Blog Entry

Savvy Yankees hit home run with Pineda, Kuroda

Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:40 pm
Their winter hibernation just ended. And just like that, the New York Yankees made themselves into AL East favorites.

Adding Michael Pineda from Seattle has all the earmarks of acquiring a young CC Sabathia or, ahem, Felix Hernandez -- the ace the Mariners wouldn't trade.

Adding Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year, $10 million deal adds the kind of rotation depth they could only dream of last summer -- and, presumably, a right-hander with more staying power than Bartolo Colon had.

"Wow," one scout said Friday night. "They've been laying in the weeds. They hadn't done anything."

Yes. Hadn't.

Though the Yankees gave up a consensus future star in young slugger-to-be Jesus Montero, exactly the kind of young bat the Mariners need and a great move for them, Pineda and Kuroda join CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and maybe even Freddy Garcia in giving the Yankees the talent, depth and clout their rotation needs to take them deep into October.

Just a few days after meeting with the representatives for free agent Edwin Jackson, the Yankees became the talk of the industry on what had been a slow Friday night with their stealth move for Pineda, who, at 22, already is within sight of becoming an ace.

"He's got that kind of stuff," a scout who spent part of last summer focusing on AL West clubs said Friday night. "If you wanted to be conservative, he's a No. 2. He's got velocity, he came up with a slider that got better and better last year and he throws strikes. When he gives up a home run or a hard-hit ball, it does not chase him out of the strike zone.

"He's got that rare combination of stuff and control. He's young, he's not afraid, he's big, he's still growing and he's got makeup. He's a prize.

"And the Yankees will have, what, five years of control over him? He's the kind of guy you build around. Holy cow."

The Mariners were worried about rushing him too quickly last summer when they installed him into their rotation coming out of spring training. He pretty much immediately showed them, no sweat.

By season's end, over 28 starts, he struck out 173 hitters while walking just 55 over 171 innings. His average fastball was clocked at 94.7 m.p.h., according to FanGraphs.

What's notable about that? The fastballs of only three other AL starters checked in higher: Texas' Alexi Ogando, Detroit's Justin Verlander and Tampa Bay's David Price.

Kuroda? He turns 37 next month. But he gave the Dodgers 202 innings in 2011, going 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA. He's a competitor with fierce pride.

"Solid No. 3," the scout said. "He throws strikes, he's got good stuff, a crisp fastball that's deceptive and he throws harder than people think. He's at 90 to 94 with sink down in the zone, a crisp breaking ball and a good split.

"He's got out pitches. I'd love to have Kuroda."

Now the Yankees do. And Pineda. And Sabathia and Nova and Hughes and Burnett. ...

And as they search for a hitter, for now, they've still got 6-8 right-hander Dellin Betances and lefty Manny Banuelos, who opened many eyes last spring.

"Hanging onto Betances and Banuelos [and with Pineda on board], they've got three young-gun studs who should pitch for them for a long time," the scout said. "And Nova's not that old and Hughes isn't that old.

"They've got the makings of a young, under-control staff."

Yeah, sure, why not? On a night on which the Yankees proved they're not sleeping through the winter, why not add to their opponents' misery just a little bit more?

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:43 pm

Savvy Yankees hit home run with Pineda, Kuroda

Kuroda and all of a sudden the Yankees have arguably the best pitching staff in all of baseball
 Halliday, Lee and Hamels trumps what they have. It's not even close. I'd take the Angels staff anyday over their's as well. Weaver-Haren-Wilson is a terrific top 3. Ervin Santana as a #4? That's downright scary.

Pineda faded badly in the 2nd half after a blistering start. He's got talent, but has only won 9 MLB games and need to prove he can pitch an entire season before anyone should be annointing him as an ace. They also gave up a stud catcher. Now-a-days that is a very rare commodity. The trade isn't a steal, it's actually a fair deal which benefits both teams.

Kuroda is a nice move. That pushes Hughes to the 5 spot and probably means Burnett will get traded for anything they can get. The Yankees rotation is deep, but not without question marks. They certainly have the depth to be successful in a long season, but can they win a short series?

Odds are the Yankees make the post-season. That's when their rotation will truly show what it is. Last year, they were overrated and pedestrian. This year they certainly have more talent and depth.

Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:38 pm

Savvy Yankees hit home run with Pineda, Kuroda

I would've thought the M's could get more for Pineda. I just don't think they got enough back.

Since: Aug 26, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:35 pm

Savvy Yankees hit home run with Pineda, Kuroda

just when it looked like the angels (pujols, wilson) and the rangers (yu) were going in for the kill in the american league, the mariners and a's proceed to get taken to the cleaners by the bankees (pineda) and red sux (bailey)

Since: May 7, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:32 pm

Savvy Yankees hit home run with Pineda, Kuroda

Sweet. This could mean the end of watching AJ Burnett and Philip Hughes get smacked around game after game. Can't wait for the 2012 Season. It's always a long winter without baseball.

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:26 pm

Savvy Yankees hit home run with Pineda, Kuroda

Great trade for the Yankees.  Add in the signing of Kuroda and all of a sudden the Yankees have arguably the best pitching staff in all of baseball.  While getting into the playoffs isn't a guarantee for anyone, the Yankees are certainly built to make another run.  This rotation should give them a much better chance to get past Texas (or anyone else) and win #28.  Afterall, 2009 is a long long time ago in Steinbrenner years.

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