Last Friday, the New York Yankees awoke from their slumber during this offseason and had a MONSTER day. Not only did the Yankees sign Hiroki Kuroda, one of the most coveted free agent pitchers this year, they completed a huge trade by dealing their top prospect Jesus Montero for pitching phenom Michael Pineda. The Yankees completely turned around the horrible situation they had in their starting rotation with these two moves.
The Kuroda signing is big for a couple of reasons. Kuroda was heavily pursued by the Sox and he would have solidified their rotation, but the Yankees were able to complete a deal with him first. Also, Kuroda was as consistent as you could get as a starting pitcher in the last few years. Although his record didn’t reflect his good pitching due to shit run support, he had 3.45 ERA the past four years, including a career best 3.07 ERA last year.
The big move was for Pineda. Pineda is one of the best young pitchers in the MLB. He is a 22 year old, 6′ 7″ giant who just throws straight fire. He had the fourth highest average MPH on his fastball in the entire league AT AGE 22. His fastball combinded with his filthy slider led to a 9.1 K/9.
As for the Red Sox, they are at it again. They fired me up even more than Aaron Cook, by signing perhaps the ugliest pitcher in the MLB. Although they signed another crap pitcher, in Vincente Padilla, he could very well end up as another innings eater either out of the pen or occasionally in the rotation. My problem with Padilla is that the guy is known to be a virus in all clubhouses and no teammates ever end up liking him. The last thing that the fragile Red Sox clubhouse needs is another guy with shit attitude.
It’s not exactly time for the Sox to give up on the season though, as Kuroda and Pineda haven’t proved anything in Yankee Stadium yet. Kuroda is 36 years old and has pitched on crappy teams, so his ERA could potentially balloon when the pressures on in New York. Although Pineda has displayed brilliance, there are questions to his consistency (he was 8-6 with 3.03 ERA in 1st half of 2011, 1-4 with 5.12 ERA in 2nd half). Also, he has an “inverted W” pitching style, (similar style to Adam Wainwright, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Stephen Strasburg, Joba the Hut), which puts an unhealthy amount of stress on your elbow. Basically, what that means is that he’s eventually going to need Tommy John Surgery. Also, it helps that they had to give up their top prospect catcher Jesus Montero (compared to Miguel Cabrera and Manny Ramirez offensively, but unproven defensively).