I don’t want to be that obnoxious person that’s all, “I told you so.”
But I really did tell you so.
I really don’t want to be that fan who feels overly-bitter towards a player so soon, but I really can’t help it. It’s not like I wanted this to happen – I just had a feeling that it would. Am I glad I’m right? Am I right, or am I jumping the gun here? I’m not glad, because I want what is best for my team. And I hope I’m just overreacting.
It’s all just so confusing.
Okay, I admit it: I never really fully accepted the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda trade (what a surprise!). I still think my tears and fears were justifiable. Surely, I understand that you have to give if you want to get in trades. But from the beginning, I felt this trade wasn’t equal. Jesus Montero – in very limited Big League action – went above and beyond my expectations. It’s not so much that he hit .328 with 4 HR in 18 games with my Yanks last year. It was the way he hit: raw power to all fields. The ball just jumped off his bat in a way I’ve never seen from any other 21 year old rookies. I can’t get his opposite field line drive home run out of my head. And obviously, being the most highly-touted prospect in New York meant that the pressure was on. But that wasn’t any kind of excuse for him. Montero still performed. It would have been a lot of fun to see him grow as a ballplayer on the Yankees.
Michael Pineda’s stats from 2011 appear to have been impressive: a 3.74 ERA, a 9-10 record on a stinky team, and a guy in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. Looks pretty good. But after digging deeper into the stats and discovering that his ERA post-All Star break was an A.J. Burnett-reminiscent 5.12, and his ERA away from the pitcher-Heaven SAFECO Field was a mediocre-at-best 4.40, his “good” doesn’t look as “pretty.” What annoyed me about this trade wasn’t that the Yankees traded away Jesus Montero – it’s that they traded away Jesus Montero for a guy who was good for about half a season in SAFECO Field. Obviously, Pineda has great potential. But so does Montero. For the Yankees, I believe Montero had higher potential than Pineda does, simply because he fit the Stadium so well. And power to all fields that he possesses is something beneficial no matter what ballpark you play in. Again, I realize that both players are young and need time to develop, but if they are willing to wait for Pineda to develop, I don’t see why the Yanks weren’t willing to watch Montero grow. They needed pitching (which it’s hard to have enough of), but they do appear to have an abundance of starters as it is right now. And they have the luxury of being able to sign guys via free agency, like they did with Hiroki Kuroda, who are proven pitchers. This trade bothered me because I didn’t think the Yankees got the talent back for Jesus Montero. Pineda too has a lot of potential, but I think that for the Yankees, he won’t be as beneficial as Montero would have been.
But here’s what scares me: now, I don’t think Michael Pineda appears anywhere near as good as Jesus Montero. I thought this trade wasn’t equally balanced before. Now I’m really worried, and I know it is early, but this definitely looks like a problem.
Last night was actually the first time I was able to see Michael Pineda pitch from the beginning of a game (pitiful, I know, but I’ve been so busy between work and school that I’ve barely had time to do anything fun). I haven’t really been following Spring Training too closely, and that really bothers me because I love Spring Training (rookies galore!). I’ve only been able to get the gist of it, and all I knew about Pineda was that he wasn’t doing well. I saw it last night, and it wasn’t pretty.
My brother had told me that Michael Pineda came into camp in not-too-great shape. He was a little fat, and supposedly, Pineda has the potential to get big like CC if he doesn’t control himself. I’m sorry, but there is no excuse for coming into camp out of shape. You’re on the New York Yankees for goodness sake. Show a little respect, or some work ethic. How a young man whose job it is to play baseball can let himself go like that is something I don’t understand. I was so annoyed at Phil Hughes for being a fatty last season, but apparently he learned his lesson. Look at Hughes now – he looks like a different pitcher, just as I was ready to write him off as lazy and stinky for good. I’m proud of him. But Pineda…really? Everyone’s eyes are on you, you’ve got a lot to prove here in New York, and you have the nerve to start out your Yankees career by not being anywhere near physically prepared to pitch? That alone makes me think he’s not Yankees material. First impressions mean a lot. That’s just unacceptable.
CC Sabathia is chubby, but he can still pitch. If Pineda happens to have a larger body type that doesn’t interfere with his performance, then that’s fine. But that’s the problem: he’s not pitching well. At all. Last night, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew Pineda was a guy who was struggling, but what I saw was a guy who could not locate (Martin’s target was never hit), who had no velocity (most fastballs between 88-91mph), and who had horrible body language on the mound. He allowed 6 runs in 2.2 innings, he threw 70-something pitches, and his ball to strike ratio was awful.
Oh, and now his shoulder hurts.
Really? REALLY? Try being physically ready to start playing baseball. What did you think was going to happen? And his attitude on the mound last night showed me that he’s not mentally ready for this either. Even David Cone made a note of that during the broadcast. Michael Pineda might not even make the starting rotation – that’s how bad he has been. Imagine that: the Yankees traded away their best prospect for a guy that might not even make the team. So much for wanting to win immediately, Yankees – like a Triple-A pitcher is really going to help you out. This is the New York Yankees. If you’re not going to perform, you’re not going to play – end of story. Nothing is guaranteed just because you’re supposed to be a good pitcher – you’ve got to show it. Sure, it’s a competitive, high-pressure atmosphere in Spring Training, especially because the Yankees have the pitching depth. But that is absolutely no excuse to suck. It’s competitive for all the guys who are trying to prove their worth, and some guys have stepped up. I mean what did you expect? You’re going to pitch for the Yankees; it’s not exactly an easy ride. If you can’t handle Spring Training, how do you expect to handle Yankees/Red Sox games, or postseason games where everything is amplified and means so much more?
I can’t believe this. I didn’t think he would be this bad. I finally was able to see Pineda pitch last night, and I thought I would see a little something to get me excited, to get him on my good side. Nope. The complete opposite happened.
Am I being too harsh? Perhaps. It is only March, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not….only March and already having physical, performance, and maturity issues with this kid who was supposed to be so great. My brother jokingly said that the Yankees should try and swap Pineda now while he still has some value. I wonder how long that will be a joke for. I just knew this was going to happen. I really didn’t want it to. I want to win this year. But I didn’t think this move was right, and so far, it’s showing.
Michael Pineda, I know it’s early, but it’s wearing thin already. You’ve got a lot of work to do. I don’t want to hate you, but if you’re going to make me hate you, then I have no choice but to hate you. I know you didn’t mean for this to happen, but it’s up to you to fix it.
Show me you can do it.
*Update: MRI showed that Pineda has shoulder tendinitis. He’ll begin the year on the DL. WOW. 😦
Yanks Win Series, All-Around Fun Afternoon
Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium is one of the days I mark on my little Yankees schedule. I just love seeing all the “old” guys come out, I love commenting on how high they wear their pants, and I love how the exciting atmosphere at the Stadium is transferred through the TV into my own home. I love Old Timers’ Day every year, but this year, it was even better than usual.
Old Timers’ Day is always fun for Yankees fans of all ages, but I think this time it was especially exciting for those of my generation: those who grew up during the dynasty of the late 90s. The return of Joe Torre, Lou Piniella (who I loved to watch as a manager when he has his…”episodes”) Bernie Williams, and Tino’s home run brought back many fond memories for me. Tino Martinez was my first ever favorite. He was the first player I remember seeing, and for that reason, he became my “favorite.” I remember crying when he went to the Cardinals, then my Dad bought me a Cardinals cap, which I would wear all the time along with my Tino Yankees tee. I remember being him for Halloween when I was in 2nd grade, I remember going to Tino Martinez Bobblehead day on my birthday in 2001 – I could go on and on. Seeing Tino play with Bernie, smile with Posada, and hit that homer…that alone made my day.
What made the day even more special was the ceremony honoring Gene Monahan. 49 years with this great organization…that is insane. And he has done a fantastic job throughout his time. He seems like a really sweet man, and I hope the Yankees can win it for him this year. Oh, and he was nervous about throwing out the ceremonial first pitch? Pshh…He threw a perfect strike! Maybe he can teach Barack Obama how to throw like a man…
Another thing about that first pitch: I liked how Jorge Posada had the honor of catching it. He looked so at home and at ease in his catcher’s gear, and throughout the entire day, he had a genuine ear-to-ear smile on his face. It was the happiest I saw Jorge all year, and that too reminded me of the past.
The Old Timers’ GAME is always fun. In the top of the first, Oscar Gamble led off with a single off Ron Guidry, followed by a LONG single by Jesse Barfield. Goose Gossage relieved Guidry, and got Lee Mazzilli to fly out to Bernie Williams (which set off the crowd). In the bottom of the first, David Wells served up a double to Bernie, and was then relieved by David Cone, whom Tino hit the 2-run bomb off. Tino would have loved hitting at this new ballpark. In the top of the 2nd, Doc Gooden and Jeff Nelson retired the side. Nelson then remained in the game, and pitched for the other team in the next half inning. I love how no rules are applied whatsoever to these games. They played another half inning, but there was no need to complete that inning because the BOMBERS were ahead of the CLIPPERS (lol). The Bombers beat the Clippers 2-0 on the strength of my Tino’s HR, while David Cone received the loss.
It was all fun and games during that game, but it would have been even more fun and games if Derek Jeter was there. I feel incredibly bad that he missed the day. And on his BIRTHDAY too…aww, Jeet. That calf better be healing up. Happy Belated Birthday, Derek! 37 years young.
As for the ACTUAL game that was played, it was intense. The Yankees didn’t get a man on base until the 5th inning, and by then they were down 3-0 and making me nervous that they wouldn’t win on a day that they really needed to. After Robbie Cano got the team’s first hit out of the way, Nick Swisher got them into the run column with his MONSTER 2-run homer. Then, my happy Jorge went deep back-to-back with Swish, tying up the game at 3.
Nova battled yesterday. After the Yankees worked so hard to tie up the game, he allowed a homer to Ty Wigginton (again) which gave the Rockies a 4-3 lead. But he stopped it there.
In the bottom of the 6th, Brett Gardner led off with a bunt single…perfect execution. He’s been playing like the player I always thought he was recently, and he’s finally starting to make me look good, instead of looking like I’m his little fangirl who thinks he can do no wrong. After that bunt, Gardner stole 2nd, which really set me off…I always thought speed was sexier than home runs (sorry Swish and Posada!). After a Granderson walk, A-Rod drove in the tying run with an RBI single.
In the 7th, Boone Logan actually did his job and retired the heavy hitting lefty, Carlos Gonzalez. In the bottom half of the inning, Eduardo Nunez drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single. The Yankees FINALLY had a lead, and it was padded by Mark Teixeira’s homer in the 8th. Robertson and Mo finished up the remainder of the game. The Yankees won it 6-4, and with that win, won the series.
Currently, my Yanks are a half a game ahead of Baahston in the standings. With hitters like Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada, and Brett Gardner heating up as the weather does, and with Jeter and Colon soon to be activated, I’d say my boys are in good shape.
Tommy is my little brother. He’s a good kid. Tomorrow is Tommy’s birthday. He is going to be 15…not so little anymore.
Tommy’s favorite Yankee team was that magical team of 1998. All of his favorite players are no longer playing. Here are my little brother’s favorite Yankee players from his favorite Yankee team:
Tommy’s 5th Favorite – Ricky Ledee
Remember Ricky Ledee? The adorable little rookie sensataion? I liked him a lot, too. I remember when he got traded. He cried. And he kept his uniform with him. #17. Ledee was cute. I wonder what happened to him. He disappeared after 2007.
Tommy’s 4th Favorite – David Cone
David Cone…who doesn’t love this guy? He was such a crafty pitcher. And who is going to forget about that little perfecto he threw in 1999? Tommy and I were a little too young to really remember that game, but we’ve seen the Yankees Classics of it dozens of times. History like that never gets old. David Cone was one of our favorite commentators on the YES Network. Every time he was on, he was hilarious. He was always joking with Michael Kay, and somehow they always talked about how Cone has a wild night life. I don’t know what was more fun: watching him pitch or listening to him broadcast.
Tommy’s 3rd Favorite – Scott Brosius
Aw, Scottie. He was such a nice man. And he was so smooth at 3rd base. He was known for that barehanded grab on ground balls. I think his retirement stunned everyone. He retired after the 2001 season, when everyone was focusing on O’Neill’s retirement. Brosius was only 34 when he called it quits. Tommy was in shock when he heard Brosius wouldn’t be back. One thing me and Tommy have in common is that we get very attached to players very quickly.
Tommy’s 2nd Favorite – Paul O’Neill
Aah, the Warrior. Paul was always a pleasure to watch. Whether he was crushing the ball, or crushing the water cooler, O’Neill always made us smile. His retirement was a hard one to deal with. #21 hasn’t been worn since – well, aside from the 1 day LaTroy Hawkins wore it before getting booed out of it. The Yankees really should retire this number already. I thought they would do it at the opening of the new Yankee Stadium, but they didn’t. We’re waiting….
Tommy’s #1 Favorite Player….EVER – Bernie Williams
Bernie…oh, Bernie. He was the epitome of the Yankees. Bernie Williams was absolutely perfect. He was the nicest, most gentle soul and was a fantastic player. Bernie is a soft-spoken, peaceful kind of guy. He was so graceful on the field. His swing was so easy, and he ran like a gazelle. #51 will most definitely be retired, since Bernie has his name on the tops of almost every Yankee record list. Tommy and I, and probably every other Yankee fan, wish that Bernie was still playing. We’re sure he can still do it 🙂
Well, those are Tommy’s favorites from his favorite Yankee team. You might be wondering…who is his favorite Yankee of today? I’ll give you a hint: he’s crazy, just like my brother. Still don’t know?
I hope Tommy has a nice birthday tomorrow. I know he will. Me and my older brother got him a present that he’s been wanting for awhile. And no, it is not Yankee related. It’s a movie that he and I just get a kick out of:
BEST MOVIE EVER!!!
Also, tomorrow is the day that PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT FOR THE YANKEES!!! OMG! Baseball is inching closer….