been too long”.
One can just imagine what Rothschild, the rest of the coaching staff, and management are thinking after his latest migraine-inducing performance.
The phrase that Pineda has hidden talent is purely overused at this point. Yes, there have been flashes of brilliance, but Pineda does not have a broad enough track record to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Absolutely nothing changed in his latest thriller in which the same two-out hits, two-strike hits, and damage in general has hindered the big right-hander. It was your normal 3 2/3 inning, six-run doozy. The same mannerisms on the mound continued and the same output persisted.
What should the New York Yankees do?
He was supposed to be a front-line starter; a potential ace. In other words, one of those irremovable objects in a questioned starting staff.
What the Yankees are currently looking at is a 27-year-old with less big league experience than everyone thinks having not pitched consistently well in close to a calendar year.
Two words: demote him.
Pineda has minor league options and the club can ill-afford to be hurt by his body of work any further. He truly needs to take a step back.
He was thrust onto the scene, looking electric in his rookie year. The Yankees acquired him only to find a messed up right shoulder that cost him two years. As soon as he made a complete comeback, the pine tar messed completely with his 2014 season. His 2015 season, as eluded to numerous times, was a see-saw battle.
Never has Pineda found an identity, which has cost him in the bigs. Going to Scranton may hurt his confidence, but it cannot hurt his performance any further.
Pineda currently ranks last in all of baseball in ERA (6.92) among qualified starters. With that being said, how can it get any worse? If anything, he can work out mechanical issues and continue to get the ball every five days while facing inferior opponents.
The Yankees essentially face three options if they are going to keep him in the organization while displacing him from his current role: demoting him, moving him to the ‘pen, and skipping foreseeable starts.
While he is a power arm, placing him in the bullpen would be counterproductive to his development into an ultimately better-starting pitcher. In the case of skipping his starts, that may throw him off even more. Whether he is productive or not, the Yankees need to keep Pineda loose and, more importantly, healthy.
The only option that seems feasible would be having him pitch at a lower level, being the minors in this case.
The club has been all about chances for starting pitchers. They rode Luis Severino, and he was much more expendable until he got hurt. They stuck with CC Sabathia through a tough time in his personal life until he got his cards in order. They have continued to hop on the Pineda bandwagon ever since he struck out 16 Orioles on Mother’s Day of 2015, although the realistic expectation has been implosion time in and time out.
The Scranton Shuttle may have a visitor that no one in their right minds would have expected at season’s start. The New York Yankees do not have the luxury of dropping games that they should not drop.
If they opt to demote Pineda, it could very well end up being a win-win. They can gain victories in the interim while getting him right for the stretch run. At the very least, the move can give them a basis for what is in store.
What would YOU do if you were in Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman’s shoes. Demote him? Skip Him? Put him in the bullpen? Get your voice heard by voting in the twitter poll below.
— Emmanuel Berbari (@e_berbari22) May 29, 2016