For most of the off season the New York Yankees were relatively quiet. Not living up to their reputation of big spenders on high priced free-agents, the Yankees appeared serious when they said they’d like to get under the luxury tax threshold.
Then all of a sudden on January 13th the evil empire struck not once but twice when they made two transactions that vastly improved their starting rotation; or so everyone thought.
The additions of Michael Pineda from Seattle and free-agent Hiroki Kuroda were seen by many as taking the Yankees rotation from good to great. Some even had the Bombers starting five as one of the top in the majors.
Here we sit with the season not even a week old and there are questions starting to arise surrounding the Yankees and their pitching and not surprisingly it’s around the two newest acquisitions.
Now before anyone, especially the Yankee fans start to jump all over me, I will concede that it is early in the year, quite early. Too early to read anything into it? Maybe not that early.
First with Pineda. He came to camp grossly overweight, lost velocity on his fastball and he has yet to make a start yet for the Yanks. He’s only 23-years old and he’s been labelled as the next CC Sabathia for New York, but when results were expected immediately, this is not the kind of start the Yankees envisioned.
I mentioned Sabathia so I’ll discuss him next. Last season he put up typical CC numbers; 19 wins, an ERA of 3.00, a WHIP of 1.226 and a SO/9 ratio of 8.7. But it was his inability to beat the big clubs that plagued Sabathia last year. He was 1-4 against the Red Sox and did not resemble anything like the ace of the staff.
In his first start in 2012 he was shelled against the Tampa Bay Rays who were said to have a mediocre offense. Sabathia’s was the mediocre one in this contest after giving up 5 earned runs on 8 hits in 6 innings, while walking 3 and fanning 7 en route to taking the loss. Not exactly comforting for a Yankees fan to see the big man struggle in his first outing.
Finally, Hiroki Kuroda failed to live up to the hype that he brought from his time as a Dodger. In the second game of the season Kuroda gave up 4 earned runs on 8 hits in 5.2 innings, while walking 4 and striking out only 2 batters. Like Sabathia, Kuroda was saddled with the loss.
So here we sit in early April and it took the young Ivan Nova to get the Yankees their first win against the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Too early to write off Sabathia, Kuroda or Pineda, but if their struggles continue suddenly the Red Sox won’t be the only ones who have pitching concerns.
I wonder if Roy Oswalt would play in New York if they threw a pile of money at him?