Michael Pineda will be an interesting piece when trade talks heat up around the league during the middle of the summer.
He’s had trouble being consistent and has dealt with injuries [missed all of 2012 and 2013]. The combination of those two have sort of re-built his ceiling from a possible first or second starter into a high-end third.
The Yankees probably thought they would get more out of Pineda when they got him for then-heralded catching prospect Jesus Montero. However, when you consider that Montero ended up being a bust and what the Yanks have gotten out of Pineda, they actually made out pretty well on the deal.
While Pineda has been inconsistent, the one thing he has done consistently is strike guys out. Last year he ended with 207 strikeouts, good for sixth in the American League. This could be very attractive to a team that needs pitching help by the time July rolls around.
A team like the Pirates, for example, who have a knack for taking in guys that have shown flashes of dominance and turning them into consistent rotation contributors, might be interested in a guy like Pineda, who will be a free agent after this season.
Big Mike is on a relatively team-friendly deal, making $7.4 million this season, plus, a team trading for him mid-season would only have to pay a fraction of that. Even a team like the Cubs, who still have plenty of quality prospects to give in return, would benefit from the services of Pineda at the back-end of their rotation.
The only reason that might keep the Yankees from trading Michael Pineda would be if they are contending around the All-Star break, which is possible. However, even if they are, it would be silly to hang onto him.
It’s likely the Yanks let him walk in free agency next winter anyway, and even if they have a shot at a Wild Card spot, it would be smarter of them to make this move for their future rather than playing to win in 2017.
They’re not a team built to last with the top dogs in the league right now. It makes more sense to bolster their farm system with a Michael Pineda trade than to reach the playoffs only to get bounced in the Wild Card game or the ALDS.
Depending on how his first half goes, they could get a nice return on the big right-hander, which would make their already strong farm system even better.