Yankees' Pineda will have Tommy John surgery and the timing is just awful for him

Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda will indeed have Tommy John surgery, the team announced Monday afternoon. Pineda was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament last week and surgery was recommended, though he decided to go for a second opinion, and everyone does in his situation.

The 28-year-old Pineda went 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA (104 ERA+) and 92 strikeouts in 96 1/3 innings this season before the injury. From 2015-16, his only two fully healthy seasons in New York, Pineda threw 336 1/3 innings with a 4.60 ERA (91 ERA+) and 363 strikeouts.

The timing of the injury is terrible for Pineda, who is due to become a free agent after the season. Even after several not great seasons with the Yankees, the general demand of starting pitching put him in line for a contract worth more than $10 million annually across three or four years.

Michael Pineda will have Tommy John surgery Tuesday. USATSI

Now, after Tommy John surgery, Pineda is likely looking at a short-term "prove yourself" contract. Former Yankees teammate Nathan Eovaldi blew out his elbow last August, right before free agency. Eovaldi had to settle for a one-year contract worth $2 million with a club option over the winter. He signed with the Rays, who will monitor his rehab before deciding whether to pick up the option.

The surgery is going to cost Pineda, who likely won't be fully ready to compete in big league games until 2019, tens of millions of dollars. Tommy John surgery these days comes with a 14-16 month rehab, not 12 months like back in the day. Pineda is going to have to wait a few more years before cashing in big, if ever.

As for the Yankees, the timing of the injury is bad in that it's never good to lose a starting pitcher, but is good in the sense that it happened before the trade deadline. They have some time to react and make a move before July 31. The Yankees were in the market for rotation help before Pineda's injury, and now they figure to pursue a starter even more aggressively.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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