Monday, April 23, 2012

On Michael Pineda, A.J. Burnett, Pedro Feliciano, and the media's double standard

I just want to, for once, admit that Squawker Jon was totally right on something. Specifically, he called the Michael Pineda injury issue correctly three weeks ago, comparing it to Phil Hughes' tendinitis, and mocking Joe Girardi for calling the diagnosis at the time "great news:"
When reporters noted that Hughes was also diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis last year, and he missed three months and finished the season with a 5.79 ERA, here was Girardi's response:

"They both got tendinitis, but I wouldn't necessarily say they're similar [injuries]," Girardi said. "There's a lot of parts to that shoulder."
Girardi's rationalizing about Pineda's injury reminds me of how some people said that Johan Santana would make it back faster than Chien-Ming Wang and others who had the same injury because all injuries are different.
Jon also noted in that column about how the Mets and Yanks get treated differently in the media when it comes to such injuries. He also has been saying to me in person that Andy Pettitte would be pitching before Pineda would.

Anyhow, now Pineda has had a setback that looks to be pretty bad -- he isn't expected back for what could be months. You know, just the way that Hughes shoulder tendinitis kept him out until after the All-Star Break.

Marc Carig wrote something rather shocking for the Star-Ledger about Pineda, talking about why the Yanks are so upset on the recent news on the pitcher (emphasis added):
When the Yankees placed Michael Pineda on the 15-day DL, they did so for two reasons.
They wanted to rest his right shoulder, which the Yankees believed to be afflicted by minor tendinitis. And they hoped to give him a chance to mentally regroup after a difficult first spring training with the Yankees. Conveniently, the minor injury afforded the Yankees the benefit of time, which they hoped Pineda would use to catch up on the conditioning he did not do in the winter.
Which is why, privately, the Yankees were stunned Saturday when the 23-year-old Pineda reported lingering pain in the back of his right shoulder.
I was against the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda trade from Day One, and nothing has changed my mind. And to hear that he was put on the DL in part because of his conditioning is appalling. Didn't the Yankees have enough pitchers -- Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, to name two -- who have shown up to spring training overweight and out of shape? They had to trade Montero to get another one? Good grief.

Obviously, I knew Pineda showed up fat to spring training, but to hear that he was put on the DL for said lack of conditioning is outrageous. Let me get this straight -- Pineda is in only his second season, and he is already acting like an entitled veteran? Who did the due dilgence on his personality? Yet again, Cashman shows a breathtaking lack of judgment, something he never gets called on by his buddies in the press.

Granted, Montero hasn't exactly set the world on fire as a Mariner just yet, but at least he is in shape and playing, two things Pineda is not. And I have to wonder if, yet again, Cashman got taken to the cleaners by another GM.

Also, when Cashman is not outwitted by other GMs in the game, he does dumb signings, like signing Everyday Pedro Feliciano for two years and $8 million after the Mets completely overworked him. And guess what? Chances are that Feliciano, who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, will never pitch for the Yankees, something completely unshocking to every Met fan out there.

In other news, A.J. Burnett, the pitcher we Yankee fans are paying over $20 million for to *not* pitch for the Yankees in the next two seasons, pitched seven shutout innings Saturday for the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up only three hits and striking out seven. And yes, he came back from an orbital bone fracture quicker than Pineda will return!

The trade of Burnett to the Pirates really did not get enough media scrutiny. As maddening as Burnett was as a Yankee, it makes no sense to me to pay him $20+ million of the $33 million owed to him to pitch somewhere else. Some Yankee fans acted like Cash was some magician for getting rid of him. Gimme a break. The Yanks would have been better off keeping him and sticking him in the bullpen than paying him so much money to pitch elsewhere, simply to keep their options open.

Anyhow, the Yanks are stuck with Pineda being injured -- he's going for a dye-contrast MRI this week -- and with Brian Cashman, the most overrated GM in all of baseball. Oh, joy.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Rob Abruzzese said...

There was a story about 2 weeks back - it said that Pineda had planned on beginning his offseason workouts in mid-January, but he was traded right around that time and it took almost 2 weeks to finalize the deal. That set his workout plan back and was part of the reason he showed up out of shape. Pineda already admitted that missing that was a big deal and that there was no way he wouldn't be doing that next year.

So I wouldn't say he's acting entitled. It was just unfortunate timing.

Rob from BBD

Tanned Tom said...

Wow, so much wrong in this article. First getting rid of Burnett was ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. His ERA was over 5.00 in both of the last 2 years. He was one of the 2 or 3 worst starter in baseball. Next, Montero did not have a future with the club. They need to keep the DH spot open for Rodriguez and Jeter (to rest them and get some value out of A-Fraud over the next 6 years), it already has a 1B, and Montero is NOT a major leaguer catcher. NOT. Trading a player for whom there is no role for a young pitcher with real potential is a good deal. Also getting a very high ceiling propect in Campos? Well, that's what a steal looks like.
As for Cashman getting taken in trades, to get talent you have to give up talent. At least he makes moves. I'm no real fan of his, but there are plenty of GMs who are much worse. Brian Sabean, anybody? Swisher was gotten for Wilson Betemit for heaven's sake. I would have liked the Granderson trade much better if we gave up Hughes and not Kennedy, but there you have it.

Lisa Swan said...

Rob, thanks for your note, but he was a good 20 pounds overweight going into spring training. That's not something that was going to be taken care of in two weeks.

Lisa Swan said...

Unknown,do you still think "Well, that's what a steal looks like" when it comes to the Pineda-Montero trade? It's a steal, alright. For the Mariners!

BTW, according to Brian Cashman, A.J. Burnett was really good last year, and we needed to just smoke the objectivity pipe to see it. Reemember that?

And Montero has already qualified for fantasy baseball as a catcher -- he just played his fifth start in the role. So maybe the idea that "Montero is NOT a major leaguer catcher" is a little overblown. And Campos is 19 and in Class A. I guess I missed when he won the Cy Young.

As for this: "As for Cashman getting taken in trades, to get talent you have to give up talent. At least he makes moves. I'm no real fan of his, but there are plenty of GMs who are much worse. Brian Sabean, anybody? Swisher was gotten for Wilson Betemit for heaven's sake. I would have liked the Granderson trade much better if we gave up Hughes and not Kennedy, but there you have it."

At least Cashman makes moves? Is that the defense? Yeah, he makes moves. Bad ones! And the Swisher deal was a salary dump and personality dump. Ozzie Guillen hated Swisher and wanted him off the team, and the Sox wanted not to pay the $20 million he was owed. That had nothing to do with Cashman's baseball savvy.

And finally, I must take issue with your point, "I'm no real fan of his, but there are plenty of GMs who are much worse." You know, given the money he makes, and the payroll he has to work with, I think he should be able to be the best GM in baseball. Not one of the worst, IMHO.

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