The New York Yankees struggled with their pitching last season, but they’ve gotten a whole of a lot better over the weekend. First they traded Jesus Montero to Seattle for 23 year old Michael Pindea who had a very impressive rookie season in 2011 and then signed free agent veteran Hiroki Kuroda on a one year deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Behind CC Sabathia the Yankees desperately needed some help. A.J Burnett and Freddy Garcia looked like no.4 or 5 type starters last year while Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes are both only 25. Nova doesn’t look like ace material to me, and Hughes has his ups and downs.
Jesus Montero was the most talked about prospect in New York for quite sometime, being a power hitting catcher. Without Jorge Posada, Montero immediately became the catcher of the future for the Yankees. At least if the Yankees trusted his position skills. His hitting? Fantastic. In 18 games he hit .328 with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs. His heigh and his weight were too much of a concern apparently.
The prognosis right now is that Montero can be one hell of a DH, but won’t make it as a catcher. The Yankees still have enough of big hitting, and decided to send Montero to Seattle for Pineda.
Pineda struck out 173 hitters last season, only the second right handed pitcher to strike out that many hitters at the age of 22. Pined’as strikeout per inning might be impressive, but the second half of his season, with only one win in 10 starts and a 5.12 ERA kind of put a hamper on his rookie campaign, but the Yankees believe they have their future ace in Pineda. He finished the season with a 9-10 record and a 3.74 ERA, pitching behind King Felix in the rotation.
The Mariners, loaded with starters and pitching prospects needed some hitting bad. Their offense hit .233 and scored 556 runs, the lowest in Baseball, with only 109 Home Runs.
Kuroda? Another good move, despite his age, 36. Kuroda had a good season for the Dodgers, finishing with a 13-16 but a very good 3.07 ERA, meaning that his losses were more due to that awful run support he got from the hitters.
Suddenly, the Yankees are loaded, maybe too much, with starters. Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Hughes, Burnett, Garcia and Kuroda. The talk is Phil Hughes might be the #5 pitcher, but there’s also talk of him moving back to the bullpen or even getting traded. He can glance West at Ian Kennedy who also couldn’t find his place in New York, since then becoming the number one pitcher for the Diamondbacks.