One year, four months, and five days ago, the Yankees traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. It was an unusually exciting trade, in that we hadn’t heard much about it before it went down, and it involved two of baseball’s most promising young players. As the internet scrambled to write up responses, a consensus emerged: both teams had done well to address an area of need. The Mariners, who hadn’t hit much since Edgar Martinez retired, had more trouble attracting hitters than pitchers to their big ballpark, and had just batted Miguel Olivo cleanup 43 times, and thus needed someone who wouldn’t look out of place in the middle of a major league lineup. The Yankees, who had a surplus of 1B/DH types signed to long-term contracts, needed a young starter to slot into their rotation behind CC Sabathia. If either team was believed to have “won” the trade, it may have been the Mariners, who wound up with the position player, generally the less risky part of any pitcher-for-position-player swap. But neither team was widely believed to have lost.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Stephen Strasburg faced the Pirates for the first time since his major-league debut, and he reeled off a similar line.
The Thursday Takeaway
Merry Strasmas, Nationals fans. With the team coming off a disappointing three-game skid, Stephen Strasburg took the mound against the Pirates and played stopper with results strikingly similar to his major-league debut.
Back on June 8, 2010, Strasburg surpassed even the loftiest of expectations by striking out 14 batters without issuing a walk over seven innings in his first career start. Strasburg’s victims that night were the Pirates, who managed only two runs on four hits, one of which was a Delwyn Young homer.
Michael Pineda's labrum tear doesn't bode well for his future, but it's not the death sentence it used to be.
On Wednesday, the Yankees revealed that Michael Pineda had suffered a torn labrum, a devastating turn of events both for the 23-year-old righty and for the team that acquired him from the Mariners for top prospect Jesus Montero back in January. Pineda will miss the entire season and part of 2013, thinning the Yankees' surplus of starting pitching—and underscoring the fact that you can never have too much—while raising the question of whether they will ever get much value out of him.
Soreness and tendinitis plague several ballplayers just before the regular season begins.
Michael Pineda, New York Yankees (Right Shoulder Tendinitis)
Pineda complained about shoulder soreness only a few days ago, and a subsequent MRI revealed right shoulder tendinitis. Pineda’s has thrown with slightly less velocity this spring, but he did not complain of any soreness until after his start last Friday. He averaged roughly 94 mph last year and sat consistently in the low 90s this spring, but had been playing it off as nothing. The good news is that there is no major structural damage, so Pineda should be able to resume throwing in about two weeks.
Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (Left Groin Tightness)
Hamilton’s latest injury is tightness in his left groin. He underwent sports hernia surgery in November on his left side, so any soreness or tightness this far away from the surgical date is expected, but it’s also a little concerning. It’s common to have soreness when returning to full activities following surgery, and normal soreness keeps players out for a few days. Right now, this is a day-to-day issue.
How do the junior circuit's rotations shake out when offseason additions are tallied?
Two years ago, the Rangers made a bold gambit that helped end nearly a decade of rotation-driven futility, shifting reliever C.J. Wilson to the starting five and bringing former supplemental first-round draft pick Colby Lewis back from Japan. Both pitchers did what Ranger hurlers of recent vintage had not: miss bats. In 2010, the two pitchers combined for 366 K's in 405 innings, helping the Rangers jump from 12th in the league in strikeouts to fourth. Helped by other upgrades—shortstop Elvis Andrus keyed a defensive turnaround—they won the AL pennant, and last year they repeated the feat.
Though Seattle is riddled with major glitches, it addressed a "blue screen of doom" type of malfunction by acquiring a bat this offseason.
Despite research and development's best efforts, the 2011 Seattle Mariners shipped with several bugs that prevented them from performing as desired by those who built the product and those who paid to watch it. In preparing the 2012 release, the team's engineers set about fixing some of those bugs—most notably the complete absence of offense—in the hope of improving the product's effectiveness, increasing its sales, and keeping customers happy enough to buy future versions.